Happy Spooktober! It has been another year for Project Nevermor!
I haven’t had much time to update in a while, but the new job is going well. I have a better attitude about it now than when I started.
A little book news. The Mark of Thorn: Book of Scars is still planned for Novemeber 5th. But there is one thing that may not go as I planned. I recently found out that Createspace (where I publish my print books) is joining with Amazon, and honestly, it’s about time, but I don’t know how this change is going to affect the timeline in which I’m able to release Book of Scars in print. So, while the print book may not be available immediately, the ebook is still heading for the planned release date.
Lately, I’ve been interested in true horror stories. (yeah, I went from true crime to true horror) I found a channel on Youtube called Mr. Nightmare, one thing led to another, and I’ve been listening to these narrated stories and basically freaking myself out. Late at night… When I’m by myself…
Listening to these stories led me to realize something: they reminded me that I actually have a couple of scary stories to tell. Let me tell you, that thought makes me feel weird. Does everyone experience something like this at least once in their life? I don’t know. Maybe some people never do, but I have two.
Neither of them had a deadly ending, but they were frightening to me – as they would be to anyone in that situation.
When I look back on these events, I can’t help but think that if just one thing had been different, maybe things would have been a lot worse.
It’s not quite Halloween yet, but I was inspired to tell you about these events. They aren’t ghost stories, but they are pretty scary all the same.
Story 1: Shots Fired
This happened about two years ago. I used to work at a pet boarding facility. I had just arrived for my shift at 10 am. Often, I was right on the dot with my clock-in time, but I must have been at least a couple of minutes early on this occassion.
It was a normal day. I came in and said hello to my coworkers at the front desk and began to make my way to the time clock and then to the hallway where we kept all our charts. My coworker (let’s call him Matt) was already standing there, since the morning had been pretty slow. We didn’t have many pets boarding with us, so he had worked the morning by himself. He was supposed to leave at 10 when I came in.
I asked him how the morning had gone, and he said that it was “uneventful”. That would take on a new meaning for all of us.
We stood there for about 5 minutes, chatting, when I began to hear a sound from outside that sounded like hammering. I’m pretty sensitive to noises, so it bugged me that I didn’t know what it was. Was someone hammering on the outside of the building? Were they doing repairs? I asked Matt, and he didn’t think so. He was not very bothered by the sound, but I was curious about what it was.
Briefly, let me explain that this was a pet hotel, so we had a lot of fenced in areas surrounding the building where we could let the dogs out. Some small yards led into larger yards with only wire fencing around them. These areas stretched closer to the road. That said, to investigate the sound, I opened the side door and stepped out into a small yard that had a wooden fence, blocking my view of the road and the other yards.
The sound was definietly louder outside and distorted by an echo. I walked through the small fenced area and I was just about to unlock the gate to step through to the larger yard outside, when suddenly I realized that what I was hearing was the sound of steady gunshots.
I immediately came back into the facitlity, but I didn’t panic. I told Matt that I was certain that the sound was gunshots. They were nearby and I was concerned. I don’t know if he knew what to think about that, but we just looked at each other for a minute. Shortly after that, another coworker came into the hallway from the lobby and said, rather hurriedly:
“There’s a guy out there shooting a gun.”
I heard what she said, but I still didn’t quite understand it. I was alert, but the area around our workplace was surrounded by fields, and we’re in the south, so I was still thinking that maybe someone was in the field shooting their gun for fun or practice.
She said “No, there is a guy walking down the middle of the road in combat gear, shooting an assault rifle.”
That’s when things got really scary. We were in the back hallway, relatively safe, but there were a lot of doors even in the back because we have so many side yards. She told us that we needed to go to all the doors and check to make sure that they were locked, but we needed to keep low.
So I’m crouched down, going through the building, locking all the doors, all the while thinking that there is some crazy guy about to burst into our building and kill us. We did not know what he was doing or why, and it was extremely scary. At the time, we thought it was random, and some guy was out there rampaging, hell-bent on murder.
I stayed in the back with my coworkers, and some of them didn’t seem to know how to react, but I was looking for something that I could use as a weapon, and even shut myself in a side closet for a bit, just in case. I didn’t know if someone would suddenly be in that hallway I was just standing in, so I was trying to be smart about it.
Shortly afterward, we got word from the girls who were still in the lobby, crouched behind the front desk, that the guy had come into the parking lot and front yard of our workplace and had run around the side of the building. They had called the police, but no one knew where the guy had gone.
That made it worse.
The time passing by seemed like forever, but the cops responded quickly. One of my coworkers was married to a police officer, so I think that helped – as if they needed a reason to rush to the site of an active shooter. Her husband had his entire unit down there in a flash, and I think they were actually a gang unit instead. I have never seen so many cops in my life. City, County, Undercover. There were cop cars lining the streets and parking lot. There were helicopters circling overhead.
