A woman reminds me of a patch in a garden. A spot just for me. For more, visit ScaryPod.com
Someone knows your every move. What would you do?
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A security guard learns the story of a woman who visits the warehouse. For more, visit: https://scarystorypodcast.com/join
A one-sided friendship ended in regret …and death.
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Your visit to a forgotten cemetery turns into a night you’ll never forget. What? They just want to play. Join the official Scary Story Podcast website at https://scarypod.com/join
Witnessing something strange during the drive down the dark roads of Arizona. To join the official website, visit https://scarypod.com/join/
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Back in the day, we used to see these very sad photos on the sides of milk cartons with the word MISSING in capital letters. The black and white photos never really meant anything to me. That all changed when I saw my friend’s face on there.
The long messy hair, his crooked smile, and the yellow jacket he would wear almost every day, now all greyed out in that portrait.
We met in 1st grade at the lunch table. The lunch ladies set up an ice chest with ice cream bars by the trash cans with a sign that said 25 cents. They were orange-flavored, and not very good, but I would always carry a quarter with me and waited for Wednesday to come just to buy one. I was about to stand up to throw my tray away, when I heard the sound of a coin hitting the ground and rolling toward me. I looked down and stepped on the old quarter as a nerdy-looking kid came up to me, tried to say something, looked down, and began to walk away.
“Hey,” I called to him, “here’s your quarter.”
Without saying anything back, he got on one knee and reached for the coin. He struggled a little to pick up the quarter but eventually got it between the nail of his index finger and thumb, then walked toward the ice cream table.
I grabbed my tray and walked over to the trash can and stood in line behind him by the table.
It’s been a long time since then, but we eventually became friends and I would go over to his house across the street and he would come over to mine to play Game Boy games and let each other borrow game cartridges. He was really good at finishing up the games.
I remember he was good at a lot of weird things, like cheating at card games, dominoes, and could figure out some pretty odd things. Once we got computers in our classroom in 3rd grade, I started noticing a change in how he acted. During lunchtime, we would hang out in the library of our school and he would show me pages, which much later I found out were actually forums, where certain users would release challenges that anybody could work on through programming software.
I never really got into it and would usually play Doom, hidden away from the librarians and aides, but Carlos got really into it.
Some of the tasks seemed simple, but they had many steps. They were like puzzles or scavenger hunts that you would eventually direct-message to someone, a stranger, on the internet. As a prize, you’d receive some type of virtual points that would show up along your username on the forum, and you could get up to level 100 and be an “expert” or something like that.
It was the summer between 3rd and 4th grade when things really started changing.
His parents had gotten him a computer and a dial-up connection, so we would play chess and look up cheat codes for games, but he always seemed to be working on these forum challenges on the side.
One day, Carlos told me that he had gotten a message asking him for “The day when everything disappeared” which, according to him, was also part of a challenge. Eventually, he would only talk about databases and laboratories.
He started mentioning things about dimensions and alternative numbers.
I followed along with his stories, pretending to understand him half the time. I didn’t know I would be questioned over these things. Now I wish I would have paid more attention.
One particular project he mentioned before he went missing, was a search for a man. Supposedly, a man had been captured and had released a series of coded messages. One of the messages was a scanned photo with a date and short description on the back.
I remember this project because Carlos started becoming obsessed with me learning a type of system to read messages using a walkie talkie, then with images. When my family got an internet connection at my house, he started sharing strings of numbers that another program would capture and would spit out a sentence in plain English. This message then had to be counted for syllables, number of vowels, and referenced with a table that we had made up. It seemed interesting at first, but an hourlong process just to get the word “macaroni” seemed pointless, even for 9-year-old me.
I was walking home from school when a black car pulled up next to me and a man rolled down his window to say my first and last name. I admit that I was a chicken back then so I just ran as fast as I could through the little groups of kids along the way home without looking back, finally making it home.
I never found out what that was all about, as I don’t think the car even followed me home.
As soon as I turned on the computer and booted up the connection, I got a string of random letters and numbers. Carlos hadn’t been in school that day, so I figured he had just sent me a message out of bored. I pasted in the numbers into the program, and it calculated a 7. 7 meant H. Then I kept entering results until I read the whole word: HIDE.
That was the day Carlos disappeared.
A police officer showed up the following day at school to talk with me, and my dad was there with him, along with my 4th grade teacher. Thinking back, I don’t know how much that teacher knew Carlos since the school year had just started, but she tried to help out, saying very nice things about Carlos. Things about his grades, and stuff like that.
I remember feeling confused and sad, and had to answer many questions about Carlos, including things he would do on the internet. I told him about the challenges and about the latest project, but the police didn’t seem to understand anything.
I never saw Carlos again. I spent years visiting the forum until it was taken down or transferred, and eventually I just stopped. But I know he’s still alive.
After graduating college and moving into my own apartment, I found that old computer and to my surprise, it booted up. All of my childhood memories started running wild through my head as I saw the old windows 95 logo and the icons of the crappy games we used to play.
What made my stomach turn, though, was the hundreds of transfers I received when I connected the internet adapter. They were from Carlos. The last one had been sent to me 6 months before turning on the computer.
I’ve decoded every single one, and they all seemed to be repeating patterns.
ALTERNATIVE, LIFE, EIGHTYEIGHT, HARBOR
ALTERNATIVE, LIFE, EIGHTYEIGHT, HARBOR
All except for one word, “HIDE” which was randomly placed in between all of the single word messages.
I’ve asked some of my programmer friends about this, and they’ve said that it does not seem to be automatically sent, and that the word HIDE might actually be a command and not a message, and that the messages may have been sending undetected.
I’ll keep working on finding out where he is or at least how send a message back to him. I’ve got a couple of friends together to help me on this project.
Despite all of this, I’m glad Carlos is alive. One time my dad said that he was too smart for his own good.
I think some secret organization discovered that as well.
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It was dark. I typically sleep under two blankets, but on this particular night I remember feeling ice cold. I felt someone tug on my arm as they yelled in a language that I didn’t understand, but I still couldn’t see the man who squeezed my right forearm and elbow until hurt. Then my fingers went numb.
All I remember after that is waking up to the sound of my mom opening my bedroom door and the sunlight was coming through my window.
“Wake up sleepy head!” she said, “It’s almost noon.”
I could still feel the pain in my arm as I rolled to the edge of bed to look for my sandals somewhere on the floor. I heard mom going down the stairs and back to the kitchen.
I went to the bathroom and then downstairs. My older brother stared at me as if he wanted to say something, but I beat him to it when I just said good morning and sat down on the stool by the kitchen with my phone and opened up Instagram. Normal day, I guess.
But when I heard mom crack an egg on the counter, I felt sick to my stomach and ran to the bathroom. This part is nasty, but let’s just say that I didn’t quite make it all the way before throwing up.
The day went by as always, stuck at home on a Saturday. I normally would just watch Youtube videos in my room, when I overheard that my brother would be having his friends over again. They were so annoying. They would stay up really late and I swear one of them would go to the bathroom and stink it up every hour throughout the night.
To make matters worse, that same guy rode a motorcycle and parked it in our driveway, so at 2am I would hear the motorcycle starting. I was pretty sure the neighbors would start complaining soon.
I was in the living room when his two friends showed up. They looked at me and said hi, but hesitating to do so. My brother called them over to his room, rushing them in there super awkwardly.
