01 Feb This is not a Suicide Note
Three months ago, I learned of my Uncle’s passing. We weren’t particularly close but he left me one of his houses in the will. I was touched but just wanted to sell it off. I am a fairly new father of twin girls and didn’t need another thing to manage right now.
To speed up the process, I decided to travel across the country to live in the house until a sale was assured. My job just requires a laptop and phone so I was approved to work remotely for the time being. Unfortunately, my wife had to stay at her job so I had to come alone.
At first, I treated it as a mini-vacation. I had hoped it would only last a week but the process was more involved than I thought. I had a realtor taking care of most things but, after a month, I’m still here.
I noticed things going wrong right away. Stuff was never where I last placed it. I’d see shadows out of the corner of my eye. I’ve lose track of time constantly.
I thought it was caused by stress. Loneliness. Except for the few times the Realtor came by with prospective buyers, the house was the quietest place I had ever been in.
Before I completely lost my mind, the neighbor came by with a dog. She was an elderly woman who explained that she had been dog-sitting while my Uncle was in the hospital. Now that I was here, she thought I should take Buster, the golden retriever.
I thought the neighbor might have been “forgetful” because she seemed to think my Uncle had just passed last week. Either way, I fell in love with Buster and his presence was exactly what I needed. I even thought it would be a tremendous present to bring home to my girls. I just hoped my wife would feel the same way.
However, even the dog could tell something was wrong with the house. Buster accepted his new living arrangements pretty quickly but would never willingly go upstairs. This was alright with me at the time. I thought it would make it easier to keep track of him.
Then, Buster disappeared.
Literally, one second he was standing right behind me as I was opening the treat jar to give him a snack. My eyes left him for just a moment to put the jar back and then he was gone.
I ran through the whole house calling his name. The kitchen was connected to the living room and on the other end of that was the master bedroom and study. The other end of the kitchen led to a dining room which was connected to the entrance hall that also led into the living room and stairs to the second floor.
After walking upstairs, you had a choice of right or left along a balcony that overlooked the living room on one side and entrance on the other. Going left led immediately to a guest room and game room.
Going right led to two more guest rooms and a bathroom at the end of the hall. I looked in every room and had to accept that somehow the dog made it outside, even though there was no doggy door and every door and window had been closed and locked.
So I searched the surrounding neighborhood for another hour before giving up. I was thinking about making flyers when I opened the front door and heard Buster scrambling towards me from the kitchen.
I was ecstatic of course but I just couldn’t wrap my head around how I could have missed him. I let Buster sleep in the bed with me that night. In hindsight, it was a huge mistake but it made me feel better at the time.
Things picked up at work though and I soon forgot about all the strangeness surrounding this house. Clients called me constantly but we were getting a lot done and I landed multiple large contracts in a row. I was working around the clock but I knew I’d be due a promotion once I returned to the home office.
Several times I’d get lost in a phone call or spreadsheet and suddenly find that it was nighttime. I’d be so absorbed with work that I would block out Buster whining for food or to go outside. I started to set alarms to keep track but I had too many important clients to slow down.
I was on top of the world but my health was starting to suffer. I’d forget to eat and even sleep sometimes. There was always something else to do or someone to talk to. I even got better at taking care of Buster, better than I was taking care of myself at least.
Then my good mood ended with a bang. Literally. Buster was whining behind me as I finished another spreadsheet. Then we both heard a door slam upstairs.
For the first time since I brought him inside, Buster ran upstairs by himself. I almost called the cops but I felt silly with the phone in my hand. I started to doubt I had heard anything at all.
And if there were an intruder, surely Buster would have been making more noise. So I mustered all the courage I could manage and crept upstairs with frying pan as my weapon.
It was dark upstairs but enough moonlight was coming in from the downstairs windows for me to make out Buster standing in front of the bathroom. I had purposely closed every door when I last came through here looking for the lost dog but this door was now wide open.
I flipped on the hallway light but nothing happened. With no better ideas, I raised my frying pan high and walked slowly to the bathroom. There was no window in here so it was pure darkness inside.
I was terrified.
Bizarrely, Buster just looked frozen. His tail stood straight up and he just stood there pointed towards the door. I tried to take it as a good sign that he still wasn’t barking. That’s what finally got me through the threshold and into the bathroom.
