A Millennial Horror Story

A Millennial Horror Story

A Millennial Horror Story
A Millennial Horror Story

In any case, it’s a good starter home. A starter home, for millennials? It almost seems too good to be true.

It’ll be nice to start a new life here with our 4-year-old, Sophia. Maybe we will try avocado toast, a first time. To celebrate.
We finished unpacking today. I love it already. The basement is a little drafty; weird sounds come from it at night. There’s an old mattress leaning up against the far wall that, I guess, conveyed. I came across a big stack of mail-order catalogs. I don’t know why it made me uneasy.
Sophia has taken one of them and is reading it. It’s good to hear her laughing again.
Nothing happened today. Well, one thing. But I think it’s nothing. There was a thump on the mat inside the front door. When I went to look, I found a mail-order catalog. They must have the wrong address. Sophia’s reading it now.
At dinner tonight, Sophia set four places.
“Sophia,” I said, “you know there’s just the three of us.”
“Silly,” Sophia said. “This is for my friend, Fast-Casual Restaurants.”
“When did you make this friend?” Jessica asked. She looked at me.
“Fast-Casual Restaurants lives here!” Sophia said, rolling her eyes. “Fast-Casual Restaurants says you and Mommy are bad.”
“I don’t think Fast-Casual Restaurants is very nice,” Jessica said.
“Fast-Casual Restaurants said you’d say that,” Sophia said, narrowing her eyes.
“Okay,” I said, “time for dinner, kiddo.”
“Wait!” Sophia yelled. “Silly! We need napkins!” She pointed. In front of us were paper napkins. Four of them.
Jessica swears she didn’t buy any. I didn’t buy any either. I’ve never bought paper napkins. Always paper towels. Paper napkins are supposed to be dead.
I hope things are better in the morning. I could barely sleep last night. Jessica thought she heard Sophia calling in the night — but she wasn’t saying “mommy.” She was saying “monogamy.” I don’t know what’s happening.
Things weren’t better in the morning. When we got up, our corgi was digging frantically in the front yard. He surfaced with something gray and sticky in his mouth, and I couldn’t get it out. Jess had to drive him to the vet. She called me from there. I’d never heard her so alarmed.
“It’s pet food,” she said. “I thought we kil—“
“It’s going to be okay,” I said. “We can deal with it.”
“You don’t understand,” Jess said. “He had something else in his belly. They had to pump it.”
“Weekly church attendance,” she said. I had to put the phone down. I was breathing too hard. “Tyler, are you there?”
“It can’t be weekly church attendance. I saw weekly church attendance die.”
I heard giggling from the basement.
“Sophia?” I called. I went to the top of the stairs. I wish the light switch weren’t all the way at the bottom.
“Hi, Daddy!” Sophia yelled. “I’m having a power lunch! But later, do you want to come to my dinner party?”
“Your mother and I don’t believe in dinner parties,” I told her, trying to sound casual.
I am starting to wish I hadn’t killed weekly church attendance. I feel about this house the way I feel about climate change and the economy: It’s spooky for reasons I don’t think are entirely my fault, and I don’t know how I’m going to stop it.
I woke up to the sound of Jessica’s scream.
I leaped out of bed and found her sprawled on the kitchen floor. The whole floor was sticky … yet slippery. And it smelled somehow familiar.
“Oh, God,” Jess whimpered. “Tyler, look.” She raised a shaking finger and pointed. Behind me was an enormous jar of Hellman’s mayonnaise. Only the first four letters on the label were visible.
We went back to bed, but neither of us could sleep.
In the morning, we found written in mayonnaise on the kitchen counter, “YOU’LL PAY BLOOD FOR WHAT YOU DID TO BLOOD DIAMONDS.”
Handwriting and mayonnaise. Jess and I were doubly terrified.
Another night of terror. I don’t like the basement here. There’s something wrong about it. I can’t describe it.
Last night I heard a hideous clicking sound coming from it. It sounded hollow but expensive. I opened the basement door and started down to the light switch. My foot slipped on a golf ball. The stairs felt covered in them. But when I made it to the bottom and turned the light on, there was nothing there.- English Horror Story
I don’t know how to describe my horror at what just happened. Sophia somehow got into the attic, and when she came down she wanted to sing us a new song.
She opened her mouth, and I froze when the sound came out. I would have known that sound anywhere. A dial tone.
Last night was the worst it’s been. When I woke up, Jessica was gone. I went to the basement, feeling my way along. A horrible sound was coming from one corner — like ambient music, muffled by the old mattress. I shoved it aside and saw something I hadn’t known was there: a door. When I pushed it open, I shuddered with the realization I was in a place vast and empty, where no one would ever return again. A place I, a millennial, thought I had long ago destroyed.
Drawn in, I wandered past a Claire’s-shaped vacancy, then through the pretzel void of the food court, where a tray that should have contained suppurating hot dogs spun emptily. I drifted past the hollow shell of a P.F. Chang’s. My footsteps echoed through the ghostly still Hot Topic and the gap where a Gap once had been. And then I heard it.
Jessica, screaming. I whipped around.
It had hold of Jessica by a thick cord wrapped around her waist and was dragging her somewhere. I grabbed the cord and tried to pull her back. “CUT THE CORD!” Jessica shouted. “Tyler, you’ve got to cut the cord!“
I couldn’t let her go. I couldn’t let the mall take her. But I wasn’t strong enough, and the cord just dragged me along. When it finally slipped out of my hands, I was in the middle of what appeared to be a department store, tile and mannequins as far as the eye can see. I bent my head and wept. I could hear what sounded like footsteps approaching from very far away. I shut my eyes and waited for them. Whatever it was — engagement rings, bar soap, voicemail — I was ready. I couldn’t fight any longer. Not even for Sophia.
let them know I didn’t mean to kill anything
I woke up panting. I had fallen asleep in my avocado toast. “Tyler?” Jessica asked. “Tyler?”
“On second thought,” I said, “I don’t think we should try home ownership.”

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