But they still had not caught the guy.
I remember my friend saying: “It’s okay now. The cops are here.” I’m like “No, it’s not okay until they find that guy.” I was still imagining that he might be crouched outside one of our doors, ready to come in and take us hostage or something. I was not intending to be caught by surprise, no matter what happened.
Eventually, there were so many cops crawling all over the place that I stopped being afraid. A few minutes later, we got word that the shooter had been caught. He was picked up on the next road over, and he was completely naked. We all assume that he took off his clothes so that the police would have no reason to shoot him, because obviously he had no weapon.
Later, we were finally able to learn what happened. Apparently, the guy was a disgruntled employee from the factory across the street. He had recently been dismissed and had been escorted out of the building. He then went to his car, put on his gear, got his gun, and started shooting toward the factory – not at us. But we didn’t know that. He shot into several cars in the parking lot, shot at the security booths, and allegedely even shot into a car that happened to be driving toward him when he was walking down the middle of the road.
No one was hurt. Thank goodness. None of the animals were hurt either. But later on, the shooter was charged with 10 counts of attempted murder for every person who had been nearby in the direction he was shooting. Even the poor woman who had been mowing the lawn across the street, on a mower that my coworker and I saw abandoned when we had to walk down the road to deliver a dog to an owner. I wonder what SHE might have felt at the time.
Luckily for the cops, there was an extensive security setup throughout our building and grounds, which captured a lot of footage throughout the property. They were able to get very good images of the shooter. It was so weird to watch the video feed as each of us in the building became aware of the shots, and how we scrambled to action. I could see the girls in the lobby – one of which actually opened the front door to check out the sound before proptly slamming it shut and getting behind the desk to call the police. It was even creepier to see the shooter walk into our parking lot – not so far from the front door – and even check a couple of our cars as if he might have been able to steal them.
When I was finally able to go outside, I saw that there were shell casings all over the front lawn of my workplace. Dozens. Not only that, but the gun itself had been abandoned beside a large tree at the front of the building, apparently just before he had been seen running around the side of our building, where he entered the wooded area and stripped.
The barrel of the gun was clogged with dirt, and was jammed, so he abandoned it. But I can’t help but wonder how things might have gone differently with just a few changes to the situation.
I am so thankful that there were no customers present, that no one was in the parking lot or coming into the building for their shift (including me), and that none of us were outside doing activities with the dogs in the larger yards near the road.
Because he might have shot at us too. If a dog had been barking at him through the fence and drew his attention, what would have happened?
Ever since that day, it was taboo to say that a day had been “uneventful”.
I wonder what might have happened if I was just a couple of minutes later to work, if I had still been in the parking lot at the time, or if the man’s gun hadn’t jammed when it did. Would he have tried to get into my workplace? I guess I can’t say. I’m just glad that it didn’t happen.
I did not realize that I still have such strong feelings about this happening until I was writing this – until I went back and read a couple of news articles about it. I saw the names of my employers and remembered exactly how I felt that day. It was truly terrifying. Honestly, to remember it, I almost started crying.
Now, even still, when I hear a gunshot that I’m not quite prepared for in a field near my house, I always get a feeling of panic and I remember this incident.
Story 2: Paint Job
I said that neither of these stories were supernatural, but this one – well – think of it what you will.
My husband and I had just bought our house. It was our dream home, and still is, but at the time, it needed a little bit of work before we would be ready to move in – and we had to wait a bit longer than we had intended in order to actually get the house.
Our offer had been accepted, and I want to say that the last family moved out around Thanksgiving, but due to some issues with the loan, we were not able to officially get the house until January. Then after that, we wanted to do a few things before moving our stuff in. Like paint.
We did not move in until the beginning of February, so the house sat “empty” from late November until then. During that time, we were both in and out of the house, working on what we could. We did some work on the outside of the house and were particularly interested in redoing the living room ceiling and taking down some terrible wallpaper in order to paint, and also painting the master bedroom upstairs. Those were the three main things.
The house is a split-level, which means that it has essentially 3 levels. There is a base level beneath where you can come in through the garage, go up seven steps and then you’re in the main level, then go up seven more steps (above the garage) and you’re upstairs where the bedrooms are.
One night, I had just gotten off work, but I felt like stopping by the house on my way to my previous home so that I could paint a little. In fact, I think I was determined to finish the bedroom that night.
When I got there, I parked in the garage and closed it, then went upstairs to the first level. There was no lock on the door that led into the kitchen, so I went inside and was then on the main level. We had been working in the living room, so we had plastic sheets all over the floor to protect from dust and paint. I probably looked around to admire what we had accomplished before heading upstairs.
