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I could really use a vacation. I haven’t so much as breached the border of the state I live in, in nearly six years. My life had become routine. Every day I wake up at 6:30 AM, shower, brush my teeth, get dressed for work, then I get in my car, and head off to the office. Clock in at 9:00, clock out at 5:00, and drive home. Luckily for me, my home life was the highlight of my day. I had a loving wife, and we had an overall pretty good marriage, far from perfect, but we made it work. In contrast, work was by far and away the worst part of my day. They say if you do what you love, then you’ll never work a day in your life, well, that certainly doesn’t apply here. It’s just paperwork on top of paperwork on top of, you guessed it, more paperwork. The monotony of it all could drive a person insane. And to make matters worse, I’m dyslexic. I told my boss of my disability, and the next day he brought a pamphlet about dyslexia to me while I was sat at my desk, all while insisting that it might be good reading material for me. Like, exactly what part of me being dyslexic was unclear to you? My boss could be uncouth like that, sometimes. All things considered, however, my life was mostly pretty average, and I didn’t really have much to complain about, but I just felt that I needed a little more excitement in my life. Anyway, you could imagine the joy I felt when one summer day my wife told me that she wanted to take a week’s getaway to upstate New York in the fall, where we would be staying in an Airbnb. I was over the moon. Just a week of me and my wife enjoying each other’s company in someone else’s house, in a beautiful part of the country, during a beautiful time of year. I couldn’t wait to put in my request for time off from work.

Summer turned to autumn, the leaves began to change, and our plans were beginning to be set in motion. We both got the desired days off of work. I did some work on the car to ensure that it could make the trip there and back. My wife took care of our lodging arrangements, seeing as how I had never booked an Airbnb before. We were set to take up residence in a room in a 3500-square-foot house, in upstate New York, at 1368 Darsette Lane.

The morning of November 18th rolled around, and I excitedly got out of bed for the first time in what felt like forever, as it was the first day of our vacation. I could not wait to hit the road. My wife and I packed up our suitcases, loaded up the Subaru, and headed out around 9:15 AM. I put the address for the Airbnb in my GPS, and we were on our way.
Driving north, the familiar sites of northeastern Pennsylvania gave way to the beautiful autumn landscape of rural New York. Truly a beautiful part of the country that time of year, if you’ve never been. It was by far the best drive we had had in a long time. Would have preferred it if gas was a little bit cheaper, but oh well.


At around 2:30 in the afternoon, after driving through a heavily wooded area that was well off the highway for nearly an hour, we finally came upon our living accommodations for the week. As my GPS dinged, signifying the end of our journey, we pulled up to what looked to be an older house, and a decent-sized one at that. I threw it in park, and we got out of the car.

“Here we are.” I declared.

“Finally, it felt like we were driving for a lot longer than we should have been.” My wife responded.

“Well, I’m just glad we made it.” I said. “So, what do you think?”

“Well, it surely is rustic.” My wife replied.

“Yeah, nice and quaint,” I said, happily.


“It doesn’t look quite like the pictures I remember seeing online.” She stated.

“Well, maybe they just did some work on the place, and haven’t updated the picture, yet.” I suggested.

My wife seemed to accept this explanation, and on that, we got our luggage from the trunk and headed up a creaky set of stairs to the front door. I knocked on the door and we waited for what felt like an inordinate amount of time before someone finally answered. The door slowly opened to reveal a frail, older women, no more than 5’2”, who I would guess to be in her 70s, standing there, with her hair in a bun, and wearing a dark blue dress.

“Can I help you?” She asked.

“Hi, we’re the Coopers, we’re here on vacation.” I said, jovially.

She returned a confused look on her face before narrowing her eyes and squinting at us.

“We reserved one of your upstairs rooms for the week.” My wife interjected.

That seemed to jog the old woman’s memory.

“Oh, yes, come on in.” She said, with a beckoning wave, before leading us inside.

The inside wasn’t anything overly impressive. There was old wallpaper on the walls, that was peeling off in places. The furniture looked to be handcrafted out of wood. It definitely had that old country feel but overall felt welcoming enough.

“Do you think this place is haunted?” My wife asked.

“Boy, that would be our luck, wouldn’t it?” I joked back.

The old woman led us to the kitchen, where she gestured for us to sit down at the kitchen table.

“So, do you get a lot of visitors here?” I asked.

“Not often, no,” the old woman replied.

“That’s surprising,” my wife said. “I would have figured lots of people would want to come here, seeing as how most of your reviews were nothing short of glowing.”

“Oh, well that’s nice.” The old woman responded.

“Is there anybody else staying here?” I asked.

“Yes, four people,” she said.

“Great, sounds like a party.” I said.

“Would you like a piece of pie?” The old woman offered.

