Note: The following excerpt has been used with the permission of a former client and/or the publisher. Please note that I can adjust my prose style for a particular genre, and the following is not intended to represent my full range of styles or the number of genres I consider. For nonfiction, the level of complexity can be adjusted depending on client preference.
It started with a single call at seven o'clock on an August evening. I picked up the phone and listened to a few seconds of silence, after which the caller hung up. In an age of programmed calls and speed dial, such an occurrence was becoming uncommon, but it still happened on occasion. The calls continued for an entire month, the phone always ringing at exactly seven in the evening. I was a schoolteacher, and it wasn't that unusual for a kid to poach a phone number and aggravate his teacher with hang-up calls. It came with the territory.
And then the voice – an adult voice – came through the wire one night: "I know where you live." The voice. Every night. I know where you live.
The police offered no help. They said no threats had been made and that it was probably a prank. I found this answer to be unsatisfactory and hired a private investigator. He put a tap on my line, and the result was both immediate and horrifying. The calls were coming from the odd tenant who'd just moved into the apartment above mine, the odd man who spoke to no one on his way in and out of the building each day. It was, in fact, the odd man who had been required to notify all residents on the block that he was a repeat sex offender. He'd been convicted of rape five years earlier, and before that – well, his rap sheet read like the script of a horror movie.©2008