I couldn’t sleep that night. I heard chants and screams. I felt stinging needles crawling like spiders all over me. There was a voice so deep that I couldn’t even tell the words apart. I was terrified like never before.
When I finally was able to shake myself awake, I screamed and my mom came rushing into my room. I remember she was yelling for my brother to come to the room. I remember her desperately demanding the first aid kit and my brother wouldn’t show up.
I didn’t know what was wrong at the time, but I was conscious enough to hear my mom running toward the bathroom, and waking up dad. Mom sprayed some medicine on my arms and I could hear dad pounding on my brother’s room until I heard it swing open.
Then, I went back to sleep.
I woke up in the hospital, both of my parents in the room, a police officer, and a woman in a black power suit looking down at my bandaged arms. She asked me several questions, including things about how I was doing in school and how I felt about my weight. I wasn’t sure what that was all about.
My brother came rushing into the room once the woman waved my parents to come back in and he started crying. He said he was sorry and that he would stop.
My parents were a bit silent around me, trying not to talk about three gashes on both of my arms, but I finally convinced them to explain to me what was happening.
The night I woke up screaming, my dad found a ring of candles and some random items in my brother’s room. It turns out that him and his friends thought it would be fun to try a ritual that they found on a forum on the internet.
They would be granted what they most wanted.
But nothing comes free, not even in the dark world.
I looked up some information on the topic online, but had to stop. Many of the things that they mentioned were coming true, including the messing of my electronic devices. My lights have started flickering. None of it was as scary as what they described the entity to be like. It supposedly only wanted one thing.
The entity would give the people that take part in the ritual what they wanted, and in exchange, it would take what it wanted:
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Many of the things my husband and I had gotten for our newborn have been hand-me-down items in good condition from friends and family members. We made ends meet by working at separate times during the day so we could be with our baby and not have to pay a babysitter.
Almost a year later, we had more luck with work. It was a tough call, but we got the money together to purchase a car seat in order to take our baby out to the park or to visit my parents a couple of towns over. I ordered it on sale online from Dexters, 50% off.
I’ll never forget that.
Your order will be delivered in two weeks, thank you for shopping with us.
My husband got a promotion at work a couple of days after that and his shift at work would be starting at seven in the morning starting the next day. This was supposed to be great news, but now I had to find a babysitter and the thought of spending money we didn’t have started to stress me out because my shift at the restaurant also started at 7 in the morning.
That night, I called my mom to tell her about the situation. She happily suggested that I take Sarah to her in the morning, and problem solved. I was relieved, even though it would mean that I would be waking up earlier to make the drive thirty minutes into the countryside of Colorado and thirty minutes back.
Almost instinctively I called mom back right after hanging up.
“Mom, I’ll be needing a car seat for Sarah,” I said, “where can I get one at this hour?”
I had ordered one, of course, but it hadn’t arrived yet. Mom always thinks of things right on the spot and is a very logical problem solver, so I usually called her to figure out what to do in pretty insane situations.
“Jim’s parents have one, and I can see they still have their lights on. Hold on.”
Jim was my neighborhood friend while I was growing up. His parents were very close to my mom and dad and they had been with us through every important family event for as long as I can remember.
My phone rang.
“I found one for infants, sounds about right, eh?” Mom said, “you’ll need it for tomorrow, why don’t you come on by now? Your dad is asleep but I’ll be awake for another hour or so.”
I agreed and got ready to leave. It was around 9pm.
The drive along the grassy fields at night was one that I could not seem to remember ever taking. Most of the time I would look around at the green fields thanks to the bright sunlight. It was darker than normal and no moon in sight.
I finally started to see the street lights in the distance. Mom’s house was the second one on the first block.
Mom greeted me at the front door and told me that she had just picked it up from the side of the shed on the neighbor’s property. They wouldn’t mind, but I still found it awkward whenever mom did something like that. The baby car seat looked a little worn, but in good condition from what I could tell in the dark. We wiped it down with disinfectant, I locked the base to the car and the car seat to the base, said good bye, and got in my car.
The ride back was odd, to say the least. At one point, my steering wheel felt like it was being pulled to one side.
That would be the start to the sequence of the creepiest events I have ever experienced.
The next morning, as planned, I got up at 5am, loaded up the car and strapped Sarah to the car seat and headed to mom’s place. Sarah kept squirming and moaning until halfway through the drive when she just burst into a panic scream-crying so loud that I had to pull over to see what was wrong.
But nothing seemed wrong.
Mom came out of her house once I arrived and she picked up Sarah, wiping the tears from Sarah’s face with the cloth I had brought.
I was in a hurry, so I left Sarah’s things and went straight back to the car to make the journey back.
John dropped me off at work at 6:45am and he went to his job to his new position. And then at around 4pm, he picked me up.
We were on our way to pick up Sarah when John mentioned how stained the car seat was. I turned toward the back seat and noticed some deep dark stains on the back part of the seat, almost like black engine oil. I figured I’d spray the seat down as soon as I we got Sarah, and put a towel on the seat in the meantime.
Sarah cried the whole way back to the house, but calmed down once we arrived.
I took the car seat out to clean it again out on the front porch when I noticed that the stains were still wet and the white rags I was using turned brown, like coffee. I thought it was odd, but didn’t put too much thought into it at the time. Of course, all of that would change later.
I put the seat back into the car and went back into the house.
The next morning, Sarah kept crying on the way to mom’s house. But at one point, I heard her laugh in between her cries.
At least I thought it was her.
Things got weirder on the days that followed. My radio stopped working completely and the steering wheel kept tugging to one side at random times. Another time, the rear passenger window rolled down halfway, with Sarah being too far to even reach the knob.
The laughter got louder.
I told John about it, but he said that it might be lack of sleep. I did it more to warn him to be careful than to ask for help, but he said it would be okay. It was going to be his turn to take Sarah to mom’s place.
It was 6:50am on a Monday and John hadn’t arrived to pick me up to go to work, so I figured I’d call my coworker for a ride and called John’s cell phone to let him know to just go straight to his work, but he didn’t pick up.
My coworker and I both got to work five minutes late.
At around 9am, my manager called me up to her desk by the kitchen. I figured it was something to do with me showing up late, but instead she just pointed to the phone and went back to checking her invoices.
I picked up to the sound of a man verifying my name.
What he said to me still seems like a blur to me. My husband had been in a car accident and was now in stable condition. The officer kept asking for the infant’s information.
The sounds from the phone seemed distant and slurred. My manager grabbed my arm and led me to the chair.
“Mrs. Parker, please. I need you to describe the infant,” I heard over the phone.
“Her name is Sarah,” I said, and then described what I remembered she was wearing.
My manager got the name of the hospital and offered to drive me there. I got my phone out to call my mom, or John, or I don’t know who, but when I looked at the screen, I saw two missed calls from my mom and hit the button to call her back.
She picked up almost immediately.
She calmly said, “So it turns out that Ben and Meg are upset over the car seat and would like me to return it to them,” she said, as she tried to make it okay by chuckling a little bit.
“Yeah, apparently –“, she continued.
“Mom!” I interrupted. I told her that I couldn’t waste my time talking about a dumb car seat. Not right now. We had pulled up to the hospital and I hung up as I rushed into the front desk and asked for John.
John was in a hospital bed. I asked the nurses where Sarah was, and she looked at me, confused. She kept staring at me as she backed away toward the door and rushed to the other nurses. They all told me that there was no Sarah there, and that I should calm down.
