I moved from North Carolina three months ago to the Chicago area. I had just broken up with my boyfriend, so I was looking for a new start. I accepted a teaching job at one of the elementary schools as an aide for autistic children. I love my job. I find it very rewarding, and honestly, it is the only thing that has kept me sane since this began.
I was trying to find a place that was within my budget. One afternoon, I happened to be driving by when I spotted a duplex by a park. It said for rent on the front of the lawn of this big house. I thought it was beautiful, and there was a little trail I could use. I called the number on the sign, and a very nice older gentleman answered the phone. I explained I was new to the area, and he agreed to meet with me the next day. So, I drove to meet Mr. Callahan, and he introduced me to his son Lars. I found him quiet but friendly. He made us coffee while his father and I discussed the house and gave me a tour. I was so excited to find out that the rent was below my price range when it was all over. He said he wouldn’t be around much and that I would have to agree to lawn care and some general maintenance. I decided to do it and signed the first-year lease.
So, a week later, I moved into the house. When I first unlocked the door, Lars was standing in the house, and perfectly honest; I didn’t think much of it. I assumed his father sent him to ensure I was moved in okay and that there were no issues. He lingered longer than he should have, though. He started asking me strange questions about how many boxes I would be moving in and what was in them. I thought he was a bit of a jokester. I shrugged it off. He left me alone after a few moments of conversation. Then after a few days of living there, I noticed that little things began to go missing around my house.
It wasn’t noticeable at; first, just some small items. I had a couple of t-shirts, and my toothbrush went missing, so did a comb and some make-up. Nothing worth reporting to the police at that time. I had just moved and had several boxes I still hadn’t opened yet because of the small space.
I went about my business as usual. Lars started to be around more as time went on. For instance, he saw me getting out of my car one morning with groceries and politely helped carry them inside. He told me he noticed the grass was getting a little longer when we were done. I said I had not had time to find a lawnmower. He smiled at me and told me not to worry that he would cut the grass for me. I was elated when he told me. I felt very fortunate to have made a friend. I also offered to pay him since it was in my lease agreement to do the lawn care on my side of the yard.
He refused to take payment of any kind. He seemed like he was insulted that I even offered.
After that day, his behavior began to change.
One day, I came home from work, and he was just hanging around my house. There was no reason for him to be there, but he was sitting on my porch, and when I got out of my car, he just sat there for a long time staring at me. I tried to shake off that creepy feeling when someone ogles you too much. I felt like he was undressing me with his eyes. He didn’t have a shirt on, flexing as some guy would at a gym. Only as he did it, he did it while he stared at me. I burst into laughter watching him, but he was dead serious. He wanted me to take notice of him, but he was just a kid. I don’t know what he expected of me. So, I asked him if he needed anything, and he still just stared at me. Finally, I just went inside my house and locked the door.
I didn’t mention it to Lars’ father at the time because I was worried that maybe I was overreacting. He didn’t come around for a long time after that. It was like he had disappeared. So, I went about my business and thought no more of it.
Then it was maybe late July I was tanning in my backyard. I had some music on and a little kiddie pool to soak my feet in if it got too hot. It was an incredible day. I made some margaritas, put on my pink bikini, and then lathered up with some tanning lotion and relaxed. That is when I heard something odd. There was a clicking of some kind that I couldn’t put my finger on. I opened my eyes and didn’t see anything. Then I closed them again and went about dozing a little bit. That is when the clicking got louder. I opened my eyes, and to my horror, he was standing maybe fifteen feet away from me, taking photos of me. I was so alarmed, but most of all, I was pissed. I got up and marched right over to his house and banged on the door. All the while, he continued taking photos of me. No one answered, and that is when I got petrified. He came closer, and with this weird grin on his face, he started laughing in this high-pitched creepy voice. I yelled at him to go away and ran into my house. I locked all my doors and windows and tried desperately to get a hold of his father. Finally, Lars’ dad called me, and I told him everything.
He was very concerned and embarrassed, but he said the oddest thing to me. We never can keep the pretty ones around. Like what father says that?
I started seeing Lars do even weirder stuff like he would stand in my yard shouting obscenities at me, and so I finally I did call the police, but when they talked to both him and his father, they told me that Lars was just mildly backward socially since the loss of his mother. That he can’t help how he acts, but I’m telling you there is nothing wrong with him! He knew precisely what he was doing. To be honest, I’m afraid. Even if he is someone that has a disability, should he really be allowed to harass and frighten me?
Then the latest event put a nail in my “Miss Nice “coffin.
