I’m not a writer- just here to tell my story, so please excuse any grammatical errors.
Shortly after my son turned four, we finally made it out of low income housing after living there for ten horrifying months. In my 22 years, I had never seen such violence, drug activity, and poverty. We were elated to finally have enough money to rent a huge 2.5 bedroom house in the heart of town. I questioned why the rent was well below the worth of such an enormous house, but the rental agency assured me I just lucked out on a good deal.
Something was wrong in that house, and I knew it from the moment we walked in the front door. Even though I was born without the sense of smell and taste, it was almost like I could sense the air was old and thick. I tried to push the uncomfortable feeling out of my mind, because there was unpacking to be done, and there were no used heroin needles in sight which was a breath of fresh air.
With everything finally in its place for the most part, it was bedtime for my son, Preston, and I wasn’t expecting the all out battle against sleep. For the last four years, he went to bed better than any child I’ve ever met. Tonight was different, as would be every single night that followed for the next three months. As I picked him up and carried him to the bedroom at the back end of the house; the bedroom he personally picked out for himself, he screamed, “Mommy, please no! Don’t make me go in there!
Please!” He clawed at the door frame as we passed through it, and thrashed about in my arms until I laid him on the bottom bunk of his bunk bed, as he pulled the blanket over his head teary eyed. I was so confused. Was it the move? The room? He never acted this way- maybe he was just tired from helping unpack. I was wrong.
The screaming wasn’t the only thing that changed in Pres. He wouldn’t play in his room alone, even though he had always been extremely independent. He also started telling me these wild stories- scary, horrible stories. A few extremely creepy ones:
The Little Room
Pres: “Mommy, I feel so bad for the little boy who used to live here. His dad was so mean and always locked him in the little room (the first bedroom off the dining room which fit only a twin bed up against the wall with about two feet at the foot and one side) all day. He would kick that wall as hard as he could but couldn’t get out. But one day he broke the wall and he got hurt. His daddy was so mad.”
Me: “Um… who told you that, P?”
Pres: “The little boy.”
He was four. He had an enormously creative imagination, but this didn’t stop me from going to the little room and pulling the twin bed from the wall. Behind it I found a 12×24 piece of plywood nailed into the wood panel at the bottom close to the floor. It was something a single mom rushing to set up house, while keeping an eye on a four year old would easily just look over. Maybe it a coincidence.
Blood in the Bathroom Sink
Pres: “I’ll never let anyone hurt you like that little boy’s Daddy hurt his Mommy. (Tears in his eyes) He was so mean, Mommy. One time, she tried to hide in the bathroom, but he ran in and got her and smashed her head on the sink so hard the sink broke off the wall.”
Me: “Did the little boy tell you that?”
I walked to the bathroom to inspect the sink. What was completely ignored for the two months we had lived there was now in plain sight. The sink had been re-caulked into position, the walls around it had been repainted, and there was a two by four between the sink and the floor holding it in position, painted the same color as the walls. Another coincidence. A wild imagination.
The Invisible Window
Pres: “You know the Mommy almost got out one time but it didn’t work. She tried to climb out the little bathroom window. She broke right through the glass and everything. But the Dad found her again, and pulled her down. She couldn’t try that one again because he closed the window for good. She got in big trouble that time and the little boy hid in his room because he was so scared when his Mommy got hurt.”
Me: “P, there’s no window in the bathroom.”
Pres: “Nope, not anymore.”
Preston has never been out back in the yard where this imaginary window would be. We moved in February, and it was too cold for playing in the yard. Still, I couldn’t shake this particular story from my mind. I walked outside to the back of the house where the bathroom wall stood, and there it was. I hadn’t been back here before, but there it was plain as day at the wall of the bathroom. A busted out screen, old, broken, still attached shards of glass, and a board coming from the inside of the house. I ran back inside to the bathroom and inspected the wall for the first time since I’d moved in. It was nothing more than cheap trailer wall pinning, covering up an escape route for good.