The whole time my eyes had been getting used to the darkness and the bathroom was too small for there to have been anyone there without me noticing. I started to relax when I took a step forward into something sticky.
I suddenly realized that I had my cell phone in my pocket. I pulled it out and turned it on to cast some light on the floor. I immediately dropped it at the sight of the bright red liquid that surrounded my feet.
I fled the upstairs and this triggered Buster to follow. This time I had no trouble calling the police. Thankfully, there was already a patrol car nearby so two officers arrived within a couple of minutes.
Their powerful flashlights cut through the darkness like knives but they soon found nothing was wrong with the upstairs lights. Something did appear to be wrong with my pipes though as they called out from above that the puddle was just rusty water.
Because of their insistence, I climbed up the stairs again and clearly saw a muddy brown puddle in the bathroom. The banging must have been from a pipe breaking. Both cops had a laugh at my expense but were otherwise understanding.
They even gave me a number of good plumber though my cell phone was ruined after I dropped, and left, it in the puddle. I would have to use the one landline in the kitchen from now on.
I let them out and promised to call the plumber first thing in the morning. Yet, as exhausted as I was, I couldn’t go to sleep over that excitement so I stayed up to draft some more important documents for my company.
Before I knew it, Buster had made another mess in the living room. I was dead tired and said somethings to Buster that maybe I shouldn’t have and I did some things to him that I know I really shouldn’t have.
I decided to do something about the stress I had been under and I spoke to my supervisor that same morning. To my surprise, they were happy to let me have the week off as a sort of mental vacation. Just like that, all my outstanding work was taken away.
With nothing else to do, I tried to focus on Buster. I played games with him and fed him a bunch of treats to make up for my earlier neglect.
Then I found the first message.
I didn’t notice it for some time since I had been avoiding the second floor. But I realized that I hadn’t actually called the plumber. Before doing so, I went upstairs to see if things had gotten any worse.
Instead, I immediately saw a message written in red on the hallway wall. It read, “Losing your mind?”
For a second, I kinda did. I was scared to death at the thought that someone had to have sneaked into my house while I was there. Probably when I was sleeping.
I won’t bear repeating everything I said or did right after, let’s just say I hadn’t become any braver since the banging. Eventually, I unlocked my bedroom door and made my way to the kitchen with Buster leading the way.
I called the police again. Those same two officers were able to show up and then, slowly, we cleared every inch of the house. Yet, we found no one. Everything was locked. No sign of forced entry.
The police actually took me seriously, something that bewildered me at the time, and admitted that this isn’t the first house in this neighborhood to experience this. There had been a series of break-ins where nothing was stolen but the police officers still offered to have a car sit outside for the night.
Even though I took them up on this, I soon realized that I’d never get to sleep tonight in this house. So I called my only friend in town, and really in the whole state, an old college roommate who coincidentally lived 30 minutes away.
He offered to pick me and Buster up in a few hours so I busied myself with packing up my suitcase. I didn’t know how long I would need so I pretty much packed everything I had brought with me to the house in the first place.
I left my room to pick up some doggy toys when my friend called to say he was waiting outside. I decided to hang up the phone and meet him immediately. I needed the human company and he could help me move my stuff.
But the driveway was empty. There was no friend, no car. I called him back immediately and he insisted he was outside. I listened to him get out of his car and walk up to the front door. He knocked and I could hear the door open and an elderly woman greet him.
My friend asked for my name and mentioned my Uncle. The woman said she had never heard of either of us. After thanking her, my friend left and asked me if I had gotten all that. I told him I must have given him the wrong address. He rattled off the correct one and confirmed he was there.
After asking him to wait and I left the house again. I walked out to the street and looked back at the numbers written on the curb and on the mailbox. Only there weren’t any numbers. Just a message, “Losing your mind?” on the curb. Written in red.
The temptation to leave right away was great. I could just start walking and never stop. But I had to get my stuff and, more importantly, Buster so I entered the house one last time. When I came back to the room, my suitcase was empty. Everything I had just spent the last hour packing up was back in its’ proper place.
Despite how impossible this was, I focused on only one goal. We needed to leave. I put a leash on Buster and was shocked to see how haggard he was. I resolved to make it up to him when this was all over.
