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"I Found A Box Of Letters In My Dead Parents' House"
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Everyone in Burningham is haunted by something; I would know after living here for thirty something years. For years now, I’ve wondered if I should leave this place for good and start a new life somewhere else, or if I should just try to put my life back together here. It seemed so much easier to start a new life where no one else knows you, but I never wanted to leave my parents behind. As they grew older and older, I found myself more and more reluctant to leave, but now that doesn’t matter. They’re dead.

They didn’t die from health complications; in fact, they were in great shape for people in their sixties. They were driving cross-country when they got into a terrible accident. The worst part was going down to the morgue and seeing their cold, lifeless bodies. I fell apart then and there, that night I didn’t eat or sleep. Two weeks later, I held a small funeral. I was the only one there. As the only living relative left, it was my responsibility to clean up my parents’ house and prepare it for the market. I knew this wouldn’t be an easy task.

As I pulled into the driveway, the house stood before me, a poor copy of what it used to be. What once was a lush, well-kept lawn was now overgrown with dry, yellowed grass. The house and garage across from it were thankfully made of brick; who knows what shape they would be in if they weren’t. Brush was piled into the old, rusty dog cage across from the garage.

As I walked up the path, childhood memories flashed through my mind: Dad tossing the ball to me when I was ten, Mom helping me walk the dog around the house when I was twelve. The memories quickly faded away, and reality sunk in. I’d never be able to make new memories with them. My knees buckled from beneath me, and I fell to the ground. I let out a loud sob.

My parents were gone forever. Nothing I did would ever change that. Wiping the tears from my face, I tried to follow the breathing exercises my new therapist taught me. I took a few deep breaths and counted to ten, and once I calmed down, I stood back up. I unlocked the front door, took another deep breath, and entered the house.

The inside of the house didn’t look abandoned. For a moment, it felt like Mom and Dad were still in their bedroom, as if nothing had changed. It was almost like being inside of one of the Chernobyl houses. Everything in the house looked the same as it did when it was abandoned. Canned and boxed food still sat in the cabinets. There was a smell of rot coming from the refrigerator, accompanying the house’s strong scent of mold and mildew.

I held my breath, and stepping around the mouse droppings, I trudged forward to the bedrooms to look for my parents’ financial information. After a few minutes of rummaging through their drawers, I found the paperwork I needed, but I also found a box. Inside of it were letters written by people I didn’t recognize. Curious, I began to read through them.

Nov. 14th, 1989

Dear Uncle Tony,

Happy Birthday! Love is not something you can see. Love is something you feel deep in your heart. I love you!



Lorraine? The letter is addressing my father, but he and my mother didn't have any siblings. Even if he had a falling out and decided he didn’t want anything to do with his family, why would he lie to me?

Nov. 21th, 1989

Dear Uncle Tony,

I really like staying over and spending time with you and Aunt Pam. I love staying up past my bedtime to watch cartoons and eat chocolate chip cookies. At bedtime, I heard someone whispering my name from under my bed. I was scared. But I peeked over the side of my bed, and my Daddy’s head popped out from underneath. I haven’t seen him since he and Mommy got divorced. I was so happy to see him. Then he asked me to go under the bed with him. His voice was deeper. There was something wrong with his eyes. They were all black. I told him no and rolled back over. I couldn’t sleep for the rest of the night.

- Lorraine

Really strange. This probably was just a dream she had; when I was younger I had a similar dream about my parents being under my bed. It probably felt so real to her that she believed it actually happened.

Nov. 28th, 1989

Dear Uncle Tony,

I had lots of fun building snow forts with you and Aunt Pam last weekend. I had more fun when I caught both of you by surprise and nailed you with snowballs. It was fun until bedtime, when the thing that looked like my Daddy called my name again. I told him I wasn’t going to go under the bed with him, and I knew he wasn’t my Daddy. The thing got really mad at me. It grabbed  my foot that was hanging off the edge of the bed and scratched it. I wanted to run away, but I was afraid that whatever was under my bed would come out from underneath it and get me.

- Lorraine

Dec. 4th, 1989

To Tony:

I’m always happy to let Lorraine spend the weekend over your house. You’re family after all, and I want her to know her Uncle and Aunt. You and Pam have really been there for Lorraine and I ever since Rick abandoned us a few years ago, but Lorraine came home on Sunday with a scratch on her foot. Please keep a better eye on her while she’s playing.

- Susan

Man, it must have been hard for her to take care of a child by herself. It’s a good thing Mom and Dad were there to help her. I had a friend who was raised by a single mother, life was hard for them.

Dec. 8th, 1989

Dear Uncle Tony,

I’m really looking forward to spending Christmas with you! Thank you for buying me a barbie. I love her so much. I was having fun until the monster under my bed started talking to me again. He promised not to hurt me again. He told me if I went under the bed with him I could have all the cookies I wanted. He even held one out for me to take from him. I know it was dumb, but I was hungry and I reached for it, but when I did he grabbed my wrist. I was able to pull back, but he scratched me again and it really hurt this time.

- Lorraine

Dec. 18th, 1989

Dear Pam,

For whatever reason Tony hasn’t bothered to listen to me. I’m looking forward to having Christmas with you, but Lorraine got a big scratch on her wrist. How is she getting hurt so much?

- Susan

Jan. 1st, 1990

Dear Pam,

I really appreciate you and Tony having us over for the holidays, but there’s something really odd that happened when I was there. Lorraine woke me up in the middle of the night. She was crying and telling me that someone was someone under her bed. I walked into the room she was staying in, and there was nothing there. She had fresh scratches on her. What is going on? Clearly, I have not been listened to. I do not think I can allow her over your house if you continue to ignore my requests. I’ll allow both of you one more chance. I do not want to have to do this, but if you force my hand, I will do what I feel is best.

