I'll first tell you what I do for a living, as it will bring some understanding to my situation. I run my own business, if you could call it that. I've thought of it more as a personal service. I break into the home or building of a client's choice, destroy or steal whatever they want, provide proof of the action, and I get payed (quite substantially, if I may add). My clients usually take the form of a middle class man angered at his boss, or a recently dumped individual who wants revenge on their ex. Essentially, I do the work that one has the anger and desire to do, but doesn't have the actual nerve to do it themselves. It payed well, and it gave me some interesting places to explore, so I've been quite content with the job.

About a few weeks ago, I received a usual call for what I expected to be a usual job.

The caller requested me to break into an abandoned home not too far from my area. He requested me to retrieve a few recordings of sorts. VHS tapes, cassettes, DVDs, they didn't matter. All he really cared about was any that looked "interesting", as he described. Despite the fact that information is important in my work, he didn't tell me anything that would be useful. He wouldn't even tell me anything about himself, which almost made me turn him down. However, he offered a rather impressive payment.

When the caller had mentioned "abandoned home" I had expected the location away from the local population, and generally safe to break into during the day. To my frustrated surprise, the place was in the middle of the damn street, right along a string of other apartments and surrounding buildings (most of which were populated). People on the sidewalk strolled past it, sometimes being taken back by its derelict state.

I came back after dark, and it was just how I wanted it to be. There were no pedestrians anywhere, and there were no lights on in the surrounding structures. It appeared to be an easy target.

The home stood two stories, with a small attic at the highest point. It didn't look like the most enjoyable place to live, even before it had aged. The best word I can think of to describe its living quality would be "confined." It appeared to have only a single window, which was on the attic level. The front door (what I believed to be the only entrance) had an unnecessary amount of locks on it, all of which were now rusted away. It opened with a mere tap from my foot.

I should probably state here that though I don't have nyctophobia or anything of the sort, I enjoy dark, abandoned buildings as much as the next wandering man. By my first step into the house, I wanted the job done fast. What I'm saying is that I was not paying attention to specific details at the time, of both the home and what may have been in there.

When I had turned on my flashlight, the first room appeared entirely vacant of anything, as if it had been completely cleared after the departure of its residents. This was both good and bad, in my situation. This meant that the room was free of obstacles, but also meant that I would need to search more of the home. I wasn't excited. There were other homes around, but I would be fine if I at least kept the noise to a low level. The place hardly had windows, after all.

I had gone up the stairs to find a similar area: an empty room, with nothing that I was looking for. This meant further worse news: I would have to check the attic. Though I said I wasn't severely frightened by the dark, I would be lying if I said I didn't have a discomfort with tight spaces.

The attic was accessed by a standard pull-down stairway, on the ceiling of the upstairs room. It took a couple of jerks to budge, but it came down without much resistance. A large cloud of dust covered my view for a few seconds, which made me realize how old the place really was. Each step of the stairway made a high-pitched creek, to where it became more irritating than unnerving.

The last step brought me inside the attic, which showed the only window in the house. A bit of moonlight shined down into the small room, which helped ease my tension by a small, yet meaningful amount. Scanning the room, I caught eye of a few boxes in the corner.

There were three aged cardboard boxes, all packed with a number of old VHS tapes. No DVDs, though the place was so old that I didn't expect to find any. I was still in a rush to get out of there, so I didn't take much time looking through them. I didn't even pick out a few. I just grabbed the heaviest box and dragged it to the ladder. I didn't realize exactly how much was in the box until I had dropped it to the floor, in which it made a rather loud crash that seemed impossible for its size. Several tapes most likely broke in the process, though I didn't stop to check. I just wanted to be out of there.

When I reached the bottom of the ladder, I didn't bother putting it back up. This is where I first saw something strange. When picking the box back up, I saw a small red light in the corner of the room, like a form of dot. It wasn't moving, but I still stormed to the stairs. I grew paranoid. Investigating it wasn't my concern.

