The Night Caller


‘And you are listening to the Halloween edition of late show with Neil on BBC Radio Cumbria. And that was The Police with “So Lonely”, or, as I used to sing it, “Sue Lawley.” If you have just joined us for the witching hour, we are talking spooky stories. Have you any supernatural experiences to chill our blood with? Call in with your stories.’ The presenter looked at his monitor to read the latest message from his producer, Janet. ‘And we have someone on the line called Lisa who, apparently, is desperate to talk to me. Hello Lisa.’

‘Please, help me. I’ve been taken. I’m trapped!’

‘Sorry?’ Neil replied, taken rather aback. ‘I’m trapped. Don’t know where,’ the woman continued. ‘Was on my way home in Barrow. Someone hit me on the back of the head. Never saw them. Just woke up here. Its so dark. I can’t see. But still got my mobile, thank God.’ Neil was not sure what to make of the call or what to do, but instinct told him to continue. ‘What’s your full name?’

‘Lisa Goodchild.’

‘Why don’t you phone the police.’

‘Tried to dial 999 but it is so dark. Hit a key and it dialled you. I used to ring your station a lot, your number’s in my address book.’ Neil was becoming suspicious that this was a sick Halloween joke and signalled his producer on the other side of the studio window to cut the call. But Janet shook her head and indicated to go into a record. ‘Okay, Lisa. Stay calm. We are going to put you on hold a second.’ As the opening bars sounded, Janet almost burst into the studio. ‘Lisa in Barrow!’ She announced. ‘When I used to do the breakfast show, she was a regular caller. I recognised the voice!’ Neil got straight back on the line. ’Lisa, have you any clue were you might be.’

‘I don’t know. It’s so dark in here. Cold brick walls. I…’ She then gasped. ‘There’s someone in here. Oh, God! There’s someone in here with me. He’s coming closer. Oh, God, please help!’ And with that, the line went dead. Neil looked at his producer, ashen faced and uttering ‘I really hope that was a hoax.’

The police were at the studio within the early hours of morning. Two officers listened in to the recording of Lisa’s words and checked the mobile number it came from on the call record. They then sat Neil down to inform him of what they knew. ‘Lisa Goodchild was taken while on her way home from work. Her body was found some hours later, dumped. A mobile phone was found on her and the number matches the one your call came from.’

‘Well, of course.’ Said Neil. The constable continued ’You don’t understand, sir. The phone company were informed to put a permanent block on that number so no one can access it. Nor can it ever be re assigned to another user.’

‘Well, that makes sense.’ Neil confirmed. The officer continued ‘But there is one thing that doesn’t make sense. The kidnap and murder of Lisa Goodchild took place two years ago.’ Neil froze as he added ‘On Halloween night, in fact.’

(Originally written & broadcast on BBC Radio Cumbria, Kevin Fernihough show, 31 October 2011)