We had just started one of the best jobs. A large team of students at my college had been assembled to plan out one of the coolest programs of the year, and I don’t mean a computer program, I mean an entire festival with artists and food stands and activities. We finally figured out how you book a band, the equipment requirements, insurance, and all of that business lingo we had to learn. It was awesome.
After everything was booked and ready, we had four days before the big event to welcome all of the incoming freshmen. Most of us were staying at the dorms already, so a few of us had a plan to make the six hour drive to Las Vegas in Nevada. It was about six of us in total and they only booked two rooms. Their logic was that everyone was going to be out and about anyway, so nobody was going to sleep. It was pretty absurd to me, but I went along.
There was a girl there that I used to like, Maria. We hung out sometimes, so I thought it would be a good way to spend more time with her. I’m sure you all know most of what Las Vegas is like from what you’ve seen in movies, but since I don’t live too far from the city and I’ve gone to some of the desert tours around there, I see the city differently.
Most people see the city as the coolest place with dance clubs, the best restaurants, and casinos, but I see a bunch of dirty sidewalks and drunk people everywhere whenever I go. I didn’t want to be the party pooper of the group, so I pretended to be excited about going into the stinky dance areas.
Maria seemed to be having a good time, though. But as much as I tried, I couldn’t find anything to talk about and instead ended up hanging out with my other coworker Jeff. Well, until he disappeared leaving me with everyone else as I opened random apps on my phone just to pass the time. I texted Jeff, but the text didn’t show up as delivered, so I figured his battery must have died.
The night went on as expected, with us leaving one place and going to the next until I got so bored that I went outside to the sidewalk and literally started refreshing Facebook and Twitter. That’s as low as it gets for me.
There were other people outside, I watched a couple of almost-fights, where two guys pretended to be all tough with each other but nobody ever took a swing. I got approached by men and women to ask if I wanted to buy phone chargers or earphones. People passing out flyers. The usual stuff. Then I had a realization. Nobody would notice if I just left.
I tried to tell Maria but she was off laughing with some other people that we didn’t know, so instead I just stepped right outside again and looked up the map of where the motel was just to double check that I wouldn’t get lost.
I walked over to the end of the block and took a turn left, and suddenly all of the noise and flashing lights faded. It was amazing how quickly you could get away from all the commotion of the main strip. The group had decided on a somewhat nice motel, if you’ve ever heard of such thing, but it was a walk away from the strip. Maybe five or six blocks away, having to walk through dark streets lit by dim orange lights and the sound of buzzing power lines above. We had taken a taxi to the strip. What a waste of money.
I was buzzed in and walked over to one of the rooms. I plugged in my phone to charge it up and started watching random Youtube videos to pass the time before everyone got back.
It must have been around four in the morning when I heard Jeff calling out my name in the dark. He had some trash in his hand and was laughing as he explained what happened. I was half awake as he said a bunch of nonsense. I just thought he was out of it. He told me that a car went up to him, two guys got out, and a third person, a woman, kept screaming in the car as the guys demanded their money.
Jeff laughed as he said that the guys threw a paper bag at him with leftover food, some stale mozzarella sticks and fries before he took off running toward the motel. He thought it was so random and yet I could tell he felt good about being able to escape an attempted kidnapping.
It must have been the adrenaline.
Two other people from our work arrived just as the sun was coming out, making a ton of noise and laughing at who-knows-what. Jeff was already knocked out by that time.
Everyone else woke up extremely late, past the checkout time, and we were all, including the people from the other room, charged with an outrageous late checkout fee. I was already in the car ready to get some food apart from the coffee, bread, and jam that the motel offered as a complimentary breakfast.
Like zombies, they got in the car as I made my way to the old diner that I always stopped by on our way out of the main strip. Everyone kept talking about what had happened, the craziness of everything, and then Jeff told his story, which got us all laughing. It was insane. Jeff almost got kidnapped and they threw some food at him, “for the trouble”, everyone said.
They asked him if the food was any good, and he said that the fries were okay, but with too much ketchup and the mozzarella sticks were nasty, stale and slimy. We were all surprised he actually tried it! Jeff was the weird one of the group, I guess.
On our way out of the diner, Maria gave me a look and then said that she had forgotten her cell phone charger but didn’t want us to waste time going back to get it. Poor Maria, she was being too nice. I said we’d go back to get it and I got to see her big green eyes light up.
That minor detour ended up taking three hours.
As I arrived to the front desk, everyone else staying in the car, a woman looked at me in a panic, picked up the phone, and not even ten seconds later, the police officers that had been outside surrounded the car and asked them to keep our hands where they could see them. They asked me to go outside as more police cars arrived as they calmly asked us to step aside. I don’t know what they asked everyone else, but the two officers that questioned me asked for my name, my phone number, and how I knew everybody, and a bunch of other questions. As you can probably guess, I was extremely confused. They called it a witness account, and I can believe it since they really didn’t seem like they were accusing me of anything.
