I used to bury things in my yard.
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Don’t wake up grandma, they told me. Just don’t walk around at night.
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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 one-sided friendship ended in regret …and death.
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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.