I was back in the room when a slightly friendlier nurse brought a paper cup with ice water as I sat by John’s bed when a police officer peeked his head into the room and asked for me in the familiar voice I heard over the phone. In a panic, I yelled for Sarah, to which he said that there was some confusion in the reports.
A couple of good samaritans had witnessed the accident said that a child was heard crying off the side of the road but no child was found when the police had arrived and that they would continue to find an explanation. I remember myself screaming and crying at thought of losing Sarah.
A less than an hour later, I called mom ready to give her the bad news even I wasn’t ready to accept. Mom was eerily silent, but then interrupted to say:
“But Sarah’s here. With me.”
But what about the crying child?
Slowly, it all started making sense. John had the accident while driving back to pick me up for work. But then mom brought up the car seat again.
“Jim’s parents were upset about the car seat because it belonged to them at the time of the accident, remember?”
I barely remember the accident, Jim didn’t like to talk to me about it. It isn’t something kids normally talk about. Jim’s little brother had died in a tragic car accident as a baby. His little brother had been flung off the car seat, flew through the car window, and died on the scene after landing on the stretch of road through the grassy fields.
Jim didn’t like the scary stories we told as kids about the headless child crying on the road at night.
I felt relieved and confused. John would be alright, and Sarah was safe and sound. I got the answer to my final question when John woke up a few hours later before going back to sleep.
“The little boy. Laughing.”
“What?” I asked.
“There was a boy in the car seat.”
A week later, the doorbell rang.
It was a big brown box with a brand new baby car seat.
There was a house I used to walk by when I was a kid. We lived in a suburban neighborhood, so many of the houses shared yards and everyone kept their houses neatly painted with white and blue paint, with the occasional yellow house. Every house, except one of them, that is. That’s what this story is about.
It was empty for long periods at a time, I remember it when I was in 3rd grade it had gotten boarded up, but then there was a young family that moved in, they had a daughter about my age and I had a lot of fun playing around with her, but she had to move and change schools shortly after. Nobody really knew why the house would be empty most of the time, but the rumor around the school was that it was haunted and that the house had a radio attached to the living room wall that would play a creepy song by itself.
During 4th grade, I got in trouble with my mom because me and a couple of my friends sneaked in there and one of the nosy neighbors called the police on us. But I DID get to see the radio. It wasn’t that big of a deal, honestly, it looked like a normal radio but on a type of hole in the wall, next to a mirror, and right next to it was a chimney. The place was definitely run down, but it was too dark in there to really have a good look at everything else. There was furniture and I even thought I saw plates and other dishes on the dining room table, which I thought was pretty odd, but like I said, it was really dark inside, so it might have been something else.
The police didn’t make a big deal out of it and my friends and I were just told to go home, but the dumb neighbor went to the house in the evening to tell mom everything and I got in trouble. That neighbor was annoying.
The house was empty for about almost a year that time before a woman and her daughter moved in. Her daughter was in 6th grade and over a year older than me, I met her the for the first time outside her house. I had a three quarters in my pocket, so I flagged the truck down and it stopped right in front of the old house.
The girl ran inside the house and then came back out with a dollar bill. Just as I was grabbing my cone, the bottom of it hit the window-sill thing of the ice cream truck and the scoop rolled right off. The girl laughed hysterically at my misfortune, and I laughed as well, but only because I didn’t know what else to do. The ice cream man offered to give me another scoop if I gave him back my cone, so I did, and he put another scoop of strawberry ice cream on top. It was smaller one this time though.
I learned that the girl’s name was Sarah and that she came from Knott, a town over the hills and closer to the city. We used to go there right before Christmas in my dad’s car to go look at the house decorations. She asked me if I also went to her school, about how she had a mean science teacher, and then she mentioned her creepy house. And man, were we wrong about the house because it turned out to have more stories than me and my friends thought.
I used to wait for the ice cream truck every day to see if Sarah would come out too, and I started to have short conversations with her out by the corner of her house about 2 times per week. Out of the many things Sarah mentioned, this girl who was pretty much a stranger to me at the time outside of her house and talking at a million words per minute, she said that she and her mom actually slept in the same room because of the noises around the house at night.
They would hear footsteps coming down the stairs, with a few steps down, then stop, then up again, then stop. She also said that strange lights would shine under their bedroom door at night, in different colors sometimes, but mostly orange and red.
I didn’t know if I should believe her or not, but then she mentioned the death song and the radio. She said that she heard a woman sing, in a calming voice, the words “and I will haaang you from your feet, and –” then the voice would change and get deeper and say… “LET YOU GO”. I asked her where it came from and she said that the living room radio wasn’t actually connected, but that it was the only logical explanation her mom could come up with.
My ice cream was dripping down my hand at one point, but I was hypnotized by her stories. This girl had been at the house for less than a month and had already experienced a bunch of stuff. My mind was so intrigued that I even forgot that I was supposed to be shy around girls.
I remember passing by her house very slowly every day after that, sometimes going around the block just to see if Sarah would come out, and sometimes she would and we would talk for a little bit about random things, but the topic always ended up being about the house. Eventually I asked her why they didn’t just move out and she basically said that they were going to, but that her mom was still looking for a second job and that as soon as she found one, they would start looking for a new house.
I wished her mom had found a job. But wishes don’t always come true.
I’ve been thinking about my childhood and that girl recently, even though it had been many years since then. I can still see her crooked smile and red hair. I hear the way she emphasized the K sounds in her words.
Because not long after she told me about her mom’s money issues, the house was boarded up, and Sarah was gone. Her mom didn’t get a second job.
My dad explained the full story to me a few weeks ago after it came up after dinner one night. Up until then, I had heard rumors about Sarah and her family, but they were pretty bizarre. The true story is worse than any of the rumors, though.
It turns out that Sarah’s mom’s body was found at the foot of the stairs with a broken neck one morning, and Sarah moved away to live with a family member in another city. The news articles didn’t explain very much, but I understood that the county police were involved, which now that I think about it makes me realize that it was probably suspected that it had been no accident.
One of the houses across the street from our house was recently broken into. The woman who lives there came knocking on everyone’s door telling us that we are bad neighbors and that the neighborhood watch signs should actually mean something.
I actually recently Googled it and found out what the neighborhood watch thing actually means. It means that everyone in the neighborhood is obligated to report any suspicious activity.
I honestly didn’t see anything happening, and I am sure someone would have said something if they had seen it.
My dad is a little paranoid when it comes to safety and takes it very seriously. I once told him that I heard someone knocking on the window behind the house and he grabbed a bat from I don’t know where and went straight to the backyard. He said he hadn’t seen anything but still installed window locking devices on my window along with a motion detector that would begin beeping as soon as it sensed anything moving it.
But first, I have to tell you a bit about when I was a kid.
Back when I was six or seven years old, I used to stand by my window in the backyard to see the cats that would come by and run around frantically. It was a boring hobby, but they looked really funny going around in circles and jumping. Years later, I found that they were actually hunting mice, but that’s besides the point.
It was fun until the one time that the figure of a short woman with a big dark jacket showed up from the area behind our shed where I kept my bike. She creeped up slowly to the middle of the yard, her head hunched over. She shooed the cats away angrily and laid down on the ground. Then, she crawled back to the corner of the yard. I remember standing there, frozen with my eyes fixed on her. She crawled like a crooked baby with one of her legs stretched out as she clawed her way back to the shadows.