I tried to politely decline, but the old woman insisted, saying that the cherries in the pie were freshly picked from her cherry tree out back. On that, we relented, and we each had a piece of the pie. It was honestly one of the best pieces of pie I had ever tasted.

“So, where did you say you all were from?” She asked.

“Just outside of Philadelphia, in a little place called Horsham.” My wife answered.

“Oh, sounds lovely.” The old woman replied.

After she said this, the sound of a door slamming shut out back rang out, and a large man entered the room from behind the old woman. He was noticeably quite tall, I would guess at least 6’3.” He had very broad shoulders, and thin, unkempt, light brown shoulder-length hair. He had a mostly vacant look in his eyes, and was clad in a dirty pair of overalls, that he wore overtop a flannel shirt that looked like it had never seen the inside of a washing machine.

“This is my son, Albert, say ‘hi’ to the nice people, Albert.” The woman exhorted.

What we got in return wasn’t so much a greeting, as it was just a low grunting sound that didn’t seem as though it was directed at anyone in particular. Not exactly the warmest greeting I had ever received. After that, he just continued on through the kitchen, tracking dirt all over the floor, as he made his way out of the room.

“Don’t mind him,” the old woman said. “He keeps mostly to himself.”

“No worries.” I replied. “So, tell me, how old is this house?”

“I believe it’s about 106 years old, or so.” She answered.

“Wow, don’t think I’ve ever stayed in a place that old before. Has anyone ever died in this house?” I inquired.

At that, the old woman suddenly took up a very serious demeanor and stared a hole through me.

“No! Nothing of the sort has ever happened here!” She snapped.


I recoiled, fearing as though I had struck a nerve with our host. I quickly apologized, and attempted to change the subject, but I could feel a palpable change in the ambiance of the room. Eventually, after taking some time to decompress, the old woman apologized for her outburst, and explained to us that ever since her late husband had passed away, she just couldn’t bare thinking about death. I apologized again, and my wife and I assured her it was alright and told her that we understood. After that, the conversation went back to normal.
“Would you like to see your room?” She asked, after we had finished eating our pie.

On that, we agreed, got up from the table, collected our belongings, and followed her up a set of stairs, where upon reaching the top we approached a large wooden door, with a silver doorknob.

“This room is yours.” She said.

“Great,” I said. “Nice place you’ve got here.”

“Thank you,” she responded in kind. “The bathroom is down the hall, second door on the left.” She said, while pointing.

“Awesome,” I replied. Noticing that her upstairs hallway was very long, and with my curiosity getting the better of me, I asked her what the door directly across from the bathroom led to.

“That’s where the other four people are.” She said, sharply. “You are not to go in there, as they do not want to be disturbed.”

We assured her that we wouldn’t bother them, and she left. What a strange old lady, I thought. We went inside, and began to unpack, all while brainstorming things we could do with the rest of our afternoon and evening. After getting unpacked, we decided to go out and see what there was to do in the surrounding area. We drove around for a bit, mostly just taking in the fall colors. We went to an apple orchard and picked some apples, before returning to the house. We spent a good portion of our evening planning out what we were going to do the next couple of days or so, before settling on a nature walk for the next day’s activity.

“Dinner!” We heard the old woman shout from downstairs, around eight o’clock. Figuring it would be best not to keep our gracious host waiting, we headed downstairs, and went into the kitchen, where the old woman beckoned us to sit. We obliged and sat down at the table, where Albert was already sat. The woman then apologized, as dinner wasn’t quite ready yet, but would be coming out of the oven at any minute. We told her it was no problem, and told her to take her time.

“Will the other people be joining us for dinner?” My wife asked.

“They’ll be here soon.” The woman said with a smile.

After maybe five minutes or so, the timer went off, and the old woman pulled a dish out of the oven. She then served us plates of chicken, with green beans, and mashed potatoes. It was delicious. My wife and I wolfed our meals down, all the while Albert ate at a snail’s pace, and just stared at us the whole time. Unfortunately, the other lodgers never showed up to dinner. Kind of a drag, as I was hoping to meet them.

As the night wore on, my wife and I got tired, and figured it was about time to turn in. We bid the old woman and Albert goodnight, to which the woman returned a nod and a warm smile, and Albert returned yet another unintelligible grunt. We went to our room and closed and locked the door behind us. Before going to bed, my wife and I just laid in our bed, on our phones. She was scrolling through Facebook and Pinterest, while I just listened to some sports podcasts. When after a while, out of the blue my wife busted out with a question.

“Do you think it’s weird that we haven’t heard a peep from the other people here?”

“Huh? Oh, I guess I hadn’t really thought about it, why?” I responded, having been caught rather off guard by the question.

“Well, I just find it strange that four people can be living just down the hall from us, and we haven’t heard a single sound from them.”

