This story was originally published on my old blog site on October 8, 2017
Eddie wasn’t much of a career man. He preferred the spontaneity of the occasional odd job. Sometimes he’d be cleaning houses, or watching someone’s dog – the next week he might be watering a lawn or cleaning up a construction site, and some weeks he might not be working at all. It didn’t matter to his landlord so long as his rent was paid on time. At this point, Eddie hadn’t had a job in a week and half.
Thankfully, there had been an ad in the paper for a babysitter. He drove up the gravel driveway, past a moving truck and parked in front of the home. He was ten minutes early, so he sat for a bit, admiring how the shadows of the trees reflected on the large front windows. With five minutes to go, he decided to knock on the front door.
“Hello!” Said a dusty blonde haired woman. She looked tired, and her arm was in a sling. “You must be Eddie. I’m Mary, we spoke on the phone.”
“It’s nice to meet you.” Eddie said. Mary led him inside. There were piles of bags and suitcases next to the door. “Wow, they sure pack a lot for a weekend.” Eddie thought.
“I’m sorry this is such short notice, but we really appreciate it.” Mary said. “Honey? Are you ready to go?” Mary yelled up the stairs. Mary’s husband came down the stairs with a trot.
“Hi there! You must be Eddie. I’m John. Thanks for agreeing to watch our daughter on such short notice.”
“Oh. It’s no problem.” Eddie said. John took Mary aside and they spoke in hushed tones. Eddie looked around at the sparse furnishings. From the sight of the moving truck at the end of the driveway, Eddie assumed the rest of their furniture hadn’t arrived yet. Eddie had only spoken to Mary briefly on the phone. She stated that they needed to go away for the weekend and that they needed someone to watch their special needs daughter. Eddie agreed and he came the very next day. John rubbed his temples. Eddie noticed that he was missing a finger on his right hand.
“I’m going to take our stuff to the car.” John said. “It was nice meeting you Eddie.” He said before taking an armload of bags outside.
“Your check is on the counter. We really must go. Thank you again.” Mary said. She grabbed the last of the luggage and went outside.
They never said goodbye to their daughter.
Eddie went upstairs to introduce himself. He went to the room at the end of the hall. The door was open just a crack. “Hello?” He said, and pushed open the door. It didn’t look like any little girls room he’d ever seen. Newspaper clippings covered one of the walls.
“Local Family Mauled by Unknown Animal.”
“3 Teen Babysitters Die Within a Month”
“Several Campers Slain”
All the papers were from different cities – different counties – different states. Eddie remembered again how Mary’s arm was in a sling, John’s missing finger, and how eager they were to leave. Eddie ran to the upstairs window facing the driveway.
The moving truck was gone.
The hairs on the back of his neck stood up.
He heard a giggle…
…and then a growl.