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Mysterious Ways: A Voice in the Night

Something was telling her to call her younger sister at 3 a.m., but she had no idea why. What would she tell her sibling?

By Patricia Joseph-Lyle, Detroit, Michigan

As appeared in

Call Karyn. Those words startled me from a sound sleep. I sat straight up, rubbed my eyes and looked at the clock: just after three in the morning.

My younger sister Karyn was a senior at Eastern Michigan University and was used to pulling long hours studying in her tiny on-campus apartment... but she had to be asleep by now.

My alarm wasn’t set to go off for another two and a half hours. There was so much to do tomorrow.

Get my two little girls to school, work a 10-hour day at the office, take the girls to violin and piano practice, cook dinner, check homework and iron school uniforms.

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I needed every hour of rest I could get.

I’ll call her in the morning, I thought. I lay back down and closed my eyes.

Call her, Pattie. A voice pierced the darkness. Was I going crazy? If I call her now, that’s what she’ll think.... I turned over and buried my head beneath my comforter.

Call Karyn. Now.

Clearly, I wouldn’t get any sleep until I called Karyn.

I turned on my bedside lamp and dialed the phone. A few rings. I almost hung up. This is nuts.... Then I heard my sister’s voice.

“Hello?” she answered groggily.

Now what should I say? I chuckled sheepishly. “Hey! What ya’ doin’, girl?”

There was a long pause. “Sleeping.” Karyn sighed. “Why?”

“Oh. I, uh...”

I woke my sister up for what, exactly? I wanted nothing more than to catch a few Z’s myself. So we chatted for a few minutes, then hung up.

There. I talked to her. I could finally rest before I had to be superwoman in less than three hours.

Morning came too soon. I yawned as I made the girls breakfast.

The phone rang. Probably Karyn, calling to chew me out for waking her up last night.

“Pattie? I’m just leaving the emergency room,” she said. The emergency room?

Karyn said that after we hung up, her eyes were burning and it was hard to breathe. She went to the kitchen for a glass of water.

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“I turned on the light, and there was this strange mist in the air. I ran to a neighbor. The second she saw how pale I looked, she called 911.

“The doctor said it was a good thing I woke up. There was some kind of gas leak. It could have killed me.”


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