A young man in a workplace (possibly library) becomes very curious about a customer who always makes a short phone call before going home. The customer never smalltalks, simply snaps something like 'Coming home'.

One day an incident (forgotten) gives the young man the opportunity to visit the customer's home in the latter's absence - using a key, not breaking in. He enters a hallway which has peculiar scratchmarks running all round it at a certain level, as if someone was circling it constantly, clawing. Of course he ventures in, and realises too late the house is guarded by Something Dead - the customer's brief phone call was in the nature of switching off a house alarm.

I think it was a British story but not sure. There was also mention of a ring set with what looks like a yellow fingernail, which I think the customer wears.

1 Answer 1


I've read this a few times. It's Ramsey Campbell's short story "Call First".

...the story’s focal character, Ned, into a position he probably couldn’t even fathom. An older gentleman who frequents a local library on a regular basis requests to use the library phone nightly. His brief message to the listener on the other end? I’m coming home now.

Quote from http://horrornovelreviews.com/2012/10/23/13-days-of-halloween-ramsey-campbell-call-first-review/

  • Ah, thank you! I shall hunt it up, and read more by Campbell. I should have remembered that title, an excellent fit for the story.
    – slam
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 7:53

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