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From: Mike <> Oct. 27, 2013

To: me <>

Hey, mom. I’m coming back on land soon. I know it’s been a while, and I can’t wait to see you again. It’s been a long deployment for me. I’m sorry I haven’t written you much lately. We’ve been in some sketchy places so they’ve sorta cut off the internet on the boat for awhile. I wasn’t able to talk to Katie and Rebecca at all, either, and that’s honestly why I’m writing this to you right now. Katie sent me a lot of emails while the internet was out, and I’m worried. I’m really worried. I don’t think I want to go home right now. I hope I’m overreacting over all of this, but I don’t know what’s going on over there right now. That’s why I’m forwarding all the emails to you now. Maybe you can help me make sense of this and figure out what to do. I want to be there for my family but I just don’t know. I’m actually a little scared, mom. Please help me.

From: Katie <> Sep. 10, 2013

To: me <>

Hey, babe. Just wanted to let you know that Rebecca and I are missing you bunches and can’t wait until Daddy’s home! She’s so excited that you’ll actually get to be back for her ninth birthday this year, and let me tell you better have a good present for her (I’m kidding, just you being back is the best thing she could wish for). Yeah, I know it’ s a little early to start celebrating. I was just shopping and ended up in the baking aisle and it just reminded me. Oh, I wonder what flavor of cake I should make? Oh, well, that’s for later.

School’s going well so far. At least I hope it is. She seems to be getting along with the other children alright, but I don’t know. She doesn’t seem to be making a lot of actual friends. In fact, she doesn’t seem to be making any. I hear during recess she prefers to play more by herself and she’s only really mentioned one other girl to me. I know, I know. She takes after you at that age, but I still worry. I mean, what if she can’t make any friends? I don’t think she just wants to be with herself. She’s too outgoing, like her mother. I don’t know, Mike, maybe I’m just worrying too much. It’s only been two weeks, after all.

From: Katie <> Sep. 12, 2013

To: me <>

It looks like our girl has made a friend! I saw her playing and talking with a girl while they were waiting to get picked up after  school. She wouldn’t tell me her name when I asked (kids always have to keep secrets at that age) but later I heard her say something like Leslie to herself, so I think that must be the girl’s name. It sounds like a rather lovely name, don’t you agree?

I can’t wait to see you again. These last couple of months seem to be stretched out longer than the others. I’d like to think that me and Rebecca should’ve gotten used to this by now, but these deployments still get to us sometimes. I just get so lonely sometimes. I know you do too and that makes me feel a little better in a strange way. It just hurts sometimes, even now.  

From: Katie <> Sep. 17, 2013

To: me <>

Not much is happening these last few days, except the toilet’s been backing up. Exciting. I’ve tried asking Rebecca more about her friend, but she won’t tell me anything. Acts like she doesn’t even know what I’m talking about, badly, I might add. Were you this secretive at that age? I can’t remember if I was or not. I imagine I was. I’m sure you heard about how much of a brat I was.

Oh, I ran into Tyler at the store today. You remember him at the Christmas party, right? Well, I bumped into him and we got talking and found out that he actually lives in the same neighborhood as we do! So I went out on a limb and asked if it would be okay if he watched Rebecca this weekend while I made my day trip to Atlanta and he said yes! I like your mother a lot, but I don’t want to keep burdening her and this plan doesn’t make me have to do an hour detour to drop Rebecca off for just a day. Tyler’s just a teddy bear, I assure you and I’ll be sure to call and have your mother call to make sure the house hasn’t burnt down or anything.

From: Katie <> Sep. 19, 2013

To: me <>

 Hey, daddy. I hacked into mommy’s account (shhhh! don’t tell!). I don’t like the man she got to babysit me. I don’t think my new friend Leslie likes him either after I told her about him. I don’t think you’ll like him after I tell you about him, either, but I don’t have time now. Don’t worry though, he’s not mean to me or anything like that. I’ll tell you later.

From: Katie <> Sep. 21, 2013

To: me <>

Well, I came home to find Rebecca with bruises on her arms. She says she got them from “roughhousing” but she wouldn’t say with who. I asked Tyler and he said that no one came over, and no, I don’t think he had anything to do with it either. He’s much too passive. Besides, they don’t look like she got them from a someone. They look more like some kind of rope burn, but as a bruise. I’ll have to remember to send you a picture and see what you think of it.