Up the second flight of steps, I went to the bedroom where I had left my painting supplies from before. This room was also covered in plastic. I set my purse in the hallway so that it wouldn’t get paint on it. I only had my phone on me. I don’t remember feeling uncomfortable to go into the house, even though I was by myself. Maybe because it was still daylight when I first arrived, but I’m not sure that it was. It was winter, and it was very cold that day. Likely, I turned on a lot of the lights and checked all the doors to make sure they were locked. Then I started painting.
Oh yeah, and one other thing. I had earbuds in during this, so I was not paying attention to what was going on around me. I felt secure.
I don’t know what time it was. Maybe around 6 or 7. At one point, I took out my earbuds (or maybe I just turned the music off) and I was messing with my phone to find whatever music I wanted to listen to. Maybe it was miraculous, but it just happened to be right then that I decided to do this.
The house was silent, as of course it should be. Within those few seconds while I was standing there, music off, I heard a screeching noise that sounded like the garage door rising — but it did not rise all the way. It was like it lifted quickly and went back down, then I heard rapid sounds moving through the bottom level of the house beneath me.
It happened so fast, but I remember how it went, even though it was only a few seconds. No matter where I am, if I hear a noise that I don’t recognize, I freeze and listen, trying to see if I will hear it again, or if I can decide what it is. This was not one of those singular noises that make you go ‘what was that?’. No. This was a garage door sound, rapid movement through the garage and up the steps and into the kitchen. The sounds did not stop for me to even consider that it was a simple bump in the night.
Someone was in my house. I was sure of it.
I had never called 911 before, and that thought made me nervous by itself, but I was standing there with my phone in my hand and I KNEW that I could not hesitate. Whether it was or it wasn’t, I had to act.
There was a bathroom off the master bedroom where I was painting, but the doorknobs were old and I knew that the lock wasn’t very good. But it was the only place I could think to go. My purse was in the hallway with my keys, and I don’t believe I even considered going for it. I dialed 911 as I went into the bathroom, closed the door quietly, and sat down in front of the door to lean against it. I had no choice.
When the operator answered, I quietly told him ‘I think someone is in my house.’
I gave him my address as quietly as possible, and I don’t remember everything I said to him. I remember him periodically asking me questions to try to get me to talk to him, but I didn’t WANT to talk to him. I knew that the walls were paper thin, and he kept asking me things like ‘do you still hear noises?’ I would answer “yeah”. His voice seemed loud to me, and I kind of wanted to punch him through the phone, because I was afraid that whoever was there would hear his voice. Not to mention that the house was empty, and so there was also an empty house echo.
I sat there against the door, knowing there was a gap under the door that someone could likely see my shadow through, but leaning against the door was all I could do. I tried to stretch out my legs and wedge myself between the door and the cabinet in front of me, but my legs were almost too short. All I knew was that if someone had tried to get in, that leverage was the only thing that would keep them out since the door wouldn’t lock.
During all this, I was still hearing sounds of movement throughout the house. No, it didn’t stop. But after they had gotten into the main part of the house, they seemed to slow way down. They were moving through the house at their leisure. I heard someone walking on the plastic in the living room downstairs, and eventually they came upstairs.
The bathroom I was in was actually back to back with the other upstairs bathroom. I heard them go into that other bathroom. I heard them tapping on the countertop, like drumming with their knuckles. Shortly afterward, I thought I heard them come out and then look into the other two bedrooms on the other side of the hallway.
I stayed on the phone with the operator the whole time, and I felt like I sat there forever. My legs and back were hurting where I was stretching, trying to brace myself against the door. Where were the cops? It was true that it was a winter night and the roads were bad, but I was about to be axe murdered, and it shouldn’t have been taking them that long! Honestly, I had no idea how long it had been.
Then, I heard a footstep on the plastic that was covering the bedroom floor beyond the bathroom, over by the doorway.
I remember thinking ‘Oh my God, they are going to find me’. I tried to be quiet. The operator tried to talk to me again and I didn’t want to answer. I was probably the most scared I had ever been in my life. I was already certain that they could hear me quietly talking to the operator, but yet they didn’t hurry away.
I believe that the footstep on the bedroom floor plastic was the last sound that I heard. It did get silent after a bit. I never heard the person leave, and certainly didn’t hear them go downstairs or through the garage.
They never tried to get into the bathroom. I don’t know if they even approached the door, but I remember imagining them standing there, hearing me and knowing I was on the phone with the cops, and trying to decide what they wanted to do at that point. Would they have enough time to do what they had really come to do? What an eerie thought, even now.
