Jillian's phonecall

The fridge opened to reveal fully-stocked shelves.  There were cartons of milk and orange-juice, a plate of cooked sausages covered in cling-film, a foil-covered cooked turkey, several soft cheeses, some butter and cream and more besides.  Linus pulled out the sausages and the turkey and laid them on the counter, ignoring the bits of smashed telephone.  He was joined by the others, Jillian last of all, and soon the cupboards were being opened to find glasses and plates, Travis and Mel had gone into the pantry looking for bread, and Jake was pulling crisp lettuce and firm tomatoes from the vegetable drawer in the fridge.

When they'd finished eating, and were surveying the debris of the meal, Travis scratched his head.

"That's odd," he said.  "All this food -- it can't have been here very long.  The vegetables were still fresh, and the bread wasn't stale.  Someone must be keeping this place stocked up."

"How are they bringing it here though?" said Jillian.  "We didn't see any roads."

"Same way as they're getting here themselves, I guess," said Jake.  "But it's good for us if they're here regularly, we'll be rescued then."

The two smashed telephones darted back into Jillian's thoughts, and a feeling of dread began to creep over her.  She shivered, feeling cold.

"I'm not sure they'll be pleased to see us," she said slowly.  Travis looked at her, startled.

"We'll pay for the food," he said.  "Just as soon as we get back to civilisation.  Hell, I'll pay for all the food here for everyone.  It's cool."

"No," said Jillian, her voice even quieter.  She didn't like everyone looking at her like this, but she'd said too much to stop now.  "Both the phones we've seen here have been smashed.  Something's not right."

"Could be an accident," said Linus.  "It's a kitchen, things get broken all the time in kitchens."

"And the phone in the hall was on the wall," said Mel, "I'm always falling onto things and breaking them, that's probably what happened."

There was a pause, an awkward silence while everyone wondered about what Jillian had just said.

"Let's find another phone," said Travis.  "In a mansion this size, there's bound to be another.  If that's broken too, then maybe we have a problem."

He stood up to lead the way, and behind his back Jake mimicked his last sentence: maybe we have a problem and poked his tongue out at Travis.  Mel giggled.

  The ground floor of the mansion was based on a square, with rooms coming off the main set of corridors, and a single spoke of a corridor on each side pointing outwards.  Some of the rooms appeared to be small meeting rooms furnished sparsely with office chairs and round tables, and there were a three bathrooms too, all fitted with toilets, bath and shower.  They'd travelled nearly half way round the mansion, going clockwise, when they found another phone.

This was sat on a sideboard in a dining room, wtih a long table flanked by twenty-two chairs on each side.  A single chair sat at the head of the table, and a serving trolley stood at the foot.  A row of windows along one side of the room looked out onto a courtyard that must be in the centre of the mansion's grounds.  The phone looked intact.

"See," said Jake.  "The other phones must have been broken by accident."

"We can call for help then," said Mel.

"That's true," said Jake.  "We don't have to wait for anyone to find us now, we can just call the coastguard and get us out of here."

"We don't know where we are though," said Travis.

"That doesn't matter," said Jake, waving a hand dismissively at him.  "They'll trace the phone call and find us that way."

He walked to the phone, and picked it up.  He put the receiver to his ear, and his finger hovered over the keypad, but he didn't press any buttons.  He stood there for a couple of moments, listening.  Then he turned round, and held the phone out to Jillian.

"It's for you," he said.

The End

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