From: Katie <> Sep. 25, 2013

To: me <>

Ok, something really weird is going on here. Last night I went to bed but forgot to turn the hallway lights off. In the middle of the night I woke up because I heard this popping sound and went out to the hall and found all the lights had went out. So I went to get a flashlight and ended up stepping on some of the shattered lightbulb glass. Every damn lightbulb in the hall had blown up. Not burnt out, exploded. What could cause that? I called the electric company but apparently they can’t come until tomorrow. Ugh.

In other news, I keep asking Rebecca when she wants to bring her friend over, but she keeps brushing me off when I ask. I don’t know what it is. Could she be embarrassed of me or something? I don’t remember being so embarrassed of my mom at that age that I wouldn’t bring anyone over. Hmph, she must get that from you (jk).

From: Katie <> Sep. 30, 2013

To: me <>

I miss you so much. Yeah, it’s going to be one of those really sappy things, but I’m getting to the end of my rope on this. I mean, you haven’t replied to any of these damn emails yet. Yeah, I get it. You don’t always get internet. You’re out in the middle of the goddamn ocean. I get it. It’s just that it keeps feeling like I’m talking into a black hole. Nothing comes out, or by the time anything does come out it’s no longer relevant. God, I might as well be married to someone in a different time period. I’m crying as I write this, could you guess? It’s been years of this, and I just can’t get used to it. Why? Why can all the other wives and mothers be cool with their husbands just off and leaving them for months on end and not me? And don’t be all like it’s hard on them too. They don’t show it like I do. What am I even saying? You can’t even read this damn thing. I’m talking to a dead man. You can’t read any of these fucking words I’m saying. Blah be bleedleblop. Dippity duppy doo. alskdflasjldfjlaskjdlfkjaldkjlkfjalkdsjflkj fuckshitfuck

From: Katie <> Oct. 1, 2013

To: me <>

Hey, hacked mommy’s account again. She got a little drunk last night so don’t take her last email too seriously. She was really upset. I’m not sure about what, but I think it’s about that man coming back here the other night, the same one from last time. I really don’t like him now. I wish I could tell but I can’t. I don’t want to say it to me even. He’s around too much. I don’t like him, and Leslie doesn’t either. Oh, I’ll have to tell you about Leslie sometime too. She’s really cool. I don’t think mommy will like her that’s why I never have her come around. She’s not her type or something like that. But I think you two will really like each other. I gotta go. 

From: Katie <> Oct. 7, 2013

To: me <>

I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, baby. I’ve done something very bad, something absolutely awful, horrible. I’ve cheated on you. I’ve been cheating on you with Tyler. Yeah, that Tyler. It started last year, towards the end of your deployment. Rebecca was away at my mom’s place for the evening, and me and him had been flirting around in the office for awhile so I called him up. I don’t know what came over me. That’s a lie. I was just so lonely. You had been gone for almost nine months then, and I was only with you for three months before then, three months that kept getting interrupted by work, Rebecca, and just real life in general. Even when we were together, it didn’t feel like you were all there, like you were constantly tired of everything going on around you. And then you really weren’t there anymore, and I broke. 

I’m so sorry. It stopped as soon as you got back, I promise. Those business trips really were just that. But then you went away again and there he was, someone I could actually cry and talk to without having to interface through a damn screen. He was actually there, and that was what I needed. But you’re always here, in my mind, my heart. It’s really you that I need, that I’ve always needed. I can’t do it anymore, can’t keep hurting you. I’m sure you saw through all the bullshit excuses that I made, like having him come over just to “babysit”. I was desperate and wanted an excuse in case Rebecca ended up saying something (in fact I’m sure she already has and just deleted it. You don’t have to tell me.) I’m sure you’re hurt. I’m sure you hate me. I understand. But I’m breaking it off now. Tyler nor any other man besides you will come here again, I promise (if that still counts for anything now). 

I understand if you want a divorce, but I just want you to think of Rebecca before we go through with anything. She needs mother and a father, even if one of them is gone most of the time, especially then. She at least needs to know that she’s the world to us. And honestly, I don’t want to lose you. I don’t know what I’d do if you just went away for good. Please, honey. I’m so sorry.