Finally, the disbatcher told me that the cops had arrived, and they were outside the house. He said they had looked around the house outside and were at the sunroom door, which was just beyond the bedroom, and that I needed to let them in. I remember saying “are you sure?” because I was still afraid to come out. He told me yes, and so I did.
I opened the bathroom door, and went into the sunroom, where I saw 4 or 5 police officers waiting. They came into the house, guns drawn, spreading out to search the whole house. I think there were a few outside, but I was left in the sunroom by myself after that. The operator had hung up. My teeth were chattering and I was shaking.
The police searched the house inside and out. They did not find anyone. All the doors to get into the house were locked. My purse was untouched. They checked the rooms, the closets, and mentioned to me that they did not see attic access. I told them that there was a panel in the closet downstairs, but I don’t believe I had heard anything that might have sounded like someone trying to climb into the attic. They could not have done that silently.
After searching the house, they didn’t find anyone.
Eventually, the officers came back upstairs and gathered around me, and at that point, I admit, I felt a little foolish. They asked me questions about the house – likely to help me feel more at ease – and complemented the house. They apologized for it taking them so long to get there, but the roads were a bit slick. I remember them smiling as they chatted with me. I didn’t realize until later that it had taken them twenty minutes to get there even though I only live five-ten minutes from town.
But one officer had a more serious look. He pulled out his notepad and asked me: “what sounds did you hear, exactly?” And I completely flaked. I felt like a fool when they didn’t find anyone, and quickly convinced myself that I had imagined the whole thing. I told him “I don’t know. I just heard a lot of sounds — but I’m not familiar with this house and I don’t know, maybe it was mice!” I really just felt like an idiot, and I brushed the entire thing off.
Sadly, I let them believe that I was just some silly person who heard a little noise and panicked – though the 911 recording would tell them otherwise, I’m sure.
They said they were leaving and asked if I would also like to leave while they were still around. I said that yes, I definietly would.
I walked outside with them and opened the garage from the outside so that I could get my car. When I was leaving, the notepad officer said something about the garage, and I said ‘oh yeah, that’s where I thought they came in. The garage’. Even though, yes, I should have told him everything while he was writing it down. He kind of eyed the garage door, but they did not check it again. I got in my car and went home.
Afterward, I called my husband and parents to tell them what happened. Actually, I think I went straight to my husband’s workplace, because he was working nights at the time. And even though I brushed it off to the cops, the more I thought about it, the more I was convinced that someone had been there.
The next day, we all went back to the house because I wanted to figure it out and try to relive it. I had them experiment with sounds while I was upstairs – had them go up and down the stairs and open doors. And yes, those sounds sounded like what I had heard.
I think the thing that fully sealed the deal for me was when we went to the garage, and even though the door was down, my dad was able to lift it up and mimic the sound as if someone had lifted the door just enough to duck under it before letting it back down.
I was convinced that someone was in the house with me, but I never heard a person say a word or make a sound. There was no defining noise – like the sound of running water – that would obviously let me know that it was a person. But someone was there. I’m 100% sure.
I do not know who the person was or what they wanted. Maybe they thought the house was empty, as it had been for several nights. It was very cold that night, and maybe it was someone who wanted a warm place to stay. Maybe they were a neighbor, merely curious about what we were doing to the inside of the house, and meant no harm, only wanting to look around. Or maybe they knew I was there.
What I know is that the sight of my car in the garage did not stop them from coming in. The sight of my purse in the hall did not stop them. I’m not sure what did. Maybe it was the sound of my voice on the phone with the disbatcher as I was cowering in the bathroom.
But I can’t help but wonder what might have happened if I hadn’t taken my earbuds out at that exact moment, in enough time to actually hear the first sounds of someone coming into the house.
Right after that, I decided I wanted a Rottweiler and a gun. (I didn’t get either.) Well, the scare passed, but I still think about it on occassion. My husband even went to meet the neighbors after that to check them out, but they are older couples, and he didn’t get any weird vibes. They didn’t even seem aware that the cops were swarming all over the house and yard that night!
We still live here, and I’ve since grown more comfortable in the house. I feel perfectly safe here, and I have never heard any sounds like that since then, which makes me believe without a shadow of doubt that someone was in the house with me. And yet I wonder… I never heard that person leave, and the police never checked the attic… Though they might have easily exited the house after we had all left for the night.
I don’t know which of these two incidents was scarier for me. Maybe the second one, even though the threat in the first story was clear. The cops showed up quickly and I knew that the threat was outside the building. In the second event, the threat was unknown and in the house with me.
Whew! I am creeping myself out just writing this stuff. These were both very scary situations that I was involved in, and I certainly hope that there are people out there who NEVER have to experience anything remotely like this.
Anyway, I thought I would share these experiences with you since I’ve been thinking about them.