I don’t have my drawings from back then to confirm this, but my mom always reminds me of the time I started drawing an old woman with the darkest pencils and crayons I had. I used to draw many things as a kid, since I lived far from my friends from school and had lots of time because I always finished my homework in the detention room. I wasn’t a bad kid, but the school let my dad come pick me up after work an hour after school since he refused to let me walk home or take the bus by myself, so they doubled the detention room as a sort of waiting area for me.
Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t remember every detail about the woman from the shadows, but the situation with the motion detectors is bringing back all of these memories little by little.
Recently, after the break in at the neighbor’s house, my dad installed some exterior cameras and motion sensor lights. He’s very proud of the setup and he will talk your ear off about it if you ask him, but to summarize his usual talking points the motion sensors will turn on a set of lights if you’re within ten feet of any wall of the house, while the cameras begin rolling in night-vision as soon as they detect any movement in their line of sight. You can tell if there’s a cat or something moving nearby based on which lights turn on, which makes it annoying to sleep through, and I was slowly getting used to them until about a week ago.
At around 2 or 3 in the morning I faintly remember the usual light outside my window turning on, but out of nowhere, things got a whole lot brighter and then I heard the sound of glass breaking and everything went dark.
I screamed, but my dad was probably already on his way to my room with a crowbar in his hand and a flashlight in the other because he came in about 2 seconds later.
I ran toward the door frame behind my dad as he aimed outside toward the yard with his flashlight, but could only see his silhouette. I kept searching for the light switch in the dark until the lights finally turned on and saw my dad standing by my window with his flashlight aimed right at the corner of the yard.
I slept in my parent’s room that night, and my dad hasn’t told me what he saw.
You see, my dad had installed flood lights that would turn on automatically if they detected movement right outside our doors and windows, so that’s what the bright lights were. Someone had been right by my window that night and I could tell my dad was very concerned.
He taught me a new way to close and secure my windows and he also moved my bed to a different corner of my room.
It took me a long time to catch sleep that night, I first blamed the new position of my bed, but I soon started remembering the woman from the shadows from my childhood.
I remembered her hand stretched out toward me as she dangled a mouse.
I then remembered her long teeth and her broken fingers as she waved at me from the yard.
I remembered now the way I would flip through my notebook to show her my drawings from my window.
I also remember how angry she got when we put a wading pool in the yard one summer. She also got upset when we first got our dog until he started refusing to go the backyard.
Just as the memories of her angry face and the way she would made me cry was creeping back to my head, I heard a tapping on my window.
There she was. She held a shovel with both hands. I could see her long dark hair and yellow teeth.
Then, a beep. The flood lights turned on.
She attacked the lamp with her shovel at a superhuman speed until the glass broke. My dad came rushing to my room once again.
“Those lights keep exploding, don’t they?” he asked, his eyes locking with mine.
“I think so,” I answered.
I could tell by his look that he knew that I knew the truth. I’m sure he had reviewed the cameras by then.
There was a piano in the living room of this house I used to live in. I rented a small bedroom in the basement of a house in a town called Broomfield, and honestly, this was the first time I had actually been in a basement. I’ve lived in California all of my life and this was the first time out of the state, but I only had to be in this town for three months because of an internship I had gotten.
The family that lived in this house was strange, they never really seemed to talk to each other, though one time the mom asked me to take her son to a wrestling event. Another time, they tricked me into going to a “party” by a lake that turned out to be a church event.
They seemed normal overall, but they had a habit of being too quiet. No television, no radio, no talking. I really only heard them when they got home around 9pm every week night, and that was because the wooden floors creaked. I could hear the son crinkling bags of fast food, and the sound of the shower being turned on upstairs, and sometimes the microwave.
One afternoon, I had gotten home early from my internship because I was not feeling well and got to the house in the middle of the day. There was nothing particularly interesting about the city, and I was alone most of the time. I just remember searching for bookstores and coffee shops to hang out in, but that got old pretty fast.
I had picked up some Subway on my way to the house. I went to the kitchen to grab a bottle of water from the fridge, but noticed that the refrigerator light didn’t turn on. The water was still cold, though.
I went downstairs, and sure enough, the basement light didn’t turn on. Fortunately, my room had a window at the top that faced a small garden area above me. It was weird for me thinking that I was basically in a hole in the ground. I figured that if I really needed to charge my phone, I could just go to the car and charge it there. I didn’t need much else. I ate my sandwich and I promptly fell asleep. I woke up to the sound of footsteps upstairs followed by an odd melody on the piano.
This would have been completely normal had it not been one in the morning. But the melody stopped, and I went back to sleep.
In the morning, I went to the kitchen to make my coffee, but the coffeemaker wouldn’t work, and without power, the microwave would not work either.
That was when the house started giving me a strange feeling, and in retrospect, many things were pointing that something was off.
That evening, I got back to the house and the power wasn’t working. I tried calling the lady’s phone, but it kept going to voicemail. I had been in that place for about three weeks already, and I didn’t know what to do. I was 19 at the time, and so I called my parents to ask them what I should be doing. My dad said he was going to call the lady (they had a friend in common), and that he would get back to me.
He called back to tell me that the phone wasn’t working, and that I should probably begin searching for another place to move to, since being without hot water or electricity was probably not a very safe place to live in.
I wish I had known that the electricity not working would be the least of my problems.
That night, I kept thinking about what I could do, since I didn’t know anybody in the area and the thought of moving again really stressed me out, but eventually I started dozing off when suddenly the footsteps woke me up again.
Then came the same melody on the piano.
I figured it would be my chance to go upstairs and ask to see what I should do about the whole situation, so I put on my shoes and started to head upstairs. But as the living room came into view, I noticed that there was nobody sitting at the piano.
Then, it stopped.
This was the first time anything creepy like this happened to me, and I normally imagined myself walking up to investigate, but instead I ran back down steps following the light from my phone and bolted to my room, and shut the door.
I heard some laughter upstairs, and then complete silence.
The next day while washing my hands in the kitchen sink, the water started burping and then the flow of water stopped. As I was looking for a towel to dry off my hands, I noticed the moldy bread in the breadbox on the dining room table. Nobody else had been in the house besides me in the last few days.
Trying not to think too much of the situation, I went out for dinner at a Burger King and figured I would just stay out until I got tired before going back to the empty house.
Around 10pm I went back home, creaked open the door, went for the basement, and the straight to my room. I changed in the dark, I ate in the dark, and before the water went out, I showered in the dark. Now I even had to figure out how to get the toilet to flush.
Things seem obvious to me now, but back then I was just a kid, and didn’t know much of renter/landlord obligations. I listened to some music on my phone, set my alarm, and went to sleep.
At around 1am, like clockwork, I heard the steps. Then I heard the piano. But this time, I heard more footsteps.
Footsteps down the stairs.
Footsteps approaching my room.
The thing about hearing something paranormal is that you begin doubting your judgement right away. You don’t know if you imagined it, but really want to believe that you did.
I tried to stay awake under my bed sheets but I woke up again to the sound of thunder. Then the piano.
As soon as I saw the sky turning purple in the morning, I started to gather my things. I stuffed my clothes in my backpack, and realized that no matter how hard I tried to carry everything, I wouldn’t make it to the car in just one trip.
Eventually summoned up the courage to head upstairs, walk past the piano, and straight to my car. I then went straight back to the house, down to the dark basement, grabbed a box, another smaller backpack, my bottle of water. As I started to make my way upstairs, I thought I heard the piano keys, but the door was open and I decided to go for it and slammed the door behind me once as I was out for good as I clearly heard laughter from inside the house.
