Way, way back in the 1980’s, when all phone lines were ‘landlines’, answering machines were rare, and caller ID was not available, I was in Grade 11, home alone, and at the mercy of a persistent prank caller.

My parents had left early in the morning for a trip to see some relatives; they told me that they would spend the night away and return the next day.

About an hour after they left, the phone rang. I answered; nobody was there, just a faint sound like the wind blowing. I hung up. The phone rang again twenty minutes later - same thing- the faint sound of blowing wind.

I should point out that we lived in a subdivision; our lot was large and our driveway was long, but we had neighbours all around. Our area, and our house, were usually reassuringly mundane. Except for that one day, when I was alone, and the phone kept ringing with nothing but the wind on the other end of the line.

The last call was about twenty minutes to midnight. I was very jumpy by that point, so when I heard a car come up our long driveway and pull into the carport, I grabbed a butcher knife and hid at the top of the stairs, trembling.

I had locked all the doors, but I heard a side door open. I heard keys jingling, and voices coming closer, footsteps coming up the stairs - it was my parents, who had decided to come home that night after all. I managed to put the butcher knife away before they got to the top of the stairs, and asked them, with feigned unconcern, if they had been phoning the house at all that day. (Why didn’t I tell them about the terrifying wind-calls? Because teenagers are weird, is why) They hadn’t made any calls to the house that day.

And so I went to bed. My bedroom was at the front of the house, my parents’ bedroom at the back. So it was I alone that heard, a half-hour after my parents’ return, another car roll the full length of our long driveway with its headlights off, the long moment of its motor running while it paused in front of our carport and my parents’ car inside it, and the double-peep of a car horn tapped lightly as it turned to drive back down our long driveway and into the dark.