Lars began standing in my front yard all day and night just staring at my house. Like he didn’t move, not even if it rained. It was so creepy. I would go to sleep and wake up in the middle of the night to see if he had left, and he had not. With his father owning the property, I was told I don’t have a say.
I worked hard to build a life for myself after my last crappy relationship. I tried to ignore Lars the best I could.
Then one morning, I started hearing what sounded like an electric malfunction near my kitchen stove. I pulled the stove out and checked the outlet. I unplugged it and plugged it back in (real advance mechanical skills I have, eh?), but the sound wasn’t coming from the outlet.
I looked up at an air vent, but nothing there either.
I forgot about it for a few days, then it started up again one evening just as I was getting ready for bed. I was in the shower, and I could have sworn I heard my name.
I turned off the shower and looked out the window of the bathroom. I didn’t see anyone there, and it was getting dark.
I finished getting ready for bed, and then I was sitting on my bed, setting my alarm and reading over some letters I had gotten from various bill collectors, when I heard his voice.
I LOVE WATCHING YOU, NANCY. IT REALLY TURNS ME ON.
It sounded like it was coming from an intercom. But where the hell would it be?
Nothing in my room resembled a speaker, and the air vent was on the floor. The sound was coming from the wall behind my bed.
I stood up now, terrified. How was it possible?
That shithead was somehow watching me!
I heard something click behind the wall, and I pounded on it. I listened to the same voice coming from the opposite wall when I did.
I was more angry than scared, and I walked out of my house in my nightgown, no shoes, and walked over to Mr. Callahan’s front door. I banged on it as hard as I could.
“OPEN THE DAMN DOOR, TODD! MR CALLAHAN, I KNOW YOUR HOME. I SEE YOUR CAR. I WANT YOU TO TELL YOUR SON TO STOP HARASSING ME! I WANT YOU BOTH TO KNOW I’M NOT AFRAID OF YOU. I WENT TO THE POLICE TODAY, AND I SPOKE TO A DETECTIVE WHO WILL BE COMING TO SPEAK TO YOU!”
In truth, I had only spoken to the cops, not a detective, but I wanted them to know I meant business.
When Todd Callahan didn’t come to the door, I felt silly and frightened.
It was eerily quiet now.
I backed away from the door and walked back to my place.
It didn’t feel like my place anymore. Everywhere I looked, I felt eyes on me.
I kept telling myself that Lars was just playing a prank on me. Everything he did was due to his immaturity and instability of having lost his mother.
I told myself anything to empathize with him and not want to run out of this house kicking and screaming. I had already paid the first few months on the place, and maybe I could find a way to work something out.
The following day, I received a call from Lars’ father.
“Listen, I have been really kind to you. We don’t need any trouble. I’d be happy to let you out of your lease early if you want. I didn’t think there would be any problems. Lars has taken a liking to you is all, and that is all it is. He has a doctor he talks to. Lars doesn’t mean any harm, Nancy.”
“Then tell him to stop coming to my house and doing weird shit!”
“What weird stuff are you talking about?”
“Look, somehow, I think he has been watching me. I heard him- um, this is weird to tell you, but I think he has something hooked up inside my walls to talk to me and try to get a reaction. I want all his weird little pranks to stop! I really liked Lars at first until he started doing this weird stuff. Look, I’m sorry about your wife, and I’m sorry that Lars has issues, but I really need him to stop. I’ve already paid the money to you, and I believe you both are good people deep down, but I’m asking you, person, to person.”
“You have my word, Nancy. I appreciate you not getting the law involved,” Mr. Callahan said to me.
I nodded and went into my home. I still had no idea how he could talk to me through the walls, but he was my neighbor. It had to be thin walls. In truth, I didn’t want to know.
That was the end of it.
Four months passed, and everything was business as usual. The cops had made sure they at least made rounds up and down my street twice a day. As it turned out, one of them knew a friend of mine, so he made sure that he was seen to keep Lars in check. I was grateful. There were no more harassing comments, no more creepy stalking in my front yard, and no one playing jokes on me to make me think someone was in my house talking to me on an intercom.
It was a Friday night that ended everything. My best friend, Connie, called me to see how everything was going. I had failed to tell her about my issues with Lars. I didn’t want her to worry about me, and nothing eventful had happened since I spoke to Lars’ father.
“I have to tell you about my latest date,” Connie laughed, and I figured she was already drinking the wine.
“Oh Yeah?” I asked, bracing myself for a raunchy story.
Then I heard something near where the basement door was.