I moved the next day after the footsteps incident. First to a Motel 6 for two nights, and then I found another place from one of the other students that worked with me.
Thinking back on this, I still remember how creeped out I was by the whole thing. Much later, I found out that the couple was going through a divorce, which explained why I never saw the kid’s father.
It turns out that I had forgotten my passport and my social security card inside one of the drawers and the lady called me to ask me to go pick them up from their new place. That’s where I found out about some details and also that the mom and the kids had gone to live with the mom’s sister for a while. Her phone had gotten replaced and she lost my contact information.
I casually mentioned that there were some weird noises in the house, when her son peeked at us from the kitchen and asked me, almost in a panic,
“The laughing man?”
“It must have been the laughing man,” I replied.
Then he walked over to me, his lips trembling, and managed to ask, “does he play the piano?”
There’s a small section of a curvy road, that’s well-paved by the way, that takes me through the hills and to my university. I live in Oregon and the mornings are usually humid and foggy, so driving around in early hours can be especially dangerous with wet roads and low visibility. It’s about a ten minute drive, according to Google Maps, but it takes me more like 20 minutes, since I drive extra slowly through this city.
I just moved here, so I’m still figuring out the city’s quirks.
One particular morning, I was heading down the road at around 6am to head to the newly-discovered 24-Hour Fitness Gym that was nearby. The road was dark and foggy, but inside the car I had some rap music playing, trying to get pumped up for the gym, since I hadn’t been there in a while but was locked into a contract with the gym and, well, I don’t want to get into that.
Anyway, as I was approaching the curvy section of the road, surrounded by big pine trees and steep drops, I lowered down the radio volume. I’m not sure why I do that when I begin to drive slower. Just a habit, I guess. Leaning more toward the steering wheel and windshield, I turned on my high-beams, big mistake, by the way, to do so in the fog. But I must’ve triggered something in the electrical system because my radio went haywire. The volume cranked all the way up and then the stations started changing by themselves, finally stopping at some station with a loud radio host talking about politics, he mentioned President Ronald Reagan, who was way before my time, by the way, as this event happened back in 2017, but the volume became so loud that my speakers began to pop.
I came to a full stop before the car stereo finally popped loudly and all the noise stopped. The silence outside was intense. Sorry, I’m just not sure how to describe the level of silence. It was… odd, to say the least.
I started to pull forward slowly, and then I started picking up a little more speed as I made my way down the hill, but suddenly my steering wheel became heavy and the car started leaning to the right, straight toward the gravel and metal barrier. I hit the brakes and my SUV started shaking to a stop. A flat tire, I remember thinking.
I put my hazards on and made sure to roll down my window in case my car’s doors locked automatically again while I was outside, as it’s been known to happen before, and then I stepped out of the car to check my front right tire.
It wasn’t flat. I went around the back of the car to check the other tires, but they all seemed fine. But just as I was turning to the driver’s side of the car to go back in, I heard a sound coming from the trees. Now, I know there are deer crossing signs everywhere, and I understand deer attract other predatory animals, but the sound was not animal-like. It was like a higher-pitched voice, a woman, perhaps… crying.
I couldn’t see to the side of my car since my headlights were pointing forward, so I just went back to my seat and rolled up my windows and changed my gear to drive. With automatic transmission cars, you need to step on the brakes before changing gears and you go through the reverse and neutral gears before reaching “drive”. This is important.
Red rear lights turn on when you hit the brakes. White lights turn on behind you when you pass through “reverse”. That’s when I saw the figure of woman standing right behind the car. She looked young, wearing a bright blue jacket, and long dark hair tied in a pony tail to the side of her head. I’ve heard enough scary stories to know not to be dumb and get out of the car in the darkness of the morning to quote/unquote help somebody.
I set the car in drive and continued down the road. I’m telling you the story all calm, but I guarantee you that my heart was about ready to jump out of my chest when this happened.
As soon as I reached the bottom of the hill and the first stop light, I grabbed my phone and Googled the local police station number, the non-emergency number. I told them about the incident, about a woman standing in the middle of the empty road and that perhaps she needed help. They said thanks and said they might follow up with me later, so they took my name and number down. The streetlights turned green, yellow, and red a couple of times while I was on the phone. That’s how empty the town was at this time of the morning.
The police never followed up with me, but I did experience the tugging of the steering wheel a couple of times, in plain daylight. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered the cemetery right before reaching the curvy road, though. I told my friends about it but they didn’t think it was too big of a deal.
I still don’t know if what happened that night was a big coincidence, or something supernatural, but I take the long way whenever I have to drive there at night.
Have you ever experienced something too weird to tell anybody about? Like when you feel like you’ll be laughed out of the room if you tell someone? Don’t use my name, please. Here it goes.
There was another boy in my class named Diego. We were both in the 3rd grade and he was somewhat my friend. We used to play together during recess, but he always used to beat me at dodge ball and girls used to approach me to ask me about him. About who he liked.
I really didn’t like that. I remember thinking that maybe if I looked a little like him I could get Joanne to notice me, which she did. She was a girl from my class who always wore the whitest shirts and never seemed to get them dirty. She would sit with her knees close together and she smelled like green apple shampoo. Obsessed much? Right? But hey, we were kids.
One day, after school, one of my other friends told me that Joanne liked Diego. I felt my heart sink to my stomach. But that day, I started noticing some of the things I was able to do.
I got home. My sister was staying after school for gardening club or something. I had a key to the house so that I could get in while my dad got home. To be honest, I didn’t really feel anything that afternoon. I was just so sad about the situation that I had forgotten that I normally would open the door and come right back outside to the porch to wait for my dad to come home from work. I was scared of the big empty house. I had seen, or imagined, my own share of creepy stuff in there.
This time it was different, though. I remember feeling so angry that I was just numb.
When I went in, almost in a hypnotic state, and straight to the bathroom and was about to close the door when I heard something fall in the kitchen. I stepped outside, asking for my dad, but his car wasn’t outside. The thing that made the noise was an old yellow box of Cheerios that must’ve fallen from the top of the fridge, where my mom kept everything. Nobody liked Cheerios except for my grandma, but she hadn’t been over in a while.
Oh, by the way, that was creepy thing number one. I started noticing more odd things that same day and in the days that followed. Actually, in the months that followed.
One time, I came into my room and as I stepped in, the door slammed behind me.
Another time, I saw my spoon flip and fly off my bowl right in front of me while I was eating cereal. Things like that kept happening. The stove top burner igniters would begin crackling when I would walk to grab something from the fridge. Just, minor things like that.
I should’ve been more freaked out about the situation, but I think it helped to know that I was the one causing everything.
One time, my cousin came over and I scared him good. We were playing around in my room when I said, hey check this out, I’ve gotten pretty good at it, as I grabbed a crumbled cheeseburger wrapper and tossed it randomly toward the closet. The paper bounced off the closet door, to my table/desk, and rolled straight into an open McDonald’s paper bag that was on the floor next to it. My cousin’s jaw dropped as he stared at me. He was scared.
What? I can do some more things, I remember telling him. Without waiting for an answer, I said, I can make the TV turn off, watch –but before I could even finish saying that, the TV changed channels by itself and into channel 3, the one that was static only. I wasn’t actually expecting anything to happen. I think I just said it just because I had gotten confident about something I wasn’t even sure about it. It freaked me out too, so I screamed and he screamed and we both ran out of the room.
