The phone rings, the shrillness making me jump, though I have been waiting for the sound for an eternity. I mustn’t answer too quickly. He’ll be expecting that. My mouth is dry. I count, heart thudding like a death knock against my ribs. One. Thud. Two. Thud. Wait. Wait. I lift the receiver, hand shaking, breathe out slowly, faking calm. “Hello?” Nothing. Then, at the end of the line, I hear the low, mocking laughter.