630-296-7536 (Boothworld Industries)

Christopher Bloodworth Stories with Teeth

630-296-7536 – (Boothworld Industries)

Christopher Bloodworth

I’m sure that all of you are used to the cry for help type stories by now. Help me, help me, blah-blah-blah. I won’t bore you with another. Even if I wanted your help, you couldn’t give it to me, because your help is useless.

Why?

Because you’re not a member.

I just wish that I wasn’t either.

It all started innocently enough. With a phone call.

I’d been up for a few hours, unpacking and cleaning, waiting for the plumber to call. I just moved into a cabin and the contractors fucked everything up. Because of that, I now have the wonderful task of making calls to competent people that can fix what the original contractors did wrong.

The phone rang at 12:06.

Not bad, I thought. Usually plumbers don’t bother to call or show up until 5.

When I picked up the phone I didn’t even get a chance to say hello before a woman on the line told me to “Please hold for the next available operator.”

I hopped up and sat on the cabinet in the kitchen. It was one of the few places in the cabin not occupied with boxes. Elevator music leaked into my ear. I’d started to drowse off when the music stopped and a piano chord that sounded like it was three notes that didn’t quite go together played through the receiver twice.

A voice came on the line.

“Welcome to Boothworld Industries. My name is Samantha and I will be your operator today. Name?”

I didn’t know what to say so I told the operator my name.

“Sir, we know who you are. I’m your operator. Please give me a name to access.”

“I don’t understand,” I said.

“It can be anyone, sir. We just need a name.”

“Uh, okay,” I said. I made up a name. “Harold Withers.”

“Sir, as your operator, I must point out that fictitious names, or the names of people that you don’t know, cannot be used.”

“Used for what?” I asked. How had she known that I’d made up that name? The whole thing felt like it was some sort of prank, but hardly anyone knew my new phone number.

“Remodeling.”

“Remodeling? Is this the plumber?” I asked.

“Welcome to Boothworld Industries. My name is Samantha and I will be your operator today. Name?”

I took that as a yes and gave them the name of an old ex-girlfriend. “Jessica Goodwin.”

I could hear the clicking of a keyboard on the other end of the phone. It sounded like the woman was pounding the thing with her fists. After a few moments of this, she returned.

“Jessica Goodwin,” she said. “Remodeling is scheduled for August 21, 2015. Would you like to reschedule?”

I was silent on my side of the phone. I couldn’t believe this. Someone had to be playing a prank on me.

“Who is this? Is this you, Jessica? Are you playing a prank on me?” I asked.

The woman didn’t respond for a long time. I thought that whoever was on the other end of the phone was holding in a laugh.

“Hello?” I asked.

“Yes or no, Sir?” The woman asked back.

“Yes?” I said, not understanding what the woman was asking.

“I have a Tuesday appointment available. Will that work?”

At this point I thought I was going insane and that it actually was the plumbing company.

“What about today?” I asked. “Do you have anything available for today?”

“Normally we can’t arrange for a reschedule on such short notice, but today we had a cancellation. How does three o’clock work for you?”

“Three o’clock is fine,” I said.

“Three o’clock it is then. Would you like a courtesy call?”

“Sure.”

“Wonderful. We at Boothworld Industries say thanks and welcome to the club. You have a marvelous day.”

That strange chord played twice again and the line went dead. I rolled my eyes and went back to unpacking.

My phone rang at three o’clock on the dot that afternoon.

“Hello?” I said.

“Sir. This is Samantha with Boothworld Industries again. Your courtesy call begins now.”

“What do you-” I began to say, but was cut off by those diminished chords blaring into my ear, then I heard Jessica’s voice.

“Why are you doing this?” Jessica asked. I could hear the tears in her voice.

“Jessica?” I asked.

“Sir,” the operator said. “She cannot hear you. This is a courtesy call. The appointment has already concluded.”

“Please,” Jessica begged. “Please don’t do this. I’ll do anything you want. I’ll-”

Jessica’s voice choked off into a wheeze and all I could hear on the other end of the phone was the rustling of clothing and more wheezing. Eventually it stopped and someone picked up on the other end.

“The scheduled work has been completed,” a man’s voice said. “We at Boothworld Industries say thanks and welcome to the club. You have a marvelous day.”

“Sir?” The operator came back on the line. “Was that to your satisfaction?”

I sat there for a long time, cold sweat dripping down my ribcage. Jessica was my ex, because I walked in on her and my best friend fucking at a party in high school.

I smiled and whispered, “That was perfect.”

“Wonderful,” the operator said. “We at Boothworld Industries aim to serve. Would you like to make another appointment?”

As I stared at the water leaking from the door of the dishwasher, I smiled even bigger.

“Yes,” I said. “Yes I would.”

“Name?”

“Dan. I don’t have a last name. He’s a contractor.”

