The Last Job I’ll Ever Take On Craigslist

So…over the last 7 months, I’ve been working for someone I responded to on Craigslist. Well, I’ll just explain everything. This seems like an appropriate place to post this. 
I was scouring the internet for some sort of paying gig, I didn’t really care what. Then I came across a post on Craigslist, I had just refreshed the page and there it was. Someone was looking for a person to come by and feed their pets. I assumed they were going out of town or something. So I contacted them and left my number through email. I got a response immediately in the form of a phone call. 

The caller was a man, who explained to me that he was moving out of town, and his parents had cats they wanted fed daily. I gave the man my name so he could run me through a cursory background check, and in about 20 minutes, I was hired. 

I went there the next morning to get all the instructions and whatnot, and met the man I’d spoken to on the phone. His name was Ben. Ben explained to me that he would no longer be able to care for his parents cats, and that his parents needed to focus on themselves, so I was being brought on to take care of that. J

The money would be left on the kitchen table at the end of every week, $200 a week (just to feed some cats, I know right?). In addition to that, money for more cat food would be left for me as needed. Then he told me the first thing that I thought was strange. I was to come at exactly 10:00am every day, and be gone by 10:10am. And I was to never, under any circumstances, to interact with his parents. He told me that when I’m their home, they will be in their chairs in the living room, watching television, and that I was not to disturb them, ever. 

He asked if any of that would be a problem, to which I assured him it wouldn’t. He then showed me the area in which the cats eat (there were 4 cats), and where the food was kept. While not rude in the least, he was very adamant that I not explore further in the house, to which I assured him wouldn’t be a problem. He ushered me outside and showed me where the spare key was in case the door was ever locked, but he told me that was very unlikely to happen. And with that, he expressed his hope that I could be trusted one last time, shook my hand, and told me to be there at 10am every day starting tomorrow. If I was ever unable to make it, call and leave a message on their home phone, to which he gave me the number. I shook my head and was on my way.

The next day came, and I went inside at exactly 10am. I walked into the house, and immediately to my right were Ben’s parents, sitting in recliners, facing away from me, watching some kind of game show. I announced my presence, which they ignored, and made my way to the kitchen. I fed the cats bowls and left. This exact same scenario played out countless times over the next few months.10am, unreturned “hello”, feed the cats, leave. On Fridays, I would pick up the small stack of $20 bills from the kitchen table. It was the easiest job I ever had.

Then came the inevitable: one day, I was running late. I got to the house at 10:08. I entered and apologized to Ben’s parents for being late, to which I once again got no response; they just kept sitting in their chairs watching their game show.I went to the kitchen and fed the cats. I looked at my phone, which read 10:11. And walked down the hall towards the front door. When I reached the living room, I jumped and gasped out of shock. Ben’s parents were now standing in the dark behind their chairs, completely still, staring directly at me.

I apologized for running late and got out of there. Though unnerved, I went back the next day on time, and everything was fine. A few more months went by of nothing strange, and then came the last day I was there. I got there at 10:03, but wasn’t worried because I knew I could be out before 10:10. The problem came when I was in the kitchen and I heard someone whisper the words *”Help me.”*. It startled me, and I jumped, looking around for the source of the cry for help.

I saw no one around, but I heard it again, and then a third time. I began looking around, before realizing I was running behind. I looked at my phone and it was 10:10. My heart sank to my stomach when I looked down the hallway and saw Ben’s parents for the first time in the light. They were grossly emaciated and pale, looking completely malnourished, They were essentially walking skeletons.

I apologized for taking so long and said I’d be on my way, but they just stood there, blocking the way to the front door. I said I would take the back door, which was located in the kitchen, but when I went to open in, it required a key to open from the inside (seriously). It was at this point that true panic set in. I looked behind me, and the parents were now about a half a foot away from the entrance to the kitchen, and I had nowhere else to go except what I presumed was a door to a pantry. The had blank stares across their faces, and their eyes looked as if the life had left them a long time ago. In a last ditch effort, I went to the door that I *thought* was the pantry, and found it to lead to a staircase leading into a basement, with, of course, no light. 

As soon as I opened the door there was a horrid stench that washed over the otherwise clean air I was standing in. I carefully went down the stairs and looked for a window, but they were all nailed shut. I happened to look back up the stairs, and the parents were now standing next to each other at the top of the stairs. It was truly horrifying. I pulled out my phone and called 9-1-1, not knowing what else to do, and when I explained my situation, they said they would send a car out immediately, and to stay on the phone while they connected me to the unit en route. I ran into the dark basement using my phone as a light. It didn’t provide too much illumination since I was in the middle of a call, but it was just enough.

There were racks of junk that lined the basement, separating it into almost aisles. I went down down to check if any of the windows were possibly loose (like I’d be that lucky). Then I turned around and shined the light in front of me, and I was inches away from the parents’ lifeless-looking faces. I let out a scream and ran in the other direction, and tripped over something, sending my phone flying from my hand. Of course, it landed face down so I couldn’t find it. I ran back up the stairs and into the kitchen, looking back and seeing the parents standing at the bottom of the stairs, with slight grins on their faces.

I ran down the hall to the front door and flung it open, screaming when I saw the cop standing right in front of me. He asked me if I was the one that called as I pushed past him to get outside, and told him I was. I looked in the window and saw the parents sitting in their chairs, watching their game show. I explained that these crazy old people had trapped me in their house and were chasing me around.

The cop went in to talk to the parents and look around while I sat in the cop car. He came back out about 5 minutes later and asked if I was sure someone was chasing me. I said yes, I was absolutely sure. That it was the two old people that lived there. He informed me that the people that lived there, the people in the chairs, have been dead for quite some time. I asked what the smell in the basement was, and he said there was another body down there.

Backup showed up. I gave them my statement and explained how I’d been coming there every day for months and months to feed the cats. I told them to call Ben, the homeowners’ son. I gave them the number, and it was disconnected. I found out a few days later that the body in the basement was Ben.

What I don’t get, is who’s been paying me?

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