- Susan

Jan. 4th, 1990

Dear Uncle Tony,

I really enjoy seeing you and Aunt Pam, but I don’t know if I wanna come over anymore. I appreciate you letting me sleep in your bed last time, but I’m not safe even with you and Aunt Pam. I could hear the monster calling my name from my bedroom.

- Lorraine

Jan 7th, 1990

Dear Tony and Pam,

I can not allow Lorraine at your house. When she got home from the last visit, she said she never wanted to go back and wouldn’t stop crying. I don’t know what happened, but she is not going to your home anymore. I’m furious that my rules were not obeyed! How dare you undermine me! I think you know how Lorraine got hurt, too, but I’m starting to think it wasn’t just an accident due to your negligence.

- Susan

February 1st, 1990

Dear Tony and Pam,

How dare you try and play the victim. You want me to reconsider? No way! If you guys didn’t hurt Lorraine, then how come you can’t at the very least admit the both of you are negligent caretakers? How dare you throw in my face all the things you did for Lorraine financially, emotionally, or otherwise. Don’t try to spin me a sob story “Lorraine is the daughter I’ll never have.” Cry me a river. Also, never throw my condition in my face again! I’ve been just fine mentally, and I’ve been taking my medicine. My illness has nothing to do with the decision I’m making. I laughed when I read the part of your letter when you mentioned you were afraid for the child’s well-being because I’m unwell. Don’t ever threaten me! You’ll never see Lorraine or me again as long as you live.

I heard my parents calling my name down the hallway. I followed it to a bedroom. The door creaked loudly as I opened it.

“Max.” The voices called again.

As I entered the room, the door slammed shut behind me. It was probably the wind. Cold, stale air nipped at my face. The bedroom looked like it hadn’t been touched in over thirty years. I remember it my parents said it was a guest bedroom, but we never had any guests. The walls were painted pink and the bedspread was littered with bug carcasses and a few mouse carcasses as well. The whole room smelt so strongly of death and decay I could taste it.

“Hello?” I called out.

“Under here.”

The voice was coming from under the bed. Dread filled my entire being. There had to be a reasonable, logical explanation. I haven’t been sleeping or eating much, maybe it was my mind playing tricks on me. I knew I shouldn’t have, but I crouched down to see under the bed. I had to do it; I needed to see who was calling my name. I peeked under the bed expecting to see the face of some unworldly monster, but instead, I saw the faces of my mother and father.
My father’s old, wrinkled face was stretched into an unnatural smile, and his eyes were black and void of all emotion and life. Long, white, wispy hair hung over his face. My mother’s appearance was nearly identical to Dad’s: her wrinkled face stretched into a smile, her eyes all black, and her hair hanging over her face.

“You’re both dead. I buried you. This isn’t real. You’re not real!” I screamed.

My heart pounded rapidly as I backed away from them.

“We’re real, and we’ve come to see you.” They said.

There was a hope for a minute. Maybe, my parents were still alive and the trip to the morgue along with the funeral were all part of a terrible dream that I’ve woken up from. Perhaps, there was a chance that I had my parents back. As I gazed into their strange smiling faces I realized that there was hardly any mirth in their smiles. These weren’t happy smiles, they were deceptive, designed to get me to let my guard down. The imposters looked hungry and ready to pounce. I knew these were not my parents

I dropped to my knees and clasped my hands around my head. Tears streamed down my face. This can’t be real. I did the only thing that I could think: I got up and ran to the door. The door knob wouldn’t turn. I kicked the door and threw myself against it, but it wouldn’t budge.
They crawled out from under the bed and seized my ankles, pulling them out from underneath me, sending my face crashing down to the cold, hard floor. They continued to pull me towards the endless abyss.

“If you don’t come to us, we’ll come to you.”

I tried to sink my nails into the floorboards. “No!”

Their grip was inhumanly tight. As they dragged me, my nails left trails in the wood. Their nails sank into my ankles, drawing blood. Hot, searing pain filled the bottom half of my body.

“Please let me go.” My plea was only meant with cruel laughter, they were enjoying this.

“Please let me go.” Mom mocked.

“Don’t waste your tears, son. There will be plenty of time for tears soon enough.” Dad said.

I made another attempt to pull my feet loose, and their grip loosened as my ankles grew more and more slick with blood. I pulled and jerked, getting more and more control with each try. I pulled my left foot and slipped from Mom’s grasped. She looked at her blood-stained hands in disbelief, and then I freed my right foot. Before they could grab me again, I kicked both of them in the face. My ankles burning, I struggled to get to my feet. I charged the door with my shoulder lowered. The door gave way on impact, falling off its hinges. Dull, agonizing pain traveled up and down my shoulder, but I ignored it. I rushed down the hallway and threw the front door open.

“Come back!” They screamed.

“Fuck you. You’re not my parents!” I screamed back.

Before I slammed the door shut, a horrible, growl filled the house. The house shook as if there was an earthquake. I slammed the door shut and sprinted to my car. I sped off, gunning it down the street with no care for the speed limit. I don’t know what that thing under the bed was, and sadly, I’ll never know what happened to my Cousin Lorraine or my Aunt Susan.

I haven’t been to my parents’ house since and I refuse to go back there alone. The thing that bothers me the most is that the next owner doesn’t know what they’re in for. I could have the house demolished, but my gut tells me house or no house that, that thing will still be there no matter what.

« Last Edit: 02:01 PM, 04/ 3/20 by Logan96 »


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