Friday, February 14, 2020

HEADSET






HEADSET
By Randy Romero (Randy Benivegna)



I work for a security company whose name I won’t mention for the obvious legal reasons, and because it’s not relevant to my story. Part of my job is monitoring various alarm systems for trouble signals and notifying the police if we are unable to reach the customer in question. A few weeks into the job, I noticed that my headset would hiss in between calls. It was this low hum of static, almost like feedback from a microphone or something.

No big deal, right? My supervisor figured it was a faulty headset and he issued me another one. A few days later, the noise returned.

I decided to leave it be. The noise was intermittent and very low, not serious enough to cause a major disturbance. So one night my headset started hissing like a snake and I heard that crackle of static. I tried to tune it out and just kept working…until I heard the voice.

“Hello? Is anybody there?” It was the voice of a young woman, early to mid-twenties if I had to guess. She kept cutting in and out like there was a bad connection. I checked the caller ID screen. No incoming calls.

“Hello? Somebody help me. Help me please. I’m stuck. It’s so cold here. I can’t feel my fingers or toes. It’s cold all the time. I’m freezing and I’m scared. I just want to go home. But they won’t let me go. I’m so scared. Somebody, anybody, please help me. I’m all alone. And it’s so cold. So very cold.”

I was shivering myself at that point. The voice went away after a few seconds and my headset cleared up. I was so freaked out over it that I didn’t say a word to anyone at first. They would’ve thought I was crazy. But I eventually mentioned it to one of my co-workers who’d been there a few years.

He turned pale when I mentioned it and told him what the girl had said. “Young girl? Early to mid-twenties? Soft voice? Did she say her name was Tara?”

“She didn’t give a name.”

“Tara worked here when I first started. She used to sit at your desk. She got into a bad accident one night when it was snowing, slid off the road into a ditch. She was trapped in the wreckage for a couple of days until she froze to death. They didn’t find her until the snow melted.”
It’s so cold here.

I could feel the tiny hairs on the back of my neck standing up, and my arms were riddled with goosebumps. Tara never did “call” again. But anytime I heard that little hiss of static in my headset, I knew she was there, watching, listening. The room would grow cold and I could almost feel her presence, like somebody was standing over me, looking over my shoulder. My co-worker and I never spoke of it again and I never mentioned it to anyone else until this moment.

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