“Hi you’ve reached Chantrelle Casey. I am loving life and can’t take your call. Just text me and I’ll text you later. Bye.“
“Shanti please pick up. I have texted, called and nobody has heard from you. I am seriously worried about you. Call me. ASAP. I mean it”
“I don’t understand that girl. She is spoiled and you have to work so hard.”
“Mom, Shanti is good people. So what if her folks are loaded. She is basically alone and doesn’t have anyone. Her parents are never home and when they are, it is always a fight. She doesn’t have a wonderful loving mom like I do and that is priceless. Pretty sure she would rather be in our family than hers.”
Her mother snorted, “If you say so. Besides who names their child after a mushroom?”
“It was a phase her dad went through. He wanted to grow truffles and stuff. So he named her and her mom was ok with it being french sounding. I don’t know. They both were probably drunk or high.”
The voicemail message finished playing. “Who is that? She sounds so concerned for you. A spoiled little rich girl shouldn’t have friends that really care. They should be fake, only concerned with what you can give them. Isn’t that right my dear?”
Shanti froze against the gag. She flinched when he came towards her. Eyes closed she couldn’t bear seeing his face. The mask was grotesque, at least she thought it was a mask. The pressure against her mouth dropped as he pulled the gag out. Her mouth was so dry, if only she could ask for some water. Her voice croaked and came out whisper soft.
“She’s a nobody. Some chick that went to the same school as me. I used her to do my homework and stuff.” She tried to keep the tremble out of her voice.
“Maybe I should go meet this nobody that is so concerned.” The mask distorted his voice. He watched her.
“Can I go home? Will you trade me for her?” Hope glimmered in her eyes. “I know where she lives. Her mom lives there too. Please let me go.”
He cinched the gag tight. She whimpered. “I have enjoyed our time together. I will have to think about it.”