We moved over into the next county, about thirty miles away from our old house, and despite the threatening text message, didn't encounter whoever had been tormenting us again; for a while at least.
In June of 2007, my family and I went to Yellowstone National Park, and my friend Riley, whom I mentioned previously, went with us. It took us two days to drive to Yellowstone, and by the time we got to the rental house we were staying in, it was dark.
That night as we were unpacking, I saw a man walking across the street from the house. There were no streetlights, so the only light was the moonlight and the porch light on the house. The person across the street turned and stared at me. Neither of us moved a muscle. After what felt like an eternity, but in reality was probably only a few seconds, Riley came out to help me bring the remaining bags in.
I heard him walking up behind me, and turned around, startled.
“Dude, what's wrong?” he said.
“Look. Across the street,” I replied.
“At what?” Riley said, confused.
I looked back, and the man was gone.
“Never mind,” I said. We went inside.
The next day, we were getting ready to head into the park. I noticed that my camera was gone.
“Has anyone seen my camera anywhere?” I asked.
My mom replied, “Did you leave it in the car?”
“Nope,” I said. “Checked in the car, checked all over my room. I can't find it anywhere.”
My parents, Noah, and Riley all helped me look all over the house for about ten minutes before I finally shrugged and said, “I must have left it at home. I'll take pictures with my phone.”
There was a huge line of cars on the road into the park, and for some reason the traffic was moving really slow, so it took us nearly an hour just to get into the park. While traffic was at a standstill, I looked out the window, and saw a man walking through the trees by the road. He looked over towards the road, and stopped. He seemed to be staring directly at me.
Every time I've seen this man, I could never make out any distinctive features. This time was no different.
I knew he was quite tall, and also fairly thin, but that's really all I could tell about him. The foliage was blocking his facial features, but I was sure he was staring at me. He lifted what looked like a camera to his face and stared at us through the viewfinder. Traffic started moving again, and I lost sight of the man.
Later that day, we were getting back into our car after seeing Old Faithful. Noah and Riley had went to use the restroom. As I opened the back door, I noticed something: My name, written in the dust on the window.
“Hey,” I said. “Look at this.”
“What is it?” my dad said as he got out of the driver’s seat.
He saw it and laughed. “It was probably Noah or Riley.”
We weren’t going to think anything else of it, but then Riley and Noah came back from the restroom, and Riley saw the writing on the window.
“Who did that?” he asked.
“You didn’t do it?” I responded. “Noah, was this you?”
“Was what me?” he asked, sounding confused.
“Somebody wrote my name on the window. Who was it?”
They just stared at me.
“Come on, I know one of you did it.”
They both swore they didn’t.
My thoughts went to the man who had been following me. He told me I couldn’t run. I had seen him in the park earlier. I know I saw him. My parents must have seen the worried look on my face.
My dad spoke first: “I’m sure it was just someone from school who saw you getting out of the car and decided to play a prank.”
“You don’t have to worry about him,” my mom said; referring to the man. “He’s out of our lives. Forever.”
I hoped and prayed my mom was right.
We got back into the car and headed toward the Yellowstone Grand Canyon.
As we were looking down into the canyon at the Yellowstone River, my mom said she wanted to take a picture of us. We stood with our backs to the river, she told us to smile, and took the picture.
That evening, we went to a pizzeria for dinner, and then headed back to our rental house. We were all talking about the day's events, and looking at the pictures we had taken when I noticed something: My camera sitting on the kitchen counter.
“That wasn't there before, was it?” my mom asked.
“No,” I said. “I checked the counter several times and it wasn't there.”
“He's right,” Riley said. “I looked there too.”
I remembered the man I saw earlier that day holding a camera that looked exactly like mine. I turned it on, and started looking through the pictures.
There were about thirty pictures on the camera that I know I hadn't taken. The first few were blurry pictures of the inside of the rental house, taken with all the lights off. According to the timestamps on the photos, they were taken about an hour after we went to bed the night we arrived.
After that, there were a couple photos of us eating breakfast in the morning that appeared to be taken from my bedroom. There were also a couple of us looking around for the camera before we went into the park. One was taken from behind the couch in the living room, which is about a foot and a half away from the wall. The second was taken from the closet in Riley's bedroom. There was a shot of us in the car, driving into the park. There were several shots of Old Faithful, and there were several shots of my family, Riley, and I standing in the crowd watching the geyser. After that, there was a photo of us smiling for my mom. The back of her head was partially blocking the shot. Next was a photo taken from some sort of basement or service tunnel. In the next photo, the camera seemed to be pointing upwards. There was a ladder leading to an open trapdoor that seemed to lead into an open closet. I looked closely at the picture and recognized the shirts hanging in the closet. They were mine. The final photo was taken from the front window of the rental house. I could see our car in the driveway, and we were walking up to the front door.
We were all terrified. This man, this psycho, was still following us, and he had been in the house with us.
My dad grabbed a large flashlight that we had found in the laundry room the previous night and walked toward my bedroom. He opened the closet, and we saw the trapdoor in the floor. Gripping the flashlight, my dad opened the trapdoor and looked down inside. The trapdoor and ladder looked exactly like the ones from the photo.
He shone the light down into the space. He said he couldn't see anything down there. He started to climb down the ladder.
“There's some sort of tunnel down here,” he said. “It goes off to the left and the right, and there's more ladders. This tunnel probably leads into every house on the street.”
“Get back up here,” my mom said. “That freak could still be down there!”
My dad started to climb back up the ladder. “Whoever it was, they aren't down there anymore.”
“What if they're still in the house somewhere?” my mom said.
“I'm gonna check the rest of the house,” my dad said. “Nicole, call the police.”
My mom grabbed the phone. There was no dial tone. She reached into her pocket, looking for her cell phone.
“I left my cell phone in the car,” she said.
“I have mine,” I said. I pulled my phone out of my pocket.
Suddenly, the power went out, leaving us in the dark. I turned my phone on, and called the police. They said they would send someone out right away. They asked me to stay on the line, but the call started to break up. We heard my parents' door close. Inside, we heard a noise. It sounded like someone was trying to scream, but their mouth was being covered.
“Scott?” my mom said.
“Dad?” Noah said.
We heard a thud against the wall, then what sounded like someone being dragged across the floor.
“Scott!” my mom shouted.
“Hello?” I said. “I think he's got my dad. He was in the next room, and we heard a scream.”
The operator didn't respond.
“Hello? Can you hear me?” Nothing.
“Please, answer me!”
Still nothing. I hung up.
I started to put my phone back in my pocket, but felt it vibrate just before I did.
I checked it. One new message.
I opened the message, and it was a picture of us, taken with some sort of night vision camera, huddled there in the dark, me on the phone with the police.
Accompanying the image was a text message: “I told you, you can't run.”
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