“Dan Arencibia. July 13, 2032. Would you like to reschedule?”

“Yes,” I said.

“How would Wednesday work for you?”

“Didn’t you say you had a Tuesday appointment available?” I asked.

“I did, but unfortunately that slot has been filled by another member. Would Wednesday work for you?”

“No,” I said. “I have a job interview that day. What about Thursday?”

“Unfortunately Thursday will not work. You are due for remodeling Wednesday night.”

“What?” I asked.

She repeated the exact same thing to me again.

“Can we reschedule my remodeling?” I asked.

“Of course we can, sir,” the woman said. It sounded like she was smiling on the other end of the phone. “There’s always a way.”

I waited for her to tell me how. She didn’t speak.

“HOW?” I asked.

“Boothworld Industries is always looking to add new members. We are, of course, a membership by invitation only club. Sadly, our membership numbers have fallen in recent years. Economic recessions. Wars. Politics. What we would like you to do, in order to avoid your own remodeling appointment, is help us add several new members.”

The light at the end of the tunnel, I thought.

“How many members do you need?” I asked.

“One thousand.”

I choked. “One thousand?”

“Yes, sir. Otherwise we’ll have to keep our scheduled appointment. We must inform you that the member that scheduled this appointment did request a courtesy call.”

Everything stopped at that point for me. All my life I’d just skated by, not doing anything, not making a difference.

My mouth actually dried up. I’d always thought that was just a thing people wrote in books to be dramatic.

It’s not.

“I’ll get you your one thousand members,” I whispered.

“We at Boothworld Industries say thanks and welcome to the club. You have a marvelous day.”

The connection ended.

I hung up the phone and stared at it for a long time. I’m scheduled for remodeling on Wednesday, and somewhere, someone will be getting a courtesy call to listen to my last few breaths if I don’t get one thousand members to join Boothworld Industries.

It’s funny. I’d always wanted to join an elite club. Skull and Bones. New World Order. I’m not sure how I got in, but now I’m a member. I’ve got until Wednesday to enjoy it.

Like I said at the beginning: even if I wanted your help, you couldn’t give it to me, because you’re not a member.

Membership is by invitation only.

I’m inviting you in.

You can help me.

Just call 630-296-7536.


Careful...

BOOTHWORLD INDUSTRIES INITIATION KIT

This is not a book. This is an interactive experience.

There are 10 horror short stories inside, sure, but that’s not the only thing lurking within these pages. Check out what this beta reader had to say:

“I thought I was buying a book of short stories. I didn’t realize that what I would read would have such depth of experience. Most of the stories were amazing, but I have to be honest. When dealing with anthologies that contain multiple authors, there are always a few clunkers and this book is no different. The puzzles, the death override (Do the confirmation. It’s pretty cool), the coupon (It works! And you get a surprise back too!) and the amount of thought put into this more than made up for any shortcomings one or two of the stories might have had. I feel as though the Bloodworth sat down and really thought about the type of experience he thought the reader would like to have while going through the book. Amazing.”
Ann P. Beta reader

Ann is correct about the focus on reader experience. I wanted the reader to have something that they weren’t quite sure about. I wanted to hide things inside the pages. I wanted people to think of the Boothworld Industries Initiation Kit as less of a book and more of an interactive experience with a paranormal corporation called Boothworld Industries.

“Okay. First, I want to say that I’m a huge Bloodworth fan. I’ve followed him since he started writing creepypastas for reddit’s nosleep subreddit, back before it was filled with the stuff that’s in there now. His stories were among the few that focused more on characters and plot than just gore and scares. I don’t even like scary stories, but his writing pulled me in and kept me hooked. His stories made you fall in love with the characters he wrote. That sucked because you didn’t want anything bad to happen to them, which usually did. His stories also had an air of reality to them. Even though you knew what you were reading couldn’t be true, his words would make you question that very notion. Like I said, I’m a superfan.

“I loved all of Bloodworth’s stories in this book. How could anyone not? He created Boothworld Industries and it shows. There were a few authors that gave him a run for his money though. Namely Ross Baxter and Stacie Savage. Now I don’t want to be mean, but there was also one story I just didn’t like at all. It seemed like very little thought had been put into it.

“Oh well. I’ve yet to read a book that was 100% perfect, but this book, with all the extra goodies you find, comes closer than most.”
Bri K. Beta reader

I really wanted the reader to walk away from this experience feeling as if they’d received something more than a book. I wanted to create lasting memories. That’s why so much time and effort was put into it. Sure, I could’ve just thrown the stories together, but it wouldn’t have been as powerful as I wanted it to be.

“Jesus, dude. I’ve never been more paranoid in my life. Every time my phone rings I say a little prayer that the number that appears won’t be Boothworlds. Boothworld Industries is something else…”
Jon S. Beta reader

I could tell you more, but now it’s time for you to discover Boothworld Industries for yourself.

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