Thank you @broken-wings-and-whumpy-things for the prompt! This was very very fun to write.
Cast: Whumpee (he/him) | Caretaker (they/them) | Whumper (they/them)
Romantic Pairing: Whumpee/Caretaker
TW: brief alcohol mention
They thought Whumpee was being a little desperate, really. Caretaker had already said they would be back in a few days, they just had needed space, needed not to be in the same room as Whumpee for a minute not because they didn’t love him, but because they knew it would be better if the two of them just let themselves cool off for a while, had a few moments of separation.
So they went to visit a friend, let their phone be taken and shut off, and got a few drinks. Talked about the argument, had their head cool, and let their friend give some advice. Two days later, they were getting back in their car, switching their phone back on, feeling recharged and ready to talk.
Then there were the notifications. Five voicemails, from just a few hours after they had left. Caretaker knew they were both upset, but it seemed like a lot.
They started the ignition and, against their better judgement, clicked on the first voicemail, only hoping they didn’t arrive home as pissed as they had left.
Voicemail 1 (8:37 pm)
[BEEP] “Hey, listen, I’m really sorry. Could we talk about this? I’m sure you’re still angry, but when you aren’t, let’s talk about this. I… definitely lost my temper, and this wasn’t even that big a deal. I’m really sorry. I miss you, please let me know when you’re planning on coming home. Love you.
Caretaker frowned, even as the voicemail warmed their heart. If Whumpee had arrive to that conclusion so quickly, then why were their four more voicemails to listen to?
At a stoplight, they clicked the next voicemail.
Voicemail 2 (8:51 pm)
[BEEP] “Hey, Caretaker? Listen, I just need you to pick up the phone, I need to talk to you, there’s- someone at the door, I don’t know– I can’t tell who it is, but they’re banging on the door and, listen, please don’t ignore this, just come home, this isn’t about the stupid fight anymore I need you back. …I’m gonna call the police. G-goodbye.”
Caretaker’s stomach dropped, their heart began pounding, they could hear it in their eardrums. They clenched their left hand on the steering wheel and jabbed at the phone to hear the next message. They pushed on the accelerator a little more.
Voicemail 3 (8:58 pm)
[BEEP] “Okay, seriously, pick up the, pick up the phone, don’t tell me you’re ignoring me, please, just- forget the fight, I need– God, that was the lock. They’re, inside, I have to– please, I need you back here. The police say they’re on their way but I don’t know if- they’re gonna get here fast enough. I just hope that you will, that you’re already on your way home, please– shit.”
“Shit,” Caretaker echoed, speeding a little more, passing a stop sign. Turning down their road. Just a few blocks away, now. They started the next message, pressing play with a trembling hand.
Voicemail 4 (9:05 pm)
“God, okay, they’re– I can hear them, I’m hiding in the back room, you know, the one where I’ve been p-painting, sometimes? Yeah, there’s- I didn’t even realize it, but I totally left paint on my, m-my palette, it dried already, I’ll have to s-scrape it off now, that’ll be a m-mess– f-fuck, I can, I can hear them, I have to be, okay. I love you, Caretaker, please- come home. Tell me you’re already coming home.”
That voicemail ended with a crashing noise that cut off halfway through. Caretaker slammed their car in park as soon as they pulled into the driveway shutting the car off and ripping the keys out of the ignition. They put the phone between their shoulder and ear as the final voicemail played, trembling fingers struggling to pick out their house key as they rushed up the three steps toward their front door.
Voicemail 5 (9:07 pm)
“Fuck I love you they’re here g-goodbye I love you g-goodbye I– no-!”
“Caretaker. If you try to find him I can promise you I will shoot you right in front of him. Follow my instructions, and you just might get him back.”
“No no no please, PLEASE, CARETAKER, DON’T–
“Shut him up.”
“NO, NNH- MMPH–”
“I’ll be in contact with you soon, Caretaker. I look forward to your cooperation.”
Caretaker’s hand brushed against the front door before they even figured out the right key, and the door swung open; the lock had been broken. Their phone dropped from their hand and hit the floor, the house before them blurring for a moment as their eyes filled with tears they quickly swiped away, pushing down a sob that rose in their throat. Caretaker crouched down and picked up the phone, shoving it in their pocket as they hurried through the house. “Whumpee? Whumpee! Fuck, please, Whumpee!”
There was nothing. The back room had a broken lock on the door as well, and it swung open at the lightest pressure.
“Whumpee? Oh, god, no…”
They came to a short stop, noticing the streak of crusted, dried blood on the wooden floor, a knocked over easel, a torn canvas.
Signs of a struggle.
“Whumpee…” their voice was barely a whimper now as they fell to their knees, fingers hovering over the blood, too afraid to touch it.
Their phone buzzed, and they pulled it out of their pocket, without looking. Right, they needed to call their friend, needed to call the police, needed to–
Through the new spiderweb crack running through the screen, they could read a new notification.
Voicemail 6 (10:15 am) – Private Number
Caretaker inhaled sharply, pulling the phone to their ear instantly.
“Hello, Caretaker. Here are your first instructions. If these are not followed to the letter, I guarantee things will not end well for your partner. Now, are you ready to begin? Here’s what I need you to do…”
Caretaker listened to each word with a heavy, burdened heart, but with a fierce determination to do what they had to in order to get Whumpee back.
Let me know if you’d like to see a part two!