After watching ‘The Ring,’ my calls can go to voicemail

Image courtesy of DreamWorks


The leathery dark of the alone. A good time for a horror movie.

“The Ring” on DVD. Missed it in the theater. They said it was scary. Horror movies no longer scare me. Things like colonoscopies scare me.

Turn out the lights. What’s that in the corner? Did something just slip in with the dark? No. Just a shirt hanging to dry. Not the undead.

What’s “The Ring”? Watch a video of horrible images and the phone rings. A voice says in seven days you die. Same thing happens if the IRS calls.

Slip “The Ring” into the DVD player. Watch it go through its paces. Flickering images: a tree on fire. A chair twirling. A well. The speakers snarl and a ring appears on the screen. Then. …


Is it supposed to do this?

Push buttons. Nothing. The ring is still on the screen. DVD player locked up.

Eject. Turn off DVD player. Turn on DVD player. Put disc in slot.

More horrific images. Finally, a menu. One choice: “Don’t look at this.”

Hit “play movie.” Movie starts immediately. A skyscraper in rain. A man searching for a videotape in his ex-girlfriend’s house. Clouds racing over a hilltop. A girl crawling from a well. Then snarling and hissing. The ring back on the screen.

DVD player freezes.


Eject. Disc won’t eject.

Play. Disc won’t play.

Reverse. Fast Forward.

The ring the ring the ring.

Switch to VCR, then back to DVD.

The ring.

What is this?

Turn OFF the DVD player.

The DVD player will NOT turn off.

The ring.


The ring.

Then, the disc tray quietly slides open. Sits there. It’s supposed to close again after a few seconds, but it doesn’t.

Approach it cautiously.

Take it, fool. I do.

Push tray shut. Everything goes off. Whoa.

Go upstairs to the computer. Put “The Ring” in the CD/DVD slot. Light flickers several times, but no icon appears on the screen.

Find the D-drive icon in “my computer” and double click. Two icons appear – The Ring Audio and The Ring Video. Neither will start movie.

I’m scared.

Right click on D-drive icon. See “start.” Click that. Screen goes dark. Weird images. “Play movie.” Click that.

Movie begins.

It IS terrifying.

Little girl crawls out of TV screen – hairs on my arm and neck stand on end as if electrified. Push back away from the computer monitor. Cats scramble to get away.

Movie ends.

House is darker than dark.

If the telephone rings, my heart will stop.

Call can go to voicemail.

This column was published in the Saturday, June 14, 2003 Northwest Florida Daily News and is used with permission.

About the author:

Del Stone Jr. is a professional fiction writer. He is known primarily for his work in the contemporary dark fiction field, but has also published science fiction and contemporary fantasy. Stone’s stories, poetry and scripts have appeared in publications such as Amazing Stories, Eldritch Tales, and Bantam-Spectra’s Full Spectrum. His short fiction has been published in The Year’s Best Horror Stories XXII; Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine; the Pocket Books anthology More Phobias; the Barnes & Noble anthologies 100 Wicked Little Witch Stories, Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, and 100 Astounding Little Alien Stories; the HWA anthology Psychos; and other short fiction venues, like Blood Muse, Live Without a Net, Zombiesque and Sex Macabre. Stone’s comic book debut was in the Clive Barker series of books, Hellraiser, published by Marvel/Epic and reprinted in The Best of Hellraiser anthology. He has also published stories in Penthouse Comix, and worked with artist Dave Dorman on many projects, including the illustrated novella “Roadkill,” a short story for the Andrew Vachss anthology Underground from Dark Horse, an ashcan titled “December” for Hero Illustrated, and several of Dorman’s Wasted Lands novellas and comics, such as Rail from Image and “The Uninvited.” Stone’s novel, Dead Heat, won the 1996 International Horror Guild’s award for best first novel and was a runner-up for the Bram Stoker Award. Stone has also been a finalist for the IHG award for short fiction, the British Fantasy Award for best novella, and a semifinalist for the Nebula and Writers of the Future awards. His stories have appeared in anthologies that have won the Bram Stoker Award and the World Fantasy Award. Two of his works were optioned for film, the novella “Black Tide” and short story “Crisis Line.”

Stone recently retired after a 41-year career in journalism. He won numerous awards for his work, and in 1986 was named Florida’s best columnist in his circulation division by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors. In 2001 he received an honorable mention from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association for his essay “When Freedom of Speech Ends” and in 2003 he was voted Best of the Best in the category of columnists by Emerald Coast Magazine. He participated in book signings and awareness campaigns, and was a guest on local television and radio programs.

As an addendum, Stone is single, kills tomatoes and morning glories with ruthless efficiency, once tied the stem of a cocktail cherry in a knot with his tongue, and carries a permanent scar on his chest after having been shot with a paintball gun. He’s in his 60s as of this writing but doesn’t look a day over 94.

Contact Del at [email protected]. He is also on Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, tumblr, TikTok, Ello and Instagram. Visit his website at .