So many stories. So much talk of this sad little boy and his mom. So many sleepless nights wondering why my son cried himself to sleep. Was it the move??? The room??? Why was this happening? Why didn’t my friends come back after only one visit to my amazing new home? Why did it feel like someone was staring at me every time I showered. Why was the air so fucking heavy? None of it made sense, but we were stuck in a years lease now. There was nothing I could do.
I remember it like it was yesterday- it was a Tuesday night. Pres had finally fallen asleep after the screaming and clawing and hiding under his blanket. I sat in my living room, the only room I felt any ease in, watching Dances With Wolves for probably the 37th time since we didn’t have cable, and only owned a VCR and three DVDs. Before I even heard Pres scream my name, I felt like something bad was about to happen. The air was thicker than usual, the sensation of someone staring deepened, and I couldn’t help feeling like I needed to leave the house. Then he screamed my name like I’d never heard before; a scream engulfed with pain and fear. “MOMMMYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!”
I ran to the back of the house, to the bedroom he picked, and as soon as my body reached the door frame, for the first time in my life I swear to God I could taste and smell everything, but nothing I ever want to ever again. It was… death? Rotting skin and burning bones and I instantly wanted to throw up, but I ran to Preston’s bottom bunk against the closest wall from the door. He was holding the blanket over his face, repeating something I could barely hear. I tried to calm him. I begged him to tell me what was wrong as he whispered his plea. All the while, tears poured from my eyes, and that smell…
He finally, slowly pulled the covers from his eyes, pointed to the back corner of his room behind me, he screamed, “GET HIM OUT OF MY ROOM!!!!!”
I didn’t stop to look, but picked him up and ran as fast as I could out of his room and to the living room. I grabbed my keys and bolted out the front door to my car, and drove a few houses worth down the street where I could safely called the cops.
When two cop cars pulled up, I felt like I could finally breathe. I let Pres stay safely in the car, and asked the cops to check the whole house for an intruder- specifically in my son’s room. Imagination or not- I had to be sure there wasn’t actually a man waiting for us inside. After about twenty minutes, and one tee shirt soaked in sweat on my end, one of the officers met with me to let me know that the house was clear, and everything would be okay. He even assured me that they locked all the doors, and shut off the light in the back bedroom, Preston’s room. I hadn’t turned the light on when I ran in or out, worrying that if he was just having a bad dream, the light would fully wake him up. We stayed in a motel that night.
I couldn’t help but cry as I watched my four year old pace the motel room floor until 4am. Constantly checking the bathroom and looking out the window. He was petrified of something, and I couldn’t help him because he just refused to speak. He was so consumed with fear, but I knew I needed to ask him about what he saw. I finally got him to lay down with me hours later, and begged him to tell me what was in his room.
Pres: “He’s always there.”
Me: “Who, P??”
Pres: (crying) “The bad man with his brains all over the walls and everywhere and he just watches me and it’s so scary Mommy.”
I held him until we both fell asleep, and the minute I woke up, I called my friend Tommy, who owned a landscaping business with a box truck, to help me move out the next day. I called him Tommy-Thomasville because he was born and raised in the town and knew everything about everyone. I dropped Preston off at my sister’s house, and waited for Tommy across the street from the home I now hated. When he pulled up, he took off his ball cap to rub his temples for a moment, replaced his hat, shook his head, and said, “Damn, girl, I’m shocked you lasted three days in this house, let alone three months!” When I asked him why he told me, “About five years back, a couple and their son moved in here. He was a real abusive guy- used to beat the shit out of the both of them. One day someone at his work thought it was odd he’d been out a week without calling in, so they had the police come over to make sure everything was alright. Well it wasn’t alright, because that asshole shot his wife and kid, then went to the back bedroom and shot himself in the head. People been moving in and out of this house after a month or two for years. They say it’s haunted. Is that why y’all are moving out? Something happen, girl?”
All I could think about was what Pres had told me about the man with his brains all over the walls and everywhere. I paid Tommy extra to move my entire house worth of shit into his box truck, and never stopped foot in there ever again.
lhsparkes via Reddit