Saturday, 10 August 2013
An incoherent phone call from a client wakes Yamamura from a troubled dream during a bad storm. He goes to the client's house where he finds the client dead. It looks like suicide but Yamamura deduces that it is disguised murder. Then it turns out that, at the time of the call, the client's phone was dead because of the storm...
So a dead man used a dead phone. Yamamura cannot remember what the caller said and now thinks that he dreamed the call which felt so real that he half woke and lifted the bedside phone to his ear.
The reader is in the privileged position of knowing exactly what the caller said. He asks Yamamura to come, says that it is very dark, that he had thought that afterward he would know everything or nothing but that instead he doesn't understand and is lonely. There is more, even eerier, that I will leave for others to remember, read or reread! No wonder Yamamura did not (want to?) remember.
He also completely forgets, and we might also unless we reread, what he felt while holding the receiver even before the caller spoke: whirl, seethe, click, "...a whistle that went on forever, and he had a moment to think that the noise was not like any in this world, it was as if he had a fever or as if nothing was at the other end of the line except the huntsman wind." (p. 93)
- so it is clear enough that the line was dead and that the call was not from this world. The story fits in a collection with the fantasy title, The Unicorn Trade.