Full disclosure: there is no actual airplane collision anywhere in this story.
Paulette and Robin, after experiencing the fondling, caressing, and other ministrations of the unseen hands, left the house and went on with their day. Paulette, as usual, was left alone by the hands as she went about her business, but she couldn’t help wondering if the visitors were simply following without making themselves known, or had they stayed at the house? Also, did they take Robin up on her request to “borrow” them?
While Paulette was out, the telephone rang. The handset rose into the air, but only a dial tone could be heard, so the phone lowered itself back onto the base. Not quite a minute later, the phone rang again, lifting off the base on the first ring. No audible greeting was heard, prompting the person at the other end to venture a quizzical-sounding “Hello?”
“Hello,” a rather professional, secretarial-sounding voice answered in Paulette’s apartment. “You’ve reached –” (the voice was forced to pause for a moment to make sure to use the correct name) ” — Bryan’s line, but he’s not here right now. Would you like to leave a message?”
“Uh, yeah,” the voice at the other end said. “This is his friend Valerie. Uh, ‘scuse me for being nosy, but, uh, who are you?”
“I’m… a neighbor watching his place for him while he’s away,” the secretarial voice in Bryan and Paulette’s apartment said.
“Hmm, he usually just locks the place up tight and goes. Wonder why– oh never mind, I can ask him when he gets back. Uh, could you just leave him a message that Valerie called? He has my number.”
Across the room, a drawer slid open. A notebook and pen floated out; as the drawer closed, the pen wrote “Valerie called” on the first clean page in the notebook. “I’ll make sure he gets the message,” the voice said.
“OK, then, uh, thank you,” Valerie said. “Good-bye.”
“Good-bye,” the voice replied, as the phone was placed onto the receiver. The notebook page with the message tore itself from the notebook, floating over to the table just inside the front door as the notebook and pen floated back to the opened drawer they had come from.
Seconds later the phone rang yet again. This time, there was no voice at the other end, nor one in Bryan and Paulette’s home, but there was some kind of communication going on between the answerer and who- or whatever was at the other end of the phone. After a few moments the phone placed itself back on its base. A broom began to sweep the kitchen floor, with a dustpan following close behind. Meanwhile, in Paulette’s bedroom, the hamper swung open and clothes began floating out onto the floor. When the hamper was empty, the pile divided itself into piles based on what could be washed together. The largest pile crammed itself into the black duffel bag that had been emptied earlier, as the other piles were put into smaller plastic bags to be tended to later.
By the time Paulette arrived back home, she had figured that the visitors had indeed stayed behind. No evidence of them anywhere as she invisibly ran her errands. When she arrived home, though, the door unlocked and swung open as she approached. She turned quickly to see if anyone saw the door opening by itself, and saw no neighbors in evidence. Breathing a sigh of relief, she entered. As the door closed behind her, the cordless telephone handset floated over to her.
“What’s this for?” she asked aloud, not really expecting an answer or getting one. But when she put the phone to her ear, it was ringing at the other end. As she asked herself why they were making phone calls for her, Vik’s voice answered at the other end.
“Hi, Paulette,” Havik’a said. “I’m glad you called –”
“I didn’t call,” Paulette countered. “I walked in and the phone floated over to me.”
“Oh. I left a message for you to call when you got home. I guess they took it into their own, uh, hands. Anyway, I’m in Subreality right now, and there’s something going on here right now that I think you need to see.”
“Really?” Paulette said. “Is something wrong?” Right away she suspected that something had happened to Bryan.
“Uh, it’s kind of hard to say. What’s wrong and what’s right kind of depends on where you are around here when you say it.”
“Ooooo-kay,” was Paulette’s answer. She had visited Subreality twice, but really hadn’t done more than scratch the surface of what it was really about, so she couldn’t make heads or tails of what Vik had just told her. “Not sure I know what that means, but I’ll be right there.”
“OK, see you soon,” Vik replied, just before Paulette hung up.
In her haste to leave the apartment, she never noticed the sheet of notebook paper on an otherwise clean tabletop.