Two summers ago, after I landed in LA for a brief business trip, I lived through the scariest fifteen minutes of my life. Luckily, I had three people around me to a) corroborate my account b) save me from staying at a place that could easily have been the home of the literal Babadook!
It all started when a friend of mine, let’s call him Jack, generously offered to let me stay at his house for free, since he was going to be away for the week of my trip and it turned out, his AirBNB guests had cancelled last minute. I was grateful to have the free lodgings and happy to water his plants in return. The night before flying out, I met up with Jack and got the keys along with the instructions on how to get in. “It’s 3564 Anywhere Lane,” they said. Simple enough.
The next day, I landed in LA and immediately headed to see some friends before Jack’s. This led to dinner which led to after dinner drinks and before I knew it, it was almost 11:30pm.
Finally, I decided to call it a night and head to Jack’s. Eric, my friend from college, decided that it was too late for me to head over alone and said he would drop me off. I tried to call an Uber but he insisted.
We arrived at the address, 3564 Anywhere Street and saw a row of cute bungalows hugging a courtyard — how LA! We use the first key to get into the main gate. So far, so good. It was then that we noticed that the apartment doors were numbered in fractions – 3564 1/4, 3564 1/2, 3564 3/4 and so on. Strange, but since Jack never mentioned a fraction, we walked to the end of the courtyard until we finally hit apartment number 3564.
We immediately notice two things that seemed unusual. One, there were packages on the stoop not addressed to Jack. And two, and this is the stranger detail, there was a sheet that had been stuffed in the doorframe. Strange, but not scary…
After fiddling with the keys for a minute, I finally got the door open and am hit with the most powerful, awful, musty, wretched smell of human that I can still smell now while I type this. I tried the light switch but it didn’t do anything — it was pitch black and from somewhere inside the house a smoke alarm with a low battery was intermittently beeping.
Eric, the other two friends and I pull out our iPhones and turn on our flashlights only to almost nearly fall on top of each other in blind fear. In the living room that we just entered, if you can call it that, are hanging masks and dolls, twigs arranged on the walls like some kind of Blair Witch movie set and piles of crusty dishes piled all around.
My friends are now demanding to know just how well I know this Jack person. In my jet lagged state, confused, I start wondering the same thing. This couldn’t be Jack’s apartment? But it must have been, the key unlocked the door. But why was this apartment looking like the set of a horror movie? How much did I really know Jack?
At this point Eric had picked up some prescription pill bottles and was looking at them closely. “Eddie Ramirez,” he asked, “these pills are for an Eddie Ramirez? Who is Eddie Ramirez” Not Jack! Not Jack! Not Jack! Suffice to say dear reader, we booked it out of there immediately and I never spoke to Jack again.
It starts with an imaginary friend.
Think twice before you lay down on your “side” tonight.
Louder-than-usual animal sounds…
Haunted houses? We’ve got a few.
Let’s get Halloween-y.
“I’m your uncle.”
Kids love it when parents tuck them in. Unless…
Oh, just a casual block party.
Hard no to old TVs after this story.
Another invisible friend, because these are so creepy.
Empty streets terrify me.
Extra scary points for the fact that the author was named after the guy who built this cabin.
Honestly, why would anyone put themselves through the horror of Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’?