It sounded like something scratching the door. I was talking to Connie, barely listening to her while telling me about her date.
I opened the basement door, and there was nothing there. I shut the door and walked away from the door. I poured myself a glass of white wine and renewed my attention to Connie and her story.
I smiled as she described her date, and I laughed when he went into an even crazier story about the outfit he was wearing. Then that sound came back. I told Connie to hold on for a second.
I walked near the basement door again, but it wasn’t coming from the same direction. This time it seemed to be coming from the ceiling.
Then I heard the scratching sound get louder. I got a stepping stool from behind the pantry door and stood on it to see if I could get a better idea of what was causing it.
Then to my confusion, the sound was now coming from the wall over the stove.
I touched the wall, and it seemed fragile. It was bubbled as though there had been a leaky ceiling, and some water damage had occurred at one time. I know my bedroom and bathroom were directly above the kitchen.
Mice. I would have to call Mr. Callahan or get traps.
I picked up the phone and explained to Connie I had mice.
“Gross, do you have traps?” she asked.
“I’ll get some when I go out. It is an old house.”
“Maybe invest in a cat,” she giggled.
“I don’t need any pets right now. I want to wait till I can afford to buy a house of my own,”
Just as I was finally relaxing, I heard the sound again, only coming from the living room now. I was bewildered, hoping I wasn’t invaded by a hoard of rats. I walked over to the living room wall and realized something was scratching the wall as you went up the stairs. I pushed on the part of the wall where the sound was coming from.
It pushed back.
I dropped my phone and then picked it up. “Connie, I have to go.”
Terrified, I backed away from the wall. The scratching sound got louder, and I saw a long fingernail poke through the wall.
I stood there like an idiot.
It was like I had to know what the hell it was like, those dumbasses in horror movies.
Then an eye appeared. Then an entire face.
I realized it was someone with a turned-up brow and a sickening grin on their face.
I heard a knock at the door, and when I looked over, I realized it was Lars.
I opened the door out of pure terror.
“What’s wrong, Nancy?”
Lars looked over at the face that was now an entire head coming in the wall.
“Dad! What are you waiting for? Just break it down!”
I looked at the man coming inside of my wall, and then I looked at Lars, and he was laughing. He was laughing his stupid ass off.
I went running towards the door, but he stopped me.
“Where are you going?”
“I’m getting the hell out of here!”
When I looked at Lars’ father, there was something off about him, not just because he was coming into my house from the walls, but his face was completely unrecognizable. It was like he was a completely different person. He was monstrous in his appearance, and he never stopped smiling.
“Dad! We don’t have any more places to bury them!” Lars seemed to be yelling at his father over me. In a twisted grin, he looked at me, then his father.
“Let me out of here!” I tried to run past Lars, but he stopped me.
I knew then that if I didn’t think of a way to escape, I would be dead.
It was suddenly gifted to me as I tried to think of a way out of this situation.
Connie was still on the phone, and she must have called the cops. When I looked out the window, there were three cop cars in my driveway and two officers running toward the duplex.
Mr. Callahan was now eyeing me with a vengeance. His eyes were red and black, as if he were possessed by a demon. His hair was longer, and his hands looked wrinkled and discolored. His nails were long and black. He wasn’t wearing any clothes.
The officer insisted someone open the door, or he was going to kick it down.
Lars ran towards his father, and they both disappeared into the hole that was now in my wall.
I opened the door to my house so quickly. When the officer saw the hole, he wasted no time running after the two of them.
I was taken to one of the other officers’ cars, and I sat there waiting until someone could tell me what had happened.
Finally, after what seemed hours, I was told that they both had escaped. I left that night, taking most of my belongings to Connie’s house.
They never did find Mr. Callahan or his son, and I honestly have no idea what was wrong with Mr. Callahan.
Was he just a crazed lunatic?
I found out part of the answer when the officers dug up the yard. They had found teeth, a few skulls, and various body parts in the garden.
They were just there- partial body parts. Some of the victims were identified by their dental records, and the rest were unknown.
There were hundreds of bones in that garden.
I was just glad to be alive.
It wasn’t long after I could finally buy my own house in another city.
One afternoon, I was scouring Market Place online to see if anyone in my area had used tools. I was renovating my new home with the help of some friends. I saw something odd, and I got that old creeped-out vibe again.
It was someone offering a home for rent. The ad said: FREE RENTAL JUST NEED HELP WITH HOME MAINTENANCE AND LAWN CARE.
Could it be them?
I deleted my account online and closed my laptop.
I don’t want to know.