I tried to leave out the front door like nothing was wrong but I couldn’t open it. The knob turned freely but the deadbolt wouldn’t slide back. I was really scared now but Buster’s presence helped. I knelt down to give him a hug and he gave me an idea while licking my face.
Whatever was happening, it sure wasn’t the result of a maniac hiding in my house. Still, I didn’t know what forces were actually opposing me so I walked to the backyard and said loudly, “Well, Buster, time for a little walk!”
The glass door slid open easily.
Buster bounded out happily. I guess it had been a long time since I let him outside. I followed more tentatively and, for the first time, examined the backyard closely. There was a iron fence surrounding the yard with another space between the bars that Buster could slip through.
And then I saw it. A tree that grew too close to the fence and had several branches extending through and above it. I assumed the gate would be supernaturally locked too so this was my exit.
Buster didn’t need any prodding. He waited patiently for me on the other side as I painfully pulled myself up and over the fence. I was suddenly aware of how weak and tired my recent lifestyle had made me.
When I was in the process of climbing down the tree on the other side, Buster growled once and then took off like a shot, towards a nearby hill. I jumped down and gave chase.
He disappeared over the top and I scrambled to keep up on the surprisingly steep surface. Luckily, I found where someone had laid some stone bricks into the side for an easier way up.
It was still steep enough that I had to focus on placing my feet correctly to keep from sliding so I was looking down when my next reach up resulted in my hand grabbing carpet.
Confused, I looked up see the second floor landing. I looked down to see the rest of the stairs that led to the entrance hall and living room of the house. Buster was nowhere to be found.
Demoralized and dead tired, I crawled the final steps and just sat on the landing for awhile, occasionally calling for Buster. Eventually, the kitchen phone rang.
Whatever ghosts were messing with me, I realized they couldn’t stop outside forces from helping. I tumbled down the stairs in my haste and landed hard on the cold tiles below. But I was only dazed for second and soon was in the kitchen with the phone in my hand.
My wife’s warm voice filled me with hope. She was concerned that she hadn’t heard from me in awhile. I couldn’t recall the last time I had even tried.
She was trying to tell me that my work hadn’t heard from me in a week while I tried to tell her to call the police. Her words gave me pause though.
I asked, “What do you mean? I was given the week off?”
“Dear? I thought you were supposed to continue working as soon as you got there.”
“Uh, yeah but they gave me a week off because of all the stress I’ve been under. Wait a second. How long have I been out here?”
“Honey, you’ve been gone almost 9 days now.”
My stomach sunk but I didn’t hesitate to say, “Listen, you need to call the cops. Something is wrong. I think I’m having a medical emergency.”
I had just been trying to come up with an excuse to limit the amount of follow up questions but I ended up realizing that this was actually the most likely explanation.
Maybe I was just suffering from a gas leak or brain tumor. Ironically, either of those options seemed preferable than living in a haunted house.
My wife asked, “Baby, what’s wrong? Are you OK?”
I thought I saw a shadow move out of the corner of my eye as I answered, “Yes, I’m OK, but no, I need help. There’s something wrong about this house.”
“You aren’t making any sense.”
“Just listen to me, call the police and tell him my uncle’s name. Tell them to come to this house and an ambulance might be needed. Please help me.”
“Please help you? Pretty please? With a cherry on top?”
I stared at the phone in my hand as my wife’s voice continued to come out of it. It sounded like her but in a mocking tone I’ve never actually heard from her before.
She said, “Does your tummy hurt? When’s the last time you ate? I wonder what Buster tastes like.”
I slammed the phone down but whatever it was on the other side was right. My stomach was hurting. I couldn’t remember the last time I had eaten. On cue, I heard Buster whining from upstairs.
Only after I started running towards the stairs did I notice just how bruised and sore my legs were from my spill down those steps. I pushed through the pain and climbed the stairs yet again.
Buster was back in front of the bathroom, lying on his side and looking thinner than I had ever seen him. “Losing your mind?” was written all over the hallway now, including on the ceiling and floor. I no longer had any doubt the messages were written in blood, some of them were still dripping.
