I Found a Box of Letters in My Dead Parents’ House

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📅 Published on January 2, 2020

"I Found a Box of Letters in My Dead Parents' House"

Written by Logan Finch

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Estimated reading time — 7 minutes

I have spent thirty years in Burningham. Here, everyone is haunted by something. Sometimes I’m questioning what I’m doing with my life: should I leave and look for a new change of scenery, or should I stay and try to get my life back together? My parents were retired doctors and were in great shape for people in their sixties. They died recently. When I found out, I didn’t eat or sleep for a few days. They were on their way to Italy for vacation. An hour into their flight, the plane crashed over the Adriatic Sea, and everyone on board died. The media ran stories that the crash was caused by pilot error, but that couldn’t be true. Black box audio is usually made public, but the audio for Burningham Airlines Flight 1357 was never released and kept from the public.

Deep on the web, theories came flooding in like water through a broken dam. Despite the best efforts of the government to sweep the matter under the rug, the families of everyone who died on board, myself included, demanded answers. And at first, we didn’t get any.  That is, until the audio was leaked.

The audio started off normally. The pilots were having an ordinary conversation until they both noticed something. The next thirty seconds of the audio was completely silent.

Suddenly, the two pilots started confessing all their sins. The last three minutes of the recording were only screams of the passengers.

There was something one of the pilots said that really disturbed me. I was able to make it out through the heavy turbulence.

“I shouldn’t have left my baby in the hot locked car.  I’m so sorry,” he said.

As strange as the recording was, I decided to move on and forget the theories I read online. It really didn’t matter, did it? Pilot error or not, my parents were dead.

Two weeks later, I held a mock funeral. I was the only one there. Because I was the only family left, it was up to me to get their house cleaned up and ready to sell. I was not looking forward to the probate process.

As I pulled into the driveway, the house stood before me, a shadow of what it used to be. What was once a lush, well-kept lawn was now overgrown with dry, yellowed grass. Thankfully, the house and second garage across from it were made of brick. I feared to imagine what shape they’d be in if they hadn’t been built with such a material. 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 ten-year-old me, Mom helping me walk the dog around the house when I was 12.

The memories quickly faded, and reality sunk in. I would never be able to make memories with them again.  Until that point, I thought I was over everything.  My knees buckled and I dropped to the ground.  Tears streamed down my face and I couldn’t control it anymore.  My parents were gone forever, and nothing could change that. I took a few deep breaths and counted to ten. After my breathing exercises, I felt a bit better.

I picked myself up off the floor and entered the house. It was eerie being in the house for the first time in years. The inside of the house didn’t look abandoned.  A part of me felt like Mom and Dad were still in their bedroom or living room. It was like being inside of one of the houses in Chernobyl. Everything inside looked as it did the day it was abandoned. Cans and boxes of food were still in the cabinets, mouse droppings lay on the floor, and the smell of mold and mildew was so strong I could taste it.

I held my breath and trudged to the bedrooms to look for my parents’ financial information. After a few minutes of rummaging through their bedroom, I found the paperwork, along with something else: A box of letters that I have never seen before, written by people I’ve never met.

Letter # 1

Nov. 14th, 1989

Dear, Uncle Tony,

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

Love,

Lorraine

* * * * * *

Really strange. The letter is addressing my father, but he and my mother didn’t have any siblings. Why lie? Did he have a falling out and as a result he didn’t want anything else to do with his family?

Letter # 2

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, it really scared me when I heard tapping on my window. I covered myself with my blanket and turned over, but the tapping just continued.

Lorraine

* * * * * *

Mom’s chocolate chip cookies were my favorite thing in the world when I was a kid. I’ll never taste them again…

Letter # 3

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 tapping started again, and this time I couldn’t help but turn over. I saw a monster at my window. I started feeling really guilty and sad as I stared at him. There was something mesmerizing about that thing at the window. Unable to look away, I started remembering all sorts of bad stuff I did, like breaking Mom’s vase and lying about it. I smashed my head against the wall to make the thoughts stop.

Lorraine

Letter # 4

Dec. 4th, 1989

To: Tony

I’m 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 bruise on her forehead. Please make sure you keep an eye on her when she’s playing.

Susan

* * * * * *

Really sad. I had a friend whose father abandoned them when they were young. Life hasn’t turned out well for them.

Letter # 5

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 played with her until that monster showed up. I saw him and started feeling guilty like last time. I remembered when I told a kid at school that yellow snow was the same as a yellow snow cone, and he ate it. I smashed my head again, and this time it really hurt.

Lorraine

Letter # 6

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 bigger bruise on her forehead. How is she getting hurt so often?

Susan

Letter # 7

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. I was awakened by a knock on my door. Lorraine was crying and telling me that someone was tapping on her window. I walked into the room she was staying in. At first, I thought there was something at the window, but chalked it up to my imagination since I was still half-asleep. Clearly, no one has listened to a word I’ve said. I do not think I can allow Lorraine over your house if you continue to ignore me. 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

Letter # 8

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 couldn’t sleep last time. I’m really scared to come over.

Lorraine

Letter # 9

Jan 7th, 1990

Dear, Tony and Pam,

I cannot 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, and I’m starting to think it wasn’t just an accident due to your negligence.

Susan

Letter # 10

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 medications. 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.

* * * * * *

It looked to be the end of the letters. I needed answers, so I searched the house for any additional letters, but found nothing.

I gave up.

Feeling defeated, I pulled myself together, grabbed the paperwork I needed and headed home. During the ride, I felt like something was following me. I ascribed the feeling to being on edge due to the letters. I pulled into the driveway of my home feeling empty. My house was a mess; not as bad as my parents’ house, but still a mess. The lawn was unkempt and the paint was peeling on the front porch, as well as on both sides of the house, indicating a new paint job was needed. It’s not like it really mattered anyway.  No one was going to visit me.

I was alone.

My mailbox was overflowing with a thick stack of mail. I removed it and headed inside. A few days’ worth of dishes were piled in the sink, and the trash can was crammed full with fast food bags. Ever since the death of my parents, I’ve been barely taking care of myself. I threw my letters down on the table and sighed.  Nothing but bills and junk mail.

There was nothing to look forward too anymore. I dragged myself to bed and lay down. As my eyelids became heavier and I was about to drift off to sleep, I had the feeling that someone was watching me. I heard an ominous tapping on my window, but didn’t dare turn over to see what was causing the noise.


Credit: Logan Finch (Official SubredditDiscord)
Edited by Craig Groshek

🔔 More stories from author: Logan Finch


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