's 2018 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by Jon Welsh

I fell in love with the house the first time I stepped inside. It seemed positively enormous to me; 4 bedrooms, one and a half bathrooms, and 2 giant living rooms on the first floor. I was a 23 year old bachelor and my head was swimming with possibilities.

The real estate agent took me on walk outside. This was what had really sold me on the home - the privacy. It was tucked back in the woods, accessed only from a nearly mile long private road snaking through the tall trees. The yard itself was small, but the trees extended for miles in both directions. I'd never see any of my neighbors from the house, and that was just fine with me. I was a private person and had grown up in a similar house. Living in a suburb or, God forbid, an apartment? That would have driven me crazy from the lack of privacy.

I told her I wanted the house and was ready to make an offer. I didn't have much money, but the house was listed at an incredibly cheap price and I lowballed that. She took the offer to the buyer and told me to wait a day or two to see if they accepted. We made small talk as she locked up the house. I was incredibly curious why the house was so cheap. She didn't know much, just that the previous owners had gone through a nasty divorce and needed to sell the house quickly and start their separate lives.

That night in my shitty apartment, I had the worst nightmare of my life. I was in a darkened house, sneaking around with my back pressed against a wall. I headed toward a room, illuminated by a flickering blue glow. In the center of the room was a couch, facing a TV filled with blue static on the wall. Sat in the middle of the couch was a dark figure. I couldn't make out any features at all, I could simply see it was staring at the TV.

In my heart I knew that I had to sneak past this couch without being seen. I took a single step and felt the floor creak below the padded carpet. I took another step, always keeping my back against the wall and my eyes on the figure on the couch. The static from the TV was loud, hopefully loud enough to cover up any noise made by my footsteps. I was terrified.

Step by step I made my way across the room, until my head was almost directly in line with the figure's shadowed head. I was perhaps two feet away, but even at this distance I couldn't make out any features. Was he bald? Did she have hair? Was it even alive? I shifted my weight to take a another step. The figure began to slowly turn towards me.

I woke up screaming and drenched in sweat. Something I had never done before. I was terrified and it took a few moments to shake off the unreality of the dream and realize I was safely back in my apartment. The wind outside shook the trees, and I didn't fall back asleep for a very long time.

The next day at work I received the phone call I had been expecting. The house was mine, they accepted my offer. I only needed to sign the necessary paperwork, the house would have to pass inspection, and I would transfer the money. But that nightmare gave me pause, as stupid as it was. The house I was sneaking through seemed so familiar. It was probably just the stress of possibly moving playing with my mind, but I had to find out.

I asked the real estate agent a few obvious questions. Had anyone been murdered there? Had anyone died of old age there? Were there any reports of weird activity? Any fires or major damage to the house?

Nothing. The house was clean. 4 previous owners. The first was a woman who sold the place before moving to a retirement home. The second was a couple who sold the place to their adult son. That son had done a lot of remodeling and sold the place to the couple I was prepared to buy from - the divorced couple. That divorce was the only possible black spot on an otherwise flawless portrait of tranquility.

I told the real estate agent I needed another day to be sure, since it was a lot of money and I wanted to be safe. That evening after work, I drove out to the house. The sun had set by the time I reached the winding road that led to the isolated house. I turned off my radio at this point, I felt like I needed to really focus on everything around me. I felt like an idiot, but I was prepared to see some sort of monster lurking in the woods.

I pulled up to the house. The living room window which faced the driveway was illuminated with a flickering blue glow.

My stomach sank and I felt that same fear from the night before. My car suddenly seemed incredibly loud, the headlights absolutely blinding and faced directly at the house. Did I see a shadow move in there?

I turned the car around quickly, forcing myself to stare at the dashboard and not look in that window. The gravel under my tires seemed to scream and cry out to the house. I drove away and made sure not to look back, even for a second.

I don't know who lives in that house now. I withdrew my offer and said I got cold feet about spending that much money. The real estate agent understood and said it happened all the time.

That nightmare never recurred but I do think about it a lot. I can still picture that slowly turning head and still get that sense of dread. I can still hear the static and see that faint blue glow. I still replay the night I visited the house, too.

That was almost a decade ago and on a few drunken nights I've thought about driving out there and looking at the house. But I have a wife now and we want to start a family. And I know if I got to the house I'd be throwing all of that away.