I walked over and picked up Buster while a banging started at my front door. I would have jumped if Buster hadn’t been weighing me down. I heard the front door open and whoever it was identified themselves as the police. I even recognized the voice as belonging to one of the officers who had visited previously. Why can’t I remember his name?
After calling out that I was upstairs, I turned with Buster and found the hallway stretched before me, many times its original length. Despite how thin he looked, Buster felt heavier than ever. I knew this was all just some sort of trick to not get me in touch with the police officer.
I thought I must have really been talking to my wife. She had to have come through with calling the police and the ghosts just distorted the end of the call. So I started my trek back to the stairs and shuffled my feet as fast as I could, yelling all the way.
But then a voice answered the police officer. A woman’s voice. My wife’s voice. I could hear her say, “I’m sorry, my husband wasn’t feeling well. He’s resting in the bedroom. Can I help you?”
I screamed as loud as I could just to get attention. But it was no use. I heard the officer say, “I’d like to check up on him, all the same.”
“Sure, sure, come in. He’s right through here.”
It was right out of a nightmare. I was sweating profusely while every step seemed to get me nowhere. I tried to speed up but the hallway just stretched further.
And then I heard a man’s bloodcurdling scream from downstairs. Suddenly the hallway snapped back and I found myself somehow right at the top of the stairs.
My momentum couldn’t be stopped. I fell down the stairs and landed hard.
On top of Buster.
He howled in pain but at least he was alive. I saw a long thick trail of blood go around the corner and under my closed bedroom door.
There was still a shadow of something under the door. I painfully crept to the kitchen and grabbed my trusty frying pan before making my way back to the bedroom door, as quietly as I could.
My eyes watched the moving shadows nervously. Whatever was waiting there had killed a man. That meant it could kill me.
But if it could have a physical impact then surely it had to be susceptible to a physical impact too.
So I raised the frying pan and slowly started to turn the handle. Before I made much progress, the door flew open on its own and something turned suddenly to me.
I swung my frying pan down. The cop stood before me, a smile frozen on his face. We both looked down at the knife plunged into his chest. My hand was still wrapped around the handle.
He fell to the side and I fell backwards to sit heavily on the now clean floor. I was positive I had picked up the frying pan. I could remember it’s weight. But now I also remembered going to the kitchen and pulling out the knife.
I seriously wondered if I was losing my mind. I looked down to find I had the knife in my hands again. I dropped it at once and crawled back to check on Buster.
He wasn’t moving. I put my head on his flank and was devastated to feel he was still warm but not breathing. I didn’t know what to do so I did nothing.
I did nothing for a long time. I was lethargic but somehow made it to the couch in the living room. I waited there until nightfall and then slept on the couch.
When I woke up, I waited some more. I wasn’t sure what I was waiting for but nothing horrible was happening to me while I waited. I wasn’t in a hurry to change that.
But the bodies of Buster and the cop were still there. I needed to do something. My stomach rumbled as I finally got off the couch. That was another problem with just staying put.
First things first, I found a shovel in an outdoor closet attached to the backyard porch. Digging the hole was exhausting so I settled for just burying Buster now. I planned on getting to the cop after finding something to eat.
I picked up Buster and carried him outside. His fur was still so warm. It was hard to believe he was gone. But there was no life behind his big brown eyes. I gently laid him down in the hole and got to work.
Some time later I wandered into the kitchen and raided the pantry. The house was quiet apart from my efforts. Whenever I stopped moving, the silence was complete.
I wondered if the ghosts had just been trying to make me a murderer after all. Now that their goal had been met, maybe they would leave me alone for awhile.
Just in time because I was starving and didn’t need any more distractions. I opened a box of cereal and had a handful up to my lips when I paused.
How could I tell I was actually eating what I was looking at? What if I had actually been opening a box of rat poison?
I still wasn’t sure what these ghosts were capable of. I imagined the food turning into worms after it was already in my mouth.
With that thought, I threw the cereal to the ground and stomped off, no longer hungry. I needed to concentrate my efforts on leaving this place.
Right on cue, I walked by the front door.
It was wide open.
Instinctively, I made a leap for it before stopping with my outstretched hand just a foot short of the door. This had to be another trick.
I could see the door slamming shut in my face or even taking a few of my fingers with it. I could feel a breeze enter the house but I was too scared to move.