They questioned Jeff the most. We all sat in the lobby while Jeff finally came up to us, expressionless, and said that we were good to go, but told us nothing else. The police officers left, being pretty cool with us, and apologized for the trouble before they simply left.
With everyone in the car, I took a look back through the rearview mirror to see Jeff lost in his own thoughts, and glanced quickly toward the right seat to catch Maria looking out toward the window. I forgot to ask about the charger.
I stepped out of the car and went to the lobby to see a different guy behind the desk who I hadn’t seen before. “Hey man, was there a charger left in room 128?” He reached down for what I was assuming was the lost and found box before he froze, looked at me, and said “it was you guys?”
I asked him what he meant.
“The police officers, the fingers,” he said, “what was up with that?”
I had no idea what he meant and he could tell, so he said, “Barbara, the cleaning lady, she said she found the severed fingers in your room on a paper plate. She freaked out and was actually sent home.”
“Wait, like human fingers?” I asked
“You really don’t know? I think it was part of the Bethany case, the woman who got kidnapped and held for ransom. Her middle and ring fingers were cut off.” He said, casually, as he handed me Maria’s white iPhone charger.
“Barbara found the bloodied fingers on a plate of French fries right there, in one of your rooms.”
Tonight’s second story is about a strange figure that appeared on a camera recording, but first I’d like to remind you that the presale offer will come to an end along with the end of this first season. You can find it over on Scary Pod dot com. You’ll receive the entire collection of stories, completely free of ads and one mega file with all of the stories one after the other with zero interruptions. Find it at scary pod dot com, that’s scary p – o – d dot com.
The story will continue right after this. Thanks a lot for listening!
I was happy for my friends when they both got jobs at an electronics store called Best Buy, even if I didn’t get the job this time around. They were doing some type of mass hiring event and I was excited about it because all I’ve ever liked is technology. But anyway, I knew that they would get discounts on items and they’d let me check out their cool gadgets too.
One of the weird things my friend got was a thermal camera. It wasn’t one of those cheap ones either, it was a thing that looked like a cinema camera, with a beefy tripod and cables and an enormous case. Sometimes stores get returns that they cannot sell as brand new anymore, I think they’re called “open box” and they are resold at a discount.
It was completely unnecessary, I know. Nobody needs such a thing unless they are going hunting and even then the battery only lasted half an hour otherwise it needed to be plugged in so I’m not sure why anybody would get it.
I had an idea though. My friends used to do these types of ghost hunts. It meant to take our iPhones and recorders and sneak into abandoned places to see if we would catch any paranormal stuff. The most we have ever caught was a distinct sound calling Sarah’s name. It was so clear and flowed in the most eerie way. We mostly do it to hang out together and then go to IHOP for pancakes afterward.
Anyway, I knew Gary would end up suggesting going ghost hunting with it, and sure enough, we Googled a place nearby to go check out. It was an old house that was set to be demolished in the following month or so. There were no fences or guards, or anything else stopping us. He charged up the camera, and off we went along with two other friends.
We parked a little distance away so that we wouldn’t give away that we were inside of the abandoned place, which meant carrying our bags up a hill for about half a block. Opening up the gate, I got a chill of cold air and a feeling I had never felt before.
We stepped up to the house with the front door missing and did our first round with our red flashlights and a single camera. The red lights was a thing we found in some tv shows where they say that red lights help you adjust to the darkness better. But man, we were not ready for what were going to see in there.
A thermal camera works by showing things that are hot as orange, red, and white being the hottest. Black is cold, then purple, then blue are the cold items. If you touch a surface like a table, you actually warm up it up and you can see a heatprint of it through the camera.
Pretty much as soon as we turned it on and started recording, we saw four distinct yellow figures lining up in front of us, along with a smaller figure walking around them. Then their colors turned colder until they vanished.
Sarah and I were the only ones inside the living room of the house, while Gary and the other guy were in the front porch setting up some other things. Sarah looked right at me as I looked into the monitor. I couldn’t believe it.
I then turned toward Sarah and saw the silhouette of what appeared to be a very tall man right behind her. I turned the thermal camera toward her and all I saw was a red blob of Sarah standing right there. Then Sarah’s head got pulled back by the hair and she screamed before getting herself together and running straight out toward the front porch.
I pulled the tripod along with the camera with one hand on my way out, but it fell to the floor before I dragged one of the tripod legs along with me. We all stood in the front porch getting everything ready back in the bags when we heard a growl from inside the house.
That was it for us. We took off running with all of our stuff.
When we got back into my friend’s car, we pulled up to a parking lot to talk about what happened and hopefully review some of the footage, and the other two guys got a close look at what we had seen.
It was a family of red silhouettes, four adults and one child. But off into the corner of one of the regular iPhone videos, we could see the tall figure of a man walking toward us. The part with Sarah showed her pretty clearly being pulled back but with nothing behind her.
Now we have something better than a voice whispering Sarah’s name.