from "Todd"

I could hear him breathing softly through the heavy, black receiver.

'Not again!' I thought, angrily. Would he speak this time?

Sometimes he did, in a soft, gentle voice. Other times he just breathed, and called several times in a night, as if he might eventually work up the courage to say the one thing he never failed to say when he did speak.

His breathing altered slightly, and he murmured again the snippet of poetry I had come to hate: “'O, what a tangled web we weave…'”

Once again, I wondered what the hell he was talking about, who he might be, and why on earth he was tormenting me with this hackneyed old poem. It sounded like something my mother would have quoted at me, prefaced with a smirk: another trite little platitude to add to her catalogue of annoying expressions.

As the months went by and the calls kept coming, it never occurred to me that they might have something to do with Todd...