a cry in the night

Natalie Sierra

Natalie Sierra is the author of Medusa, a collection of poetry reworking the myth for modern times. Her work has been featured in the Westwind: A Journal for the Arts from UCLA, the Los Angeles Times, and more.

Natalie is also the editor-in-chief for Disquiet Arts, an alternative lit/gothic art literary magazine.

Natalie lives in Pomona, CA with her husband, three daughters, four dogs, and their latest addition, a kitty named Angel.

Fiction

A Cry in the Night

written by Natalie Sierra

In Hollywood in 1929, a young actress working as a telephone switchboard operator receives a terrifying call — a woman screaming for help, silenced by a sudden gunshot. When the police investigation leads nowhere, she jumps into action to try to learn the identity and the fate of the mysterious screaming woman.

 

© 2020 Natalie Sierra | Recording © 2020 Rivercliff Books & Media. All rights reserved.

Read by Taylor Coan

“As a telephone operator for the city of Los Angeles, I heard many strange and marvelous things. However, nothing could prepare me for the terrible events that originated from a mysterious phone call one warm evening.”

“Help me!” cried the distinctly feminine voice on the other end of the phone. “He’s going to kill me!” I put the headset back on as the caller struggled helplessly with someone on the other end.

“The room was dark, with just enough light filtering through the curtained window to make out the outline of furniture that seemed like every terrifying monster I’d ever been afraid of. I gulped as I stepped into the ominous darkness. Something crunched under my foot…”

Q&A with Natalie

Tell us about your story...

A Cry in the Night is the story of one woman’s search for a killer, set in 1920’s Los Angeles.

What was the inspiration for this story?

I’m obsessed with old Hollywood and vintage items, but most especially old photos. I received a packet of one woman’s headshots, including a few personal photos, as a gift. Well, being the curious-to-a-fault person that I am, I set out on a quest to learn as much as I could about the woman. Her name was Mary Elizabeth Stewart.

I ended up visiting some of the places in L.A. where she had been. From that, I wondered how she might haven gotten by when she wasn’t working in the studio, what kind of things she did in her free time, what she might have seen… that’s how the ghost of the story began to form.


What have you recently read that you loved?

Weather by Jenny Offill. Poetic, quietly beautiful. Atmospheric and moving.

Someday I want to...

 Live by the beach in Northern California and write, undisturbed.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Watch movies, read poetry and horror stories. Listen to the same song over and over again until I don’t notice when it ends or where it began.

Do you have any hidden talents?

My cooking skills * chef’s kiss…

On the weekends I like to...

If I’m not working, I’m hanging out with my husband and kids, most likely watching their playful antics and falling asleep in the armchair with a book in hand.

Tomorrow I absolutely refuse to...

Wash a single goddamn dish.

Anything else you'd like to share?

Believe women.

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