She raised a good point. Certainly, if four people were just down the hall from us there would at least be some signs of life, right?

“Maybe they’re just really private people.” I posited. “The old lady did say that they didn’t want to be bothered.”

“I’m starting to think there isn’t anybody else here, but us.” My wife said. “I think the old lady lied to us.”

“Now why would she do that?” I questioned.

“I don’t know.” My wife replied.


“To pad her numbers?” I said in a joking manner.

“But just think about this,” my wife started. “If there are four other people here, and let’s say they are just a group of extremely quiet people, where are their cars? We didn’t see any other vehicles on the property when we pulled up.”

In fairness, that was a good question, and admittedly I was at a loss. The best I could figure was that the property was fairly big, and that maybe they just parked out back.

“I dunno, babe, but I’m not really going to worry about it. We’re on vacation, let’s just try to enjoy it, and besides, we’ve got a big week ahead of us.”

With that, I took my earbuds out, rolled over and tried to go to sleep, and not long after, my wife followed suit.

It was several hours later that I was awoken by the sound of pounding coming from down the hall. The sound came intermittently and was sometimes accompanied by a faint squishing sound. Boy, our neighbors hadn’t made a noise all day, but decided to wait until 3:30 AM to make their presence known. Well, there’s your sign of life for ya, I thought. I turned over and woke up my wife. She was none too pleased by this, but I felt it necessary to alert her to the noise. I asked her what she thought it was, to which she said she wasn’t sure, and that she didn’t really care. Really needing my rest and being a very light sleeper, I figured it was time to pay our neighbors a visit and tell them to keep it down. Likely not the most endearing greeting, but I figured it had to be done.

My wife rolled over and attempted to go back to sleep, while I got up and out of bed, put on my slippers, and headed down the hall. As I approached the room, I noticed that a foul stench filled the air. What on earth could they have been doing in there that would cause such an odor? Upon getting to the door, I noticed that it was slightly ajar. I knocked on the door and the pounding sound abruptly ceased.

“Hello,” I said, trying not to speak too loudly, but was met with no reply.

I repeated myself, and again received no reply. So, I decided to just make my way inside. I opened the door, and under the glow of the moon coming in from the window, I beheld the most horrific thing I could have ever imagined. There, strewn about the floor, were the hacked up remains of human bodies. Arms, legs, torsos, you name it, it was on the floor. There were four people in here alright, they just weren’t all intact. I shuddered at the sight, before noticing a large figure in the far corner, hunched over, and holding something. I went a few feet inside the room and made my way over to the light switch, I flicked on the light only to see Albert standing in the corner with his back to me.

“Albert?” I said, with a quiver in my voice.

At this, Albert turned to me with blood dripping from his mouth and a crazed look in his eyes, while holding what looked to be a human arm. It had become readily apparent that Albert had been eating the remains of the people. I bolted out of there as fast as I could. We were getting the hell out of there.

I burst through the door of my room, abruptly waking up my wife, and telling her what I had seen. Horrified, she got out of bed, and we started gathering our stuff, when out of the darkness behind us came a voice.

“Going somewhere?”

We turned around to see the old woman standing there, brandishing a serrated kitchen knife.

“I told you not to go in there.” She said in an angry tone of voice before she started to saunter towards us.

“And now you know the secret.” She continued. “They were good guests, and they made for a good meal, just like you two will.”

Hearing that, my wife and I looked at each other, and then back at the woman, and without saying a word, we knew what we had to do. With my wife following close behind, and with a degree of speed and power that I hadn’t mustered since my varsity year playing defensive end for my high school football team, I bull-rushed the old woman, knocking her to the ground with a resounding thud. We ran past her, and down the stairs, out the front door, and over to our car, where we haphazardly threw our stuff in the backseat. I jumped in the driver seat, put the key in the ignition, and started the car. The purr of the engine was like music to my ears. I threw it in reverse and backed out of there as fast as I could, but not before seeing Albert standing there on the porch, staring at us with that ever present vacant stare of his, holding a bloody axe.

I drove out of there, heading in no particular direction. I figured we would find our way back to the highway eventually, and get headed home, seeing as how our vacation had been cut well short. I just wanted to get as far away from that house as I could.

I dove around aimlessly for about ten minutes, during which time my wife used my phone to call the police to report what had happened, since her phone’s battery was dead. After she got off the phone with the police, she pulled up Google Maps to plug in our home address so that we could begin our trek back. When she opened the app, I saw her eyes grow wide, and a perturbed expression come across her face. I asked her what was wrong, and she just held my phone up to my face, showing me my most recently traveled to destinations. At the top, the address of the house we had just escaped from. It read “386 Dorsey Lane.” I had put the wrong address into the GPS.

Credit: Steven Allen


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