This was the most impossible situation I had ever been in or even heard of. All of my senses had failed me before. However, my need for freedom eventually caused my feet to move.
Upon slowly exiting the house, I saw the cop car just sitting in my driveway. The door was unlocked and the keys were sitting in the front seat.
My mind went wild trying to explain the situation. Maybe the cop was secretly a murderer and had killed previous owners of this house. Maybe his sacrifice helped them move on.
I couldn’t think of any other explanation for my good luck at the time. So I just pushed my misgivings down and got in.
I drove out of the neighborhood without incident but I had new problems. I was in an unfamiliar city, driving a cop car, with no money or other belongings on me, and I had no idea what to do next.
So I kept driving. It felt good to be free of that house. It felt good to see the sun. So I kept driving. On and on.
No idea where I’m going.
And then I realized I hadn’t seen any other cars on the road for some time.
Where was everyone?
Where was I?
The sinking feeling happened again, in the pit of my stomach but also around my whole body. I sunk back into the car seat and then realized I was sitting in an armchair.
Back in the living room of my Uncle’s house.
My arms were up like I was still holding onto a steering wheel. I started to cry with frustration as I stood up and screamed.
How long had I been sitting there with a stupid grin, moving my arms up and down like a madman?
I turned around and saw my work laptop on the dining room table. It was on and glowing at me. I walked over to it and saw that something was already written down in this post.
It read, “Lost your mind? Good, now you won’t mind losing the rest.”
Suddenly my fist felt weighed down. I raised it to find another kitchen knife in my hand. I dropped it immediately.
I erased the message and started to type out a request for help. I ignored the screen and just focused on the keys. But I kept hitting them wrong and another message slowly formed.
“I’m sorry. I’ve disappointed you all. For the Last time, Goodbye.”
I could have screamed again but I noticed something had changed. I wasn’t in the dining room anymore. I was in the study. I kept writing and writing and writing and my own words started to come out.
I have sent out emails requesting help, I’ve posted on the local police department’s Facebook for assistance, and I’ve just tried to keep writing no matter what.
This is my latest attempt to keep my sanity. Whenever I’ve tried to take a break, I find myself in a new room with new horrors descending on me.
Once I opened the study door out to a hellish landscape and almost stepped out onto lava. I wasn’t sure if it was all an illusion but I didn’t even want to have a vision of my feet burning so I just closed the door and resumed writing.
I’m not even sure this is all because of ghosts.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately and the truth is simply that I have no idea what’s going on.
As I’ve gone over these crazy events, I’ve realized that I can’t recall my Uncle’s name. Or what he looked like. I’m not sure I ever had an Uncle.
I’m trying to think really hard about how I came here. Did I fly? Drive? I can’t remember. Have I always been here?
Even weirder, I can’t remember my realtor’s name or even what gender they are. I’ve met them, in person, several times. Why don’t I know things I should?
I can’t even remember the name of my daughters or my wife. Am I even a father?
Am I even a person? I know I must be because here I am writing in this small study. But now that I think about it, I can’t remember who my parents are, what they look like, or anything about my childhood.
Now, I just remember this house and all the nightmares, waking and otherwise, I’ve experienced here.
I’m feeling a lot like I was back in the cop car. I found a way forward but I really don’t know what to do next. This is not a way to live and I’m getting more and more tired.
I’m so hungry.
And I’m finding it harder to focus. I keep hearing voices. And they’re getting louder.
I know if I stop writing. I won’t last long. But I’m running out of things to say. My hands are tired. I’m tired. so tire.d
The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dogs.
I need to keep writing. But I don’t know what to say anymore. What’s my name?
I don’t know.
I’ll die if I stop writing. I’ll die if I stop working.
Thewquickbrownfaoxgumped ovethe lazy dogs. Dogs. Buster. I miss Buster.
I wish I could pet him one last time.
But was he ever real? Is anything? I’m so tired. So hungry.
I need to focus.
The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy goodbye.
ThequickbrownI’m sorryjumped ovrpointed you lazy dogsoodbye.
I’m quick I’ve jumpeddisapp theall Last time lazy dogs
I’m sorry. jumped over disappointed you lazy. For the Lazy dogs, Goodbye.
I’m sorry. I’ve disappointed you all. For the Last time, Goodbye.