Things like that would keep happening, like my alarm clock buzzing for some reason in the middle of the night, and things like me being able to predict when my dad was about to come home.
I was remembering these things about my childhood recently, and I asked my cousin about it and he claims he remembers the TV thing but not the wrapper incident. We hadn’t talked about it in a while, so recently while we were hanging out at a Starbucks, we Googled some of the things I experienced and discovered that this is actually fairly common. Young people in a state of strong emotions can make some pretty strange things happen, including moving physical objects or modifying the energy around them.
I don’t know. I’d like to find out if it has happened to anyone else.
I don’t take the train very often, so I always have to look up the maps and schedules ahead of time so that I don’t end up waiting for 45 minutes for a train to arrive.
I was visiting my parents this time. They had traveled up to visit my uncle and it was a complete surprise when they told me. I was so excited to see them that I called up the train station by my house to see how long it would take me to travel from my city to Denver. This was back before Google Maps and all that techy stuff. Around 4 hours was enough, and apparently I also needed to take a bus for first leg of the trip.
Everything went smoothly, I got off the bus and into the train. I took my seat, my tickets got checked, and I sat back looking out the window. I kept thinking that I was forgetting something, or some other weird feeling like that, but I mentally double checked everything and nothing was missing. I think I was just being paranoid.
As I grabbed my bag and stepped off the train, I saw a familiar face. I hadn’t seen my cousin in years. Someone must’ve told him I was coming, and I was genuinely happy to see him.
“Look at you, all Colorado’d out,” I said, pointing at his lumberjack-style beard and red flannel shirt. He laughed as he always did. I remember that old laugh since we were children and we played together in the yard whenever my uncle would come over for barbecues.
“How’ve you been?” I asked him, “Oh, you know, people just pass through here.”
“Yeah,” I replied, a bit confused by the seriousness of the statement while at the same time trying to pretend like I got the message. He stared at me for a few seconds before telling me to take care of myself and that he had to go. He walked toward the elevators on the platform and I went for the stairs. I thought I’d see him at the bottom floor of the platform and have to re-greet him awkwardly again, but as I was stepping down, the elevator doors opened and a young couple with a little girl stepped out. No sign of my cousin.
I took a taxi to my uncle’s house and my mom rushed to the front door to meet me. My dad came out, joking around about my beer belly, as always. We had somewhat settled in the living room, catching up with the usual stuff, though I still hadn’t seen my uncle. He had gone to the store apparently, and should be on his way back soon.
Trying to make conversation, I casually mentioned that I thought my cousin Joe had gone to the train station to pick me up. “Why do you say that?” they asked me, almost in unison.
“Well I saw him there, but he seemed in a hurry.”
They were both looking at me when my uncle opened the front door and greeted me with a half-smile and a hug. “How ya doin’?”
“Tell your uncle what you just told us,” mom ordered, in an almost shaky tone.
“Nothing, was just telling them that I saw Joe on the train station platform. Is he coming over?”
“Really now? What was he wearing?” he asked me.
“A red flannel shirt and jeans, I think. Looked like he was going to work. Is everything alright?” I asked.
“Good ole Joe,” he said as he walked toward the kitchen with a six-pack of beer and a big crinkling red bag of Doritos.
My mom and dad both turned to me, and that’s when I heard my mom say, “Oh, dear. I, uh, well, I’m not really sure how to say it,”
“Son, Joe died in a car accident last week,” Dad interrupted. “He drove his car off the road in the middle of the night and was found the next morning. Those clothes you mentioned are just how the police described him on the report, the body of a deceased person wearing a red flannel shirt.”
I was in disbelief. I had so many things I wanted to say, or apologize, or I don’t know, but we ended up just sitting there. In silence.
I like to think about the event as my cousin just trying to say goodbye to me. I think I understand his message a little better now, though.
People really do just pass through here.
My mom sent me a doll as a joke. She knows I’m terrified of those realistic porcelain faces and gets a good laugh out of it.
I live in Ohio, but my parents live in New York, so my mom had to send me the doll through Fedex. The doll had red hair, pale skin, and a crack on the left cheek. My mom, as usual, added a note, well two notes this time, inside the box:
“Hey honey, I heard you needed some company. Just kidding. Don’t be mad.” and another note that said “There you are.”
Typical. It did get a laugh out of me though.
Oh, there’s a thing you have to know about my mom: she’s obsessed with antique shops. When I was little, we used to go and I used to flip through the many old albums that were there and it was until much later that I realized they probably came from dead families. Over the years, I collected a photo of a young girl on a swing, being pushed by her father, many black and white portraits, and other things like that. I didn’t find them creepy back then, I think I just felt happy knowing my mom let me buy something. The old people behind the counters would give me my change and put my photos in a paper bag while my mom waited in line behind me.
I felt all grown up. I wanted to grow up. Joke was on me. This is not what I expected it to be like. I live with other roommates from college, and for the first time ever I had to purchase my own house cleaning supplies and groceries.
One of my roommates is really cool, but the other one never comes out of her room. We find her a little odd. She’s an international student from somewhere in Europe and has the coolest accent, but we don’t get to talk to her much. We hear her walking around in the middle of the night though, she doesn’t understand that here, we don’t slam the cabinets shut while the rest of us are sleeping, but she got angry with us when we brought it up so I glued a dish sponge to the corner of the cabinet door but I didn’t think it through because it doesn’t close properly now. But it doesn’t make noise at least.
I left the box by the door and next to the couch in my living room, grabbed my bag and left for class, but when I got back, the box was on the dining room table, opened, and as I got near it..
“I love. Can I have?”
My roommate said from the couch, holding the doll with both hands, making it stand on her lap. She never turned to look at me, she seemed too distracted with the doll. I thought it was weird, but I said:
“You can keep it in your room if you want, but it’s my mom’s, so she might want it back eventually.”
“Yes…” she said, seeming as if she was going to say something else, but she never finished and just sat there. I could swear I heard her humming a song, but I can’t be certain.
Things got creepy since that day, and all my friends that I tell this story to tell me to leave the house. There’s lots of things that have happened, but I’ll mention only a few.
I got up to go to the bathroom around 3am one night after holding it in for far too long, so I opened my door, and as soon as I felt the rush of cold air, I bee-lined to the bathroom and sat on the cold toilet seat. As I was peeing, I noticed a small ball of yarn on the bathroom sink, stained with some type of black ink. I was reaching out to it when I heard pounding (and I mean HEAVY pounding) on the bathroom door. It wasn’t locked, but whoever was outside wasn’t aware of it. I yelled out “just a minute!” assuming that one of my two roommates was about to pee herself and the pounding stopped. I flushed and reached to the door to open it when the weird roommate pushed me out of the way and grabbed the yarn from the sink. I washed my hands next to the ink that was left behind on the sink. I went back to bed and didn’t give it much thought.
About two days later, I heard some noises next to my bed. Someone was whispering words in a language I hadn’t heard before. I sat up and reached for my lamp when my door swung open and shut, but I could barely see a silhouette leaving my room. I turned on the light, and my jacket that was hanging on a hook behind my door was moving from side to side. Yep, someone had just been in my room. I got up and opened my door just in time to see Helenke’s door, the roommate that asked me for the doll, close slowly in order to not make any noise. I walked up to her door and knocked, but she didn’t respond. I knocked again and again. Suddenly I heard another door open, it was Stacy’s door.
