A man named John was working as a 911 operator. It was only his third day on the job and he had only dealt with a few calls so far. That morning, he started to receive strange phone calls from an unknown number.
He picked up the phone and said, “911, what’s your emergency?”
At the other end of the line, all he could hear was the roar of a fire. This was followed by a man laughing like a maniac in the background. John hung up, dismissing it as just a stupid prank call.
Throughout the day, John received a few more calls like this. Each time, he could hear a crackling fire and a man laughing crazily. By the end of the day, it was really starting to bother him.
John left work and headed home. As he stopped at a traffic light, his vision began to blur and detected a faint smell of smoke. He broke out in a sweat and was feeling very hot. He exhaled loudly, mopped his brow and turned his focus back to the road.
Suddenly, John heard a ringing sound. He grabbed his phone and looked at the screen. It said the call was from an unknown number.
“Hello?” he said, nervously.
Again he heard the roar of a fire. This time, it was accompanied by psychotic screaming.
That night, John was awoken from his slumber by a tapping on his window. He got up, walked over and pulled back the curtains. There was a man standing outside, laughing to himself. He was holding a box of matches in his hand. As John watched, the man struck a match and lit it. John went to call the cops but when he came back, the man had disappeared.
John stayed up for the rest of the night. The eerie laughter echoed in his head. He was constantly looking out the window dreading what might happen next.
The next morning, John arrived at work in very bad shape. He was sweating profusely, his hands were trembling and his eyes were bloodshot. Sitting down at his desk, John waited for the phone to ring.
The phone rang. John stared at it. The Caller ID read “Unknown”. Tears were streaming down his face. He answered the phone and in a trembling voice said, “H-hello?”
The sound of the fire roared in his ear and the strange man’s laughter was almost deafening.
John dropped the phone and held his head in his hands. He was shaking violently and his face was ghostly pale. He slowly got up and asked his supervisor if he could leave work early.
“I’m not feeling well,” he said.
When John arrived home, he sat on the couch. His phone immediately began to ring. He picked it up, took out the battery and threw it in the rubbish.
That night, John woke up at midnght. He got up to get a glass of water. Walking into his kitchen, he heard a ringing sound. John saw a dull light coming from the trash can. He slowly approached it and picked up the phone.
The minute he answered it, he heard the hideous laughter. It sounded so close. John hung up and threw the phone back in the trash. The laughter continued. He searched frantically for the source of the sound, but he couldn’t find it.
Looking out the kitchen window, he saw the strange man standing there. His skin was dark grey and charred. His hair was singed. A malicious smile spread across his wrinkled lips as he lit the match and threw it at the house. Then he lit another and another.
John felt an intense heat building up in the kitchen. Smoke poured in through the cracks in the windows and door and started choking him as he fought to get out of the room. His skin was burning and John started screaming. The crazed laughter was driving him insane. He had to find a way to escape.
He tried to open the door, but it was jammed. He ran to another window. The man was still standing there. He had the same sickening smile. John looked at his phone. Ring. Ring. Ring.