I arrived at the top of the stairs, and I observed something else: the house had another level, which I assumed to be a basement. There was another stairway leading downwards, that could only be seen if one was looking down the stairs at the second level. At the bottom of this stairway was another faint, but noticeable red dot. I was carrying the heavy box of tapes, so I didn't have a hand to shine my flashlight on it (nor on the previous one).

Then, I tripped. There's no other way of describing it. I tripped and tumbled down the entire fucking stairway, all the way back down to the first floor. I should've broken a leg or my back in the process, but the box of tapes managed to break my fall in a miraculous way. The VHS tapes scattered all across the bottom of the stairs. I picked up the three tapes that were closest to me. My body hurt like hell, but I was more focused on the fact that I had just made noise similar to a damned police raid.

I made it back to my car, and then my home, without issue. I woke up the next morning with aches all over. I hadn't gotten caught, which was what I cared about.

I called my client numerous times. Just as I had predicted, he never answered. The number he gave me didn't even have an answering machine, as if it had been disconnected.

I was quite sure that this client was going to be a no-show, which made me grow quite frustrated. Most of the time, I'm able to steal other items during a raid, so a client not paying wasn't a total loss. However, there was hardly anything to even look at (let alone steal) in that abandoned home. I was left empty handed after all the frightful work I had gone through.

All I was left with was the tapes. I decided to give it a look, just in case the client called back asking what I obtained.

I was surprised to find that I even still had a VHS player in my closet. Because the tapes had no form of labels on them, I played the first one on the stack of three.

The first tape I played was just static for a few minutes. I was about to stop it when it cut to a picture. There was a date on the lower left corner of the screen, which was August 2nd, 2010 (displayed as 8/2/10). It was footage of a small room, which was vacant of any furniture, and looked to be in degrading condition. The video appeared to be in a form of night vision, so the room must have been dark. It was lifeless footage until a door, close to the camera, opened.

A young woman walked through, and the door shut behind her as she walked in. She started yelling "Michael! Michael it's me! Where are you?!". She turned around in circles, appearing to search for something. There was a frantic, worried look of expression on her face. She waved her arms around in the dark before taking her phone out as a source of light. She walked to the end of the room and took a left at what appeared to be a stairway. The footage went to static a few seconds later.

Now, I had an idea of where this footage may have been taken, but I refused to believe it at the moment of watching the tape. I didn't want to watch another just for that reason. Though, for my own safety, I had to know if my paranoia was correct.

The next tape started similar to the last: Static for a few minutes, then it cut to footage. It was footage of another empty room, which appeared to be in the same decaying state as the last. This footage also had a date and time, but it was March 14th, 2013, more than a years difference. Someone came in from a small hallway leading into the room. This time, it was an older man. He had a flashlight, and looked to the roof. He pulled down a staircase that lead to an attic.

This was where I flipped shit. Those red lights, those dots in the corners of the rooms, they were cameras, and they were rolling. The "abandoned" house was rigged with them, more than I probably even saw. I at first believed it must have been some sort of police set-up in which I immediately checked all of my windows to see if my home was surrounded. I thankfully found nothing.

I went back to the tape, and the recording showed the man climbing up the ladder into the attic. He too looked as if he was looking for something (or someone), but he never actually spoke. He also never shined his flashlight around the room, so I doubt he even noticed the camera. A few seconds after he was in the attic, the footage ended, but I did notice something: Just moments before the footage ended, the camera moved, as if was picked up just at the last few seconds.

I went immediately to the third and final tape. This tape was viewing the stairway. It appeared zoomed in, like it was down another level but still focusing on the first to second floor. At the top of the stairs was the same man from the previous tape (with the same date of 3/14/13). Since I had dropped the tapes down the stairs when I collected them, I must have been lucky to grab two continuing tapes.

The man in the footage appeared injured this time. He clutched his left arm, which appeared to have blood running from it (when looked at close). He stumbled with each step as he progressed down to the first floor. When he was just about at the bottom step, he fell, probably out of exhaustion.

At the top of the stairway stood a figure. It looked to be a person, about six feet tall, but I'm not going to make any assumptions that it was human. It walked down to the man, and then began to drag him by his uninjured arm. The man put up little struggle, which led to him being kicked in the head by the being.