I explained to her what happened, and she said that yeah, and signaled me to come into her room across the hall. She told me that I have to watch out for her because apparently Stacy’s cell phone had gone missing the week before but was able to trace it back to here with the GPS locator app. When the alarm went off to locate it, it had been in Helenke’s room. Stacy said that Helenke had accidentally grabbed it thinking it was hers and apologized, which sort of checked out because Helenke eventually found her own cell phone in her kitchen cabinet, the one with the sponge I glued.
Odd things kept happening on occasion, some involving the sounds of pacing back and forth in the middle of the night, laughter and random times, and a sheer coldness to the air in the apartment. Sometimes I would catch Helenke sitting on the couch smiling at the wall very early in the morning and I would have to keep throwing out stinky bananas and other stuff that belonged to her because she would let them spoil in the fridge.
I knew Helenke’s family probably had money because I knew that she didn’t work, and supposedly did all of her classes online, so she hardly went anywhere. But now I don’t know what to think.
About two months ago, I saw a post from Stacy on Twitter. It was a photo of a porcelain doll with dark hair, and I tweeted back “Creepy.” to which she replied “I know, right?” and almost immediately, she text me with:
“I found it on my phone, I have no idea where it came from.”
Call it paranoia or fast reasoning, but I put the pieces together crazy fast. I looked back at the photo and saw the crack on the doll’s face. That was the doll my mom had sent me, but with dyed hair. Helenke had probably used Stacy’s phone to take the photo before Stacy found her phone again and didn’t delete it.
I confronted Helenke about it, and she got visibly upset at me. She said that the doll doesn’t sleep in her room anymore, and she said it with exactly those words. I didn’t know what to tell her, but I yelled at her calling her a creep and a witch and I don’t know what else I said.
Helenke hasn’t talked to me since then, but she talked to Stacy sometimes. Well, before Stacy left.
Stacy moved in with her boyfriend and promised to help us find another roommate to split the bills with but so far its been three weeks and nothing. Also, she said she caught Helenke sitting on the floor of the living room smiling at the wall and got freaked out by the whole thing.
Not knowing what to do about my rent situation, I called my mom and she said she could help me out, but that I should try to sort out the issues with my roommate because, in her words, she was legitimately concerned about my health. I had grown a little distant, that’s true. I also stopped feeling hungry.
I was staring at the ceiling from my bed, around 2am, with episodes of New Girl playing on Netflix on my phone, when I heard a cabinet slam shut. Then some dishes got moved around. Then soft laughter followed by some humming, and then more slamming of the cabinet doors. I got up ready to let her have it, but as soon as my door creaked open, Helenke ran toward her room and I caught a glimpse of her, and a small dark figure walking behind her.
She closed her door.
I went to the kitchen to turn off the lights when I noticed the sponge I glued to the cabinet door had fallen off and was on the side of the kitchen sink, but the cabinet door was left open. I walked up to it and found a doll-sized chair, a miniature lamp, and one of my mom’s notes. On the shelf above, there was an old book, an album, and a stack of photos.
I grabbed the album and flipped through it only to find my black and white photo of a young girl on a swing, being pushed by a man. Every page after that was empty. Helenke must have taken it from my room. The stack of photos were mine also.
I ran to Helenke’s room and twisted the doorknob, which was unlocked, and I flicked on her light switch but the light didn’t turn on. I didn’t care. I went off on her. You’re crazy! Who are you? What makes you think this is okay?
I yelled at her while she tried to speak over me but I wouldn’t let her. I must have told her every single thought I’ve had about her ever since she moved in. She started crying and ran to my room and locked herself inside. I pounded on the door but all I heard was her annoying voice yelling back in some other language. I must have spent ten minutes knocking as hard as I could.
There were knocks at the front door. I looked through the peephole only to see a pair of police officers waiting for me to open. I did, they asked what the commotion was, and I let them in. I was up until 6am that night with the police until Helenke finally opened the door and started answering the police officer’s questions. For once, she seemed normal.
The police didn’t find anything weird about the cabinet or the fact that she had been stealing things from my room.
I woke up around 3pm that afternoon to the sound of the front door slamming. I had been hearing sounds of things being moved around all morning but I was just so tired that I would fall back asleep again right away. I walked over to the living room to see Helenke’s door about halfway open. It was a Thursday and I had already missed my classes so I decided to go out to buy something to eat and come right back, but I ended up visiting Stacy at her new place to talk about the whole thing, so I got back to my apartment pretty late.
I didn’t want to see Helenke so I didn’t even bother to turn on the lights and just went straight to my room, locked the door as always, and changed into my pajamas.
Then, like clockwork, I heard the cabinet door slam again.
I got up, opened my door, and went straight to the kitchen but then I heard Helenke’s door slam. She must’ve been doing this only to bother me. She didn’t even cook or anything at night, she just wanted to make noise just to get on my nerves.
I opened her door and flicked on the light switch. The ceiling light turned on.
Helenke’s room was empty. She had moved out and taken everything.
Well, not everything. She left my doll. Her hair was dark now.
It was sitting on the corner of the room on top of a piece of paper. A note.
I slowly walked over to it. It said:
“There you are.”
I’m trying to be as respectful as possible in sharing this story with you, but I need to tell the world about it or I will go insane. For those of you who don’t know, Airbnb is a service that allows homeowners to rent out their houses for a few nights or for longer stays to visitors, essentially turning your place into a hotel. I’ve stayed at a few of them, and though some were better than others, none come close to what I experienced one late night in the desert region of the United States.
My plane arrived late, as expected, and there was some strike going on with Uber and the prices for a ride to my Airbnb were through the roof, but I had no choice but to pay $80 for a 15 minute ride to the address that the host had sent me while my phone was still on airplane mode. 5667 was the code to get into the gate, he said. There were very detailed instructions on how to to get into the house –almost too detailed. Park downhill from the house, don’t disturb the neighbors. Enter the keycode exactly as listed followed by the # key. Follow the path of red bricks toward the back of the house. Key will be on the door and ready for you. Do not disturb the neighbors. Yes, he said it twice. This was a self-service type of stay, I guess nobody would be there to greet me and let me in. That’s fine, I thought. I actually preferred not having to make small talk with anybody and going straight to sleep.
The wind was blowing but the night sky was clear. I had never seen so many stars in my life. The Uber left before I entered the key code into the box, which was frustrating because I couldn’t seem to make the door click open and there was nobody in sight outside. Made sense. Who would be out at 1am?
Just as I was about to call the owner of the house, the door clicked open after I pressed the # key. Thank goodness.
The bricks wobbled as I followed the path to the back of the house, but when I finally got to the glass door, I saw the key. It had a keychain in the shape of a license plate, an Arizona one. I turned the key, opened the door, and found a normal room with a large bed, and two doors, one to the closet and one to the bathroom.
I opened the door to the bathroom and lifted the toilet seat only to find bloodied up toilet paper in the bowl. The person who cleaned must have forgotten to flush. I didn’t even want to open the lid of the trash can, but I couldn’t help myself and pushed the button with my foot to get the lid to pop open, but it had a clean white bag, to my relief. These things happen sometimes, and I’m not known to leave complaints on the review sections of anything, so I flushed the toilet, took care of my business, and went to the sink to wash my hands. When I looked up at the mirror, I saw crusty brown stains on the edges of the frame. I saw them on the corners of the faucet and the knobs. Dried blood.