From: Katie <> Oct. 09, 2013

To: me <>

I’m sure you don’t want to hear from me anymore if you’ve gotten to read the last message, but this is important. It’s about Rebecca. She’s gotten more bruises, both on her arms and legs this time. She still won’t tell me where she got them, only that she was “roughhousing” again. What’s more, I went to the parent-teacher conference the other day, and one of the comments that stuck out to me was about her “introversion”. Her teacher said that she doesn’t want to play or work with any of the other children. She sits by herself at lunch and spends recess alone picking flowers or catching bugs. She seemed happy, he said, but he still kept encouraging her to interact with the other children, out of fear that it could “impact later career and social development.” He also said it doesn’t seem to have any effect so far. I was very confused and tried to tell them about her friend Leslie. He just gave a weird look for a little bit before I finally got it out of him: there isn’t even a girl named Leslie in the class! 

I don’t understand. I suppose it’s normal for her to have an imaginary friend, but why not say anything to me about it? Why not acknowledge her at all or pretend play with her at the house? It’s like she’s trying to keep her a secret from me, and I can’t figure out why. It’s not like I ever discouraged her from imagining things. At least, I hope I never did that. And the bruises, where are they from? I’m really worried, Mike. What if she has a bully? Maybe some neighborhood kid that’s not from the school is doing this. I’ve talked to teachers, but they deny seeing anything at school. God, I hope they don’t think I had anything to do with it. What do you think is going on?

From: Katie <> Oct. 12, 2013

To: me <>

It’s really late, but I can’t sleep. The house is settling or something. There’s a rattling in the pipes, not too loud but loud enough to keep me awake. And none of the new lightbulbs I bought for the hall work. In fact, none of the lightbulbs I ever buy seem to work. They all burn out after a few minutes. Goddamn contractor the electric company sent me didn’t do jack shit apparently. Whatever. Honestly I don’t even know why I’m writing right now. I just need something to calm my mind down right now. I guess it’s working. My eyelids are drooping already.

I just wish I could hold you again. Since the conference, Rebecca doesn’t want to talk to me anymore. I don’t know how to get what’s wrong out of her. She’s completely shut me out, and sometimes she literally locks me out and won’t let me step foot in her room. I don’t know what to do. I’m sure you would be able to fix it, to get her to talk to you. Much as I hate to admit this as a mother, she likes you more. You two just act more like each other, more compatible I guess. She’ll definitely chose you in the divorce. God, what am I even doing? Why do I even think you’re reading this? Well, if you are, please just tell me, honestly, are we completely broken? Is there anything left to this marriage, to us? I still love you. Even with everything between us, I don’t think I can stop. What am I even saying?

From: Katie <> Oct. 17, 2013

To: me <>

I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know what I’ve done. The police will be here soon. What will they think when they see me? Tyler came over here tonight. He didn’t want to end it, at last not so quickly as I did. he wanted to see me again. I told him not to come. He wouldn’t listen. I kept telling him it’s over. He wouldn’t listen. My mind is racing at a hundred miles an hour. I had to tell you first, before anyone else did. You have to hear this from me first. I’m so scared.

Tyler came over to try and talk to me, try to get me to come back to him. We had a fight over it. A loud one. Rebecca must’ve heard. I put her to bed, but she must’ve woken up and heard. Eventually I got fed up with everything, forgot that Rebecca was there and wanted to forget that Tyler was, so I stormed off to the bed room and locked myself in there. Tyler pounded the door at first, calling for me to come out, but I wouldn't listen. It got quiet in a few minutes, but I still wouldn’t come out. I thought he was still there. I didn’t hear him walk away. It kept quiet for a little bit longer, but then I heard Rebecca. Her voice was soft, but everything else was so silent that I could hear her. She said, “You’re a bad man.”

Tyler said things. It didn’t matter what he said. Rebecca just kept saying, “You’re a bad man. I don’t like you. I hate you.” Things like that. She got louder. She didn’t yell, just got louder. Her voice was so cold sounding. A girl shouldn’t sound like that.

I heard a loud crash then a rush of water and Tyler yelling. I ran out of the bedroom and saw Rebecca standing in a puddle in front of the bathroom. I ran over to see what was going on. The back of the toilet had somehow shot off its lid and was spraying water everywhere. Tyler was trying to push it back with his hands. Rebecca just kept staring at him. She looked so hateful. I asked her what was wrong but she ignored me. 

“Leslie,” she said, “Come out. He’s a bad man Leslie. Come out.”

The toilet started trembling a little. She kept calling for Leslie. He was too busy trying to stop the spray to notice. 

“He’s a bad man, Leslie!” she said. “Get him!”

