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Steady hissing sounds filled Michael's room, as the soft stream of white paint hit the plastic shell of his newly disassembled computer shell. Ignoring the hissing, one could also pick up the constant, seemingly never-ending, high pitch squealing of his monolithic and multiple heavy Sony monitors; all of these displayed nothing but static. Grey, fuzzy, pixelated static just fizzed in unison with the spray can he'd been working as though it were a wand.

Setting this down next to a Chinese to English dictionary nearby, he stood up and stepped back to admire the fruits of hours of tedious painting and strong chemical odor.

"Done," he thought triumphantly, grimacing to his now bright white case, "It's like I just took it outta the box."

Excitedly, Michael trudged to his phone on a desk a few steps away from his finished paint job; it was a beige, 80's looking office phone connected to a landline he'd forcefully wired through his room. He sat back on his chair and quickly dialed the number scrawled onto a picture of him and a slender looking, white haired, glassy eyed male with the latter having his arm around Michael as the two smiled warmly. "Ring me up whenever" he read aloud from the scrawling, examining the photo as the dial tone hummed.

Once.

Twice.

A third time.

A fourth time.

Four more times.

Then: "Hey, you've reached Lloyd Alredd, leave me a message after the beep."

Beep.

"Pick up the damn phone," Michael chuckled into the microphone "I finished the case, you oughta come check it out, mate." Slam. He trudged back and just as he sat down...

Bringggg!

"Huh?" He got up and slowly walked to the phone, checking the caller ID: "Lloyd A.". Smirking, he picked up the phone and immediately began bantering, "Well mate, decided to pick up after all I see?"

Silence on the other end. Dead air. Only faint telephone static shouted back quietly at Michael, mouth slack jawed and eyebrow raised. "Okay..? This isn't funny, dick" he chuckled, voice wavering, "Yancy tried this but you lot never learn that I don't scare ea--" he suddenly stopped, realising something; "Mrs. Alredd!? I'm so sorry, I'm one of Lloyd's friends! I don't believe we've met before...!"

Still nothing. But Michael slowly began to hear a faint sound. An on and off sound, constant yet ever so changing. In his nervous composure, he'd dumbly forgotten what the word was for this but he knew it was an obvious word. It as on the tip of his nose. He leaned closer onto the speaker, vainly trying to listen through clenched teeth while a bullet of sweat slid down his brow. Suddenly an ear-piercing scream screech pierced the silence as Michael lurched back and the phone dropped out of his hand.

"Motherfucker!" he hollered into the line, shouting every curse word in the book before realising the screaming ended and the line was nothing but static.

Just static, yet the faint noise continued.

Michael toyed with the idea of calling again before hearing his parents' car pull up to the driveway; a glance of the clock told him he was up over an hour after he promised he'd be asleep. "Oh balls," he muttered, shutting but merely his light off and hopped into bed.

He awoke to a piercing alarm telling him it was eleven in the morning, only punctuated by the sounds of the TV in the living room. Oozing out of bed, Michael slowly slid his door open and made his way slowly to the living room. The house was stirring with the noise of the fan and it would have been quieter were it not for the newscaster's yammering.

"A local has been found in his home, dead," Michael walked to the fridge and eyed himself in the mirror, messing with a piece of food in his braces before opening the door, "according to officials, his mother recounted finding her son's..." Michael tuned out the TV searching for a big, yellow carton of Sunny D.

"Dreadful news," Michael muttered as he stepped back to the stove, on it being a pan with fried bacon and next to that being a pair of toasted bread slices, "So damn early, too." He grabbed a carton of orange juice, a tray of bacon and buttered bread in one hand, plopped himself onto the couch, gazing dumbly at the broadcast, "Indeed, the maternal figure recounted what she saw that night."

It cut to a woman, drenched in tears and makeup, "he was such a good boy, wouldn't hurt a fly, a-and he... it was.. he.. Our phone...!" Something about the woman seemed off to Michael. Leaning forward, he grabbed the DVR remote and paused to gaze; her hair was silver, almost a beaming white and even despite her crying, her eyes seemed glassy and almost gleamed in the light of the sun.

All of a sudden, Michael heard soft footsteps; on the TV's reflection he saw a figure and behind him he heard one thing: a faint sound.

An on and off sound, constant yet ever so changing.

He remembered the word.

Breathing.

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