It moved the man down the second staircase, the one I believed led to a form of basement. The figure was close enough to the camera to where I could see its face, or a least what was covering it. It wore a mask, which looked to be an aged rag, with holes cut for each eye and tears covering the fabric. The skin exposed by the holes was a dark, bloodied gray, which lead to me being more content that its face was covered. It stared at the camera for a moment, with blurred, yellow eyes that made myself more uncomfortable. It then picked up the camera, and turned it around to reveal a door at the bottom of the staircase.

The being picked the man up, opened the door, and kicked the man inside of another room which appeared to be empty. The door was quickly shut once the man went in. The camera viewed the door for the next few minutes. The picture remained still. The sounds, however, didn't.

Behind the door, there were many rapid scratching noises, as if the walls were being scraped. The injured man inside the room began to scream.

So did other voices.

The other screams sounded inhuman, more animal-like than the screams of a person. The man's screams were quickly cut off after what sounded like the ripping of flesh and the snapping of ligaments. I thought at first that the man stopped screaming, but then I realized that all sound had then cut off from the footage.

The door to the room then opened. Inside the room were nightmares. They almost appeared human, but appeared very frail and gray, with no hairs on their heads or anywhere on their body. Their spines were painfully visible, and protruded from their bodies in an unnatural and excessive manner. The ones near the end of the room began to climb up the walls and onto the ceiling. One of them began to turn around, but the footage ended and cut to static before its face could be revealed.

Naturally, I was terrified by this. I had been recorded in the same way. I looked at that door.

I checked all my windows again. I locked them. I stayed indoors for a few days, keeping constant watch of if I was (ironically enough) being watched. I burned the tapes. When I was sure that I hadn't left any sort of trail from my visit to that house, I began to go out again. I occasionally took another job, but none that involved abandoned homes or structures.

Not much more than a week ago, I had received a package on my front door. I assumed this to be a payment from a recent client, as some would pay me by a quick drop-off.

I opened it to find three VHS tapes, which appeared to be in new condition. They were each marked with a number, going from one to three.

I breathed.

There was no reason not to watch. I played the tape marked with "1" first. It was footage of the same abandoned house as before, and it was the camera in the first empty room. A few minutes past, and someone entered. It was a younger man, who wore dark clothing as if he wanted to keep hidden.

It took only second to realize that this man was me. The tapes were of when I entered the home.

I grew cold.

I went straight to tape number two. The second tape was a recording of the staircase, with the camera planted near the door to the basement. It showed me stumbling out the hallway to the stairs, with the box of tapes in both hands. I took a few steps down, then I watched myself trip and fall.

Except I didn't actually trip. I was pushed.

A figure at the top of the stairs, wearing the same rag on its head as in the older tape, had shoved me. It wasn't enough force to where I could've felt him behind me, but enough to where I had lost my balance with the box in my hands.

The footage showed me jump back to my feet with three tapes in hand, and running off screen. The masked being only ran to the bottom of the staircase, and watched me run. It then walked slowly down the second flight of stairs and looked into the camera for a few seconds. The footage ended.

I was in more fear than when I had watched the previous tapes. My paranoia of being followed became more severe.

It took every fiber of courage in my body to keep watching, as I played the the third tape.

I shook.

The tape wasn't of inside the house. The camera was being held, outside, at a different location. The camera holder walked on a road for a few minutes, until focusing the camera on a single home.

The home was my own, and whoever/whatever was filming let out a loud, sickening laugh. The tape ended with a black screen.

I've grown unstable. I think my paranoia is justified. I'm not huddled in the center of a room all day, but I don't go out in public much. Anytime I do, I feel like I see a masked figure out of the corner of my eye. Perhaps it's just a fabrication of my mind, but I even sense it right next to me, in some places.

There are a few days where I hear a knock on my door, only to find a single tape on the doorstep. Each is very similar to the last. It's always footage of my own home, usually during the day, but other times at night.

And with each tape, the camera is closer.

Written by Emeryy 
Content is available under CC BY-SA