Tyler turned around to look at me and Rebecca. He looked as confused as I felt. The toilet suddenly shook violently and a thing popped out of it and grabbed Tyler. I don’t know what it is. I don’t even know what it could be. It looked like some kind of eyeless squid, glowing as if it was made out of light. Its tentacles were very thick and strong looking. I think they broke a few of his ribs from just grabbing onto him. There was so many of them, over ten I think. Tyler, he looked so terrified. 

“Kill him Leslie! Kill him!” Rebecca screamed. She screamed it Mike! The tentacles began to squeeze. I couldn’t look at that thing anymore. I kept staring at Rebecca. I don’t know what happened to our daughter. She had such a look of malice about her as she watched that, that thing kill a man. Mike, she was controlling it! Our daughter was controlling a monster and was using it to kill people! She was smiling about it too. 

Mike I panicked. I went back into the bedroom and grabbed the gun. The thing had already killed Tyler when I got back and was trying to take him back into the toilet with it. Oh god I think he’s still in the toilet, I can still hear it gurgling and overflowing. The hallway’s flooded by now. It’s starting to flood. There’s blood in the water. Mike it’s not my blood in the water. Mike it’s not my blood. It’s Rebecca’s. It’s Rebecca’s blood. She wasn’t our daughter. She was evil. She had killed a man. Oh god, Mike I killed her. I killed our daughter!

From: Dr. Jerry Fellini <jerry.fellini@saint.margarets.mail> Oct. 20, 2013

To: me <>

Dear Mr. Goldsmith,

I am Dr. Jerry Fellini, of Saint Margaret’s Hospital and I have an important message regarding your wife and daughter, Katherine and Rebecca. You should also be expecting to hear this by telephone or from your chain of command as well, if you haven’t already. A few days ago they were brought into the emergency room. They both had gunshot wounds. Your daughter had two in the chest, and your wife had one in the head. However, they both survived and are expected to make a full recovery. I’m not sure how to express just how miraculous this all is. These wounds are usually fatal in any other case, but they, somehow, managed to pull through. I think it’s fair to say you’re one of the luckiest men alive today, Mr. Goldsmith. You truly are blessed. 

I have to say, however, that both of their recovery processes will be long for both of them. From what I understand, neither of them will be out of the hospital by the time your ship gets back. Your daughter may have breathing difficulties throughout her life, but right now it’s too early to say. About your wife, I’m going to spare you much of the details until we can discuss it in person but also be frank about it. There are so far no signs of significant brain damage but she will likely have to stay even longer than your daughter for neurological and psychological monitoring. She’s confessed that she inflicted both your daughter’s and her own wounds, and she seems a little delusional. Again, the details of both their statuses can wait until you get back. For now, just try to understand how lucky you are that you still have a family. Feel free to ask me any questions you may have, though.


 Dr. Fellini

From: Rebecca <> Oct. 25, 2013

To: me <>

Hey daddy, it’s me again. I’m able to get out of bed now. It really freaked out all the doctors when they saw me walking around. They say I shouldn’t be able to move around or anything like that yet, but I feel fine. Well, I’m all achy, but it doesn’t hurt anymore to stand up than it does to lie down. They all seem really excited for me for some reason. I guess I’m like a super rare case or something. I don’t care because it let me talk them into letting me make my own email account so now I can talk to you without using mommy’s! Yay!

Yeah, you’ve should’ve already heard I was in the hospital. Mommy is too. We’re both fine though so don’t worry about us. Leslie was there so she wouldn’t let anything bad happen to us at all. Yeah, first thing you need to know about my friend Leslie, she’s real good at first aid. Better than any doctor could be, I’ll bet. She also doesn’t want to see her friends or their moms get hurt. That’s why she helped mommy too, even though she doesn’t really like her anymore. (I don’t blame her.) When me and mommy get back home I’ll have to be sure to keep an eye out to make sure they get along. 

You know, I should probably tell you more about her, but I don’t want to. Not right now. It’s one of those things you just got to be there for, kinda like a movie or a funny thing between you and your friends. I will say that I meet her last month in a dream. No kidding. I dreamed she was there, then I woke up and she was still there! We’ve been friends ever since. She’s real cool when you get used to her. I think you guys will have lots of fun together. Just be careful when you play with her. She gets too excited sometimes. Well, I have to go now. The nurse keeps trying to look over my shoulder. Some people can be so nosy. Can’t wait until you get home. Love you.

P. S. Almost forgot. What did you get me for my birthday this year?

Written by Santo Tigris
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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