It is nearly midnight but Katherine is still awake. She doubts that she will get to sleep before the date changes. It is New Year's Eve and all she can hear are the fireworks. Her house is silent because all her family has gone out to a party. Katherine was invited too but she didn't want to go.
A small beep alerts her that it is now the year '96. She really should turn off that hourly chime - it gets irritating after a while. But the clock is new; Katherine cannot remember how to operate it. Her phone vibrates and she grabs it blearily, expecting just another 'New Year' message from one of her friends. She is wrong.
Unhappy New Year, reads the text. Kat stares: what kind of a thing is that to say to someone? SHe looks again at the number. 07394712937. It is no one she knows.
Her bed speaks to her quietly. Normally this annoys her but today she is too distracted.
"Are you have trouble sleeping?" it says. Kat does not reply; she turns the voice off.
Time passes. The clock does not tick, because Katherine finds ticking irritating. After smashing her old one in frustration, she has bought a digital alarm clock from the pound store. At regular intervals her phone bleeps, and though she doesn't want to get up, Katherine is driven by morbid curiosity to read the messages.
Now it is gone two in the morning and still our friend Katherine has not falled under the spell of sleep. She gives up and looks at the texts she has recieved.
Unhappy New Year, reads the first. You are all dying, the second one informs her. Say goodbye to Miter, advises the third. Miter: the planet that has been her home for all of her twelve years. And the fourth, more disturbing than the others put together: Don't worry, you won't be here to see them buried. Who buried? Why won't she be here? The girl demands answers, but nobody hears her frustrated questions. Briefly she looks at her room. It is cluttered with books, magazines and clothes.
Katherine knows that she is not exactly ordinary (her hobbies include reading, writing and painting her bedroom walls in multicoloured stripes whenever she is bored), but she is just a schoolgirl. So why does it have to be her, Katherine Ainsbury, an ordinary schoolgirl, who is recieving these messages? Why can't it be one of the freaks? Why does it have to be anybody?
Whoever is sending them is quite obviously a freak. Perhaps they escaped from a mental home. And yet ... the tone is familiar. She cannot ignore the warnings, although it seems absurd.
Restlessly, she paces her room and wonders why her family are not home yet. The party was supposed to end at one, but it was only around the corner. It should have only taken five minutes to walk back, even if they were drunk. Why do they always do this? Her parents should know by know that Katherine does not being alone in the dark.
It is then that she realises they aren't going to return. They aren't going to come back. Something has happened. Could it be related to the texts? Could the psycho have killed her parents, strange though it might be? She opens her mouth to scream, half in horror and half in terror, and ...
... the phone rings.