Leave if no response
Delivering packages for Amazon is a pretty simple gig, but can get stressful depending on the amount of packages you have to deliver. Every once in a while you get a single loader, which is a phrase we use to say when the majority of packages that you get in your van are going to a single address. Of course, the company figures out that this is too easy, so they make sure that the drive to deliver it is extra long, up to half an hour in traffic here in Los Angeles.
I used to get these a lot. It was on Eastern Ave, which I guess was a warehouse since they got a ton of packages delivered there very often. I asked the man that receives the packages and counts them, and from what I understood, they take orders from other countries and then they ship them for a premium. So its like a side business but for customers outside of the United States to buy things and people who are afraid of online shopping and would rather call the center to place the order for them.
After delivering them, I’d have to go drop of the packages at some of the newer areas, some of which had addresses listed on my Rabbit, that’s the name of the scanner device that we use, but not yet on Google maps. Unmarked roads, mailboxes out by the start of large fencing, and deliveries to houses still under construction were some of the places I had to deliver to.
It was winter time and the days were getting shorter. By 6pm, the roads that had street lights would turn on, but the ones by the hills where I assigned to would get pitch black. Sometimes I had to drive 20 minutes out to deliver just one envelope, probably a trinket that the customer would end up returning anyway. There were five packages left in the bin on the seat right next to me. It had been a long day, but I was happy that I was almost there and done with it. Counting them down was a good way to pass the time.
But when I had two left in the bin, I saw that there was a mismatch. My device said that I had three packages yet to deliver, so I pulled over and stepped into the back only to see that yes, there was a small box almost under the seat next to me. 12 minutes up the hills. Again.
Driving through the twisting road, I couldn’t even see the tall grass next to the van anymore, just the shadows of them along with the shadow of the yellow arrow signs cast against the steep hills in front of me whenever I took a turn. No cars around, just distant lights from the windows of spread out houses lit by the weirdos that lived up here. Some of them lived in trailers outside of their unbuilt homes.
Up ahead, I saw the little dirt trail and the large “Private Property” sign with the security camera icon. So I grabbed the package, put on my blinkers and stepped outside. I could see a few lights a short distance from the road and through the trees. I didn’t understand why people felt the need to be far away from normal things, like this. I guess its because they have people like me to deliver things to them.
I took a few steps after I passed the rusty metal gate, looking straight ahead, avoiding the darkness all around me, with the exception of the yellow blinking lights from my van. Yellow, then black, yellow, then black. The pattern was almost hypnotizing as I walked without knowing what was in front of me, like a strange dance party to the steps of crunchy leaves and gravel beneath me.
All of it interrupted as I clearly heard a “hi” to my right, from the trees. Then another, hello, this time from my left. Your mind makes things up when you’re feeling scared.
I saw the windows of a small house, about the size of a bungalow, up ahead. The stench of rotting meat growing with every step, bringing back the memories of the dead possums we used to find in my backyard. I could hear a beehive, the loudest I have ever heard. My mind making things up.
There was a shed on the path before getting to the porch of the little house, and on the ground by the doors of it, were three or four packages. I grabbed my scanner to light up the package. I was begging for the words to be there, I just wanted to leave. The light came on, “Leave if no response” right on the label. I considered tossing it right there with the others. This box would survive, it seemed light enough. But then I saw the woman on the rocking chair, probably waiting for me.
But she didn’t move.
I walked up to her, the stench growing as I walked up to the wooden steps. Her blueish porch light, highlighting the buzzing dark cloud all around her. And the sounds. I grabbed my scanner and turned on the light. I pointed it toward her.
Her mouth stretched wide open. Flies crawling down her white hair and into her wrinkled nose, as the others came out from the roof of her mouth and onto her teeth.
I dropped the package, turned around, and ran past the shed. Have you ever run in the dark? Something behind you, something next to you. You can’t see your own shoes. That driveway seemed to never end. Yellow, then black, then yellow, then black.
That was the story “Leave if no response”. If you like short scary stories like these, I’d like to tell you about another podcast I’ll be producing and publishing along with this one. Listen for the official announcement right here on Scary Story Podcast. For now, enjoy the next story that is coming up right after this called “Fire at Mom’s House”, thank you for listening!
I reminded my brother constantly about the strange things that would happen at my house. Everyone worked in the evenings and I would normally be by myself in after school. It started as something seemingly insignificant: fruit rolling away from the counter, or something moving around in the trash can.
Eventually, that look of “I believe you believe what you saw” was all I needed to shut up about it, even though I would go to the kitchen and to the bathroom only if I absolutely had to. When I’d get home after school, I’d just grab the box of cereal and whatever else I could find to eat and then go to my room until I heard the keys shuffling of the front door, a sign that my brother had gotten home from work and that my parents would arrive a few hours after that.
He’d arrive with all the lights off, sometimes calling out my name. I knew the feeling, still some of the best memories of my life. Naaaancy, yoo hoo… as he flicked on the lights. He had gotten us chicken nuggets, or fries. Something small. Sometimes he’d find something at work, a little gadget or a toy, during his shift at the hotel.
When I was even younger, he’d be the one that took out the trash out to the dark alley, and he’d call to order pizzas or to ask for directions. He wasn’t afraid of anything. Working as a part-time security guard fit him okay.
I, on the other hand, was another story. But the noises that I used to hear in the living room were real. Mom heard them once, and she walked into the kitchen searching for a rat or a mouse while I was so scared that I cried from the corner of the living room, unable to speak. What I didn’t tell mom was that I had seen someone standing there, in front of the stove, and even now I can’t trust myself to know for sure if I had imagined the whole thing. All I knew was that it would make things a lot better for everyone if I just kept my mouth shut.
And so I did my best to ignore the sounds of the cabinets opening, the kitchen drawers shutting. The sounds of spatulas hitting against the metal sink. I’d turn up the music of my CD player and just wait.
But one night, it was getting late and my brother hadn’t gotten home. I needed to use the bathroom, I wanted to at least go out through the hallway and turn on the living room lights. Have you ever heard noises in the dark when you’re alone? So I got mentally ready, and reached for my doorknob.
I looked to the right, the bright green lights of the alarm clock by the television and the clock from the radio were still two minutes apart. The dampened conversation of our downstairs neighbors laughing at something on the television. It was almost nine o’clock.
And there it went again, the cabinet slamming shut. A pan moving around the stovetop. Someone was there. I hadn’t even taken a step outside my room yet, but that’s when I heard it. The shuffling of the keys.
My brother was home.