The place smelled nice though, like fabric softener.
I opened the door to the bathroom, grabbed my backpack from the floor and propped it onto the foldable table that I guess was supposed to be my desk for the weekend. I grabbed my shorts I would be sleeping in, took off my shoes, and changed to get ready for bed. I was so tired that I forgot to brush my teeth.
At 5am, my alarm went off, as always, and I sat up on the bed in silence. It was still dark outside, but I had to go to my meeting with a potential buyer. Mines are a dying business, but generally older people like to purchase them and contract workers to dig for residual metals, and where’s there’s a buyer, there’s a sales agent. And that’s me. I turned on the light to the bathroom, opened the faucet to the shower only to see brown water choke its way out and then get replaced by steaming hot, clean-looking water. Something was off about this place from the start, and I should’ve caught the signs sooner.
I was daydreaming in the shower when I heard a scream from the wall next door. Now, the house was obviously shared because my room had been sectioned off to serve as the Airbnb part of the house, so I had no idea of who was next door, but the scream was nothing normal so I grabbed my towel and ran outside to my room and stood there, dripping, waiting for something else to happen. But nothing happened. The morning was still, no crickets, no dogs, no roosters. Just dead silence. I went back to the bathroom and dried off, changed, shaved while making sure I didn’t touch too much of the sink, and got my phone to wait for another Uber.
Now, the houses weren’t directly next to each other in this area, it was a weird combination of a suburban neighborhood mixed with rural fields in between, and all of the houses looked old and had big yards all around them. I was walking toward the road just as the sun was rising when I heard a voice, from an older man, talking and laughing all by himself as he sat on an old white plastic lawn chair by his porch.
Good morning, I said.
Then he got up, grumbling, turned his back to me, and walked into his house. He stood there for a while, but then he slammed the door so hard that I heard his windows rattle. I didn’t think much of it, but was definitely weirded out. The notification came through my phone that the Uber driver was two minutes away, but I saw the headlights in front of me, so I waved him down, I got in, said hello, and went to the buyer’s office in the downtown area.
It was getting dark when I got back, I took an actual taxi this time. 5667 #. The door clicked open, I followed the wobbly bricks, when I heard the door, my door, slide shut. I walked faster to my door, and I could see the curtains of the window moving around. The cleaning service, maybe? I felt uneasy but I opened the door, stepped in and looked around. Nothing seemed out of place… except for the closet door. It was right on the edge of closing shut or swinging open. As I stepped toward it, the vibrations of my footsteps on the wood floors must have triggered the door to open because the knob clicked and moved two centimeters open.
But I wasn’t prepared for what I was about to see. I swung the door open and tried to look inside. I stretched my arm out to grab the chain to the light bulb, but instead of a dangling chain or string, I felt a leather strap. A belt. I moved it around and heard the soft clinking of metal –the chain. I tugged on it and the light flickered on.
On the wooden bar where you normally would put clothes hangers, there was a belt in the shape of a… noose. It had been cut at the loop. A clump of long dark hair caught at the knot. Someone had been hung here. Then the belt was cut to release.. her.
I felt the urge to vomit so I ran to the bathroom, only to see bloody toilet paper in the toilet again. Frantically, I grabbed my backpack, stuffed by clothes back in, my towel, my charger, and looked around to see if I had forgotten anything when the lights went off.
I heard a scream. And then I screamed.
I slid the door open, and ran toward the gate. I grabbed my phone and requested an Uber. 8 minutes away. I walked toward the road again when I heard laughter once again. It was the same neighbor, but now the laughter also came from the house across the street. The neighbors looked at me and laughed. Their wrinkled faces and yellow teeth could still be seen thanks to to the orange street lights. All they did was laugh.
I walked faster, but their laughs grew louder. I got the alert. The Uber was nearby. I got in and the woman in the driver’s seat noticed the laughing and my panicked face. What’s going on here? She asked, with a smile.
I don’t know. Please, just drive. Her facial expression changed. We didn’t say a word. And I never found out about the place. I didn’t leave a review. I didn’t even look up the address on Google for news about that area.
All I know is that I am never staying in other people’s houses again.
I don’t like looking outside. My room when I was growing up had those irritating horizontal white blinds on my windows. You know the type, the ones that come up easily but take some special maneuvering to come back down. My room faced the west side of the house, so I got to see the sunsets. The beautiful ones, as well as the sinister ones that cast long shadows all over the tree-covered area of the empty lot next door.
It was occupied at one point, or so the kids at my school had told me. But the trees were so dense and the grass was so overgrown, that you couldn’t see anything inside. Every once in a while, though, I could see a dim light from inside of the mini forest turn on and off. The area itself had a short fence all around it, but as far as I could see from my window, there weren’t any gates or ways to get in aside from jumping over the cheap metal fencing.
One evening, while I was getting ready for bed, a small candle, a flickering light type of thing caught my attention just as I turned off the lights of my room. I tugged on the string to lift up my blinds, but the string wouldn’t work, so I stuck my finger in between the blinds and pried open a small gap between them to have a look. Yes, there they were. Two flickering orange lights in the darkness. I will always remember that night, I remember how cold it was, and exactly what I was wearing. That’s when everything started.
I woke up around 2am to the sound of tapping at my window. There were no branches or anything, like in the movies. My room was on the second floor and there was no balcony and no roof area by the window. If you were to drop something, it would fall straight down to the dirt next to the living room window and miss the area where my dad kept the trash cans. I tried ignoring the sound and going back to sleep, but I heard it again a little later. The green numbers of the radio alarm clock said 3:20am, with the two flashing dots between the number 3 and the twenty. I had fallen asleep to the tapping.. or the tapping had come back. I turned on my lamp only to notice that there was a space between two blinds, like someone was holding them open to look outside. Perhaps I had left them like that when I looked out toward the lights, but then I noticed something. The gap between the blinds was slowly closing, and then they became fully closed. I don’t know if I was still half asleep and had imagined the whole thing, but I tried to forget about it.
I woke up at 5:10am once again, the tapping had come back. I grabbed my blankets and pulled them over my head, but the tapping grew louder. Frustrated, I kicked my blankets away, ready to turn on my light again when suddenly the tapping stopped. Something was outside. Since the window was right across from my bed, I had a clear view of the two dimly lit lights between dried trees next door, even through the little gaps between my blinds. I’m not sure how I managed to walk over the window, but with every creaking step I thought twice about what I was about to do. It was growing colder as I got closer, and when I was finally by the window, I put my finger between two of the blinds to have a closer look, when I felt a cold hand grab my finger, and then another ice cold hand grab my wrist. I tried to yell, I tried to scream as loud as I could, but no sound would come out. I punched the blinds with my other hand and managed to see a broad smile with many teeth, a pair of dark eyes and a pale face.
The thing whispered in many voices, but to this day I don’t know how to describe it.
And just like that, it let me go and I fell straight to my knees trying to catch my breath. I stood back up to run to my door. I had knocked down some of the blinds and I had a clear view to the outside. I didn’t want to look, but as I backed away toward the door, I saw the creature, the thing, a pale.. abnormally tall creature, moving toward the pair of lights from the lot next door.
I never told my family about it, and even though I don’t live in the same place, I still hear tapping at my windows every once in a while. I use curtains now. I make sure to shut my windows at night.
You never know what may be looking in through the darkness outside your window.