My wife and I have been very fortunate in life. Our respective hard work has paid off handsomely, and we’ve dedicated a part of our lives to helping others. Every year when Thanksgiving rolls around, we work with a charity that gives turkeys and other Thanksgiving dinner foods to families not in a position to get such things for themselves. The way it works at this particular organization is we pick up the various items, then drive to the homes of people who signed up beforehand to drop everything off.
The last house on our list yesterday was 4513 N. 41st Street, about a mile from the previous house, this one in a neighborhood riddled with foreclosed homes. This particular house had asked for essentially a full Thanksgiving, save for the turkey, which was relatively normal; a lot of the families would opt to spend their money on a turkey and have it, if nothing else. My wife and I walked up the steps to their front door and knocked, each of us with two grocery bags in hand.
The man of the house answered the door, a stick-thin pale man with stringy grey hair and wrinkled skin, though he didn’t actually look any older than 40. He asked what we were doing there, and we explained that we were from the organization with which he’d signed up, and we were there to deliver his food. He gave us an odd look, but at that same moment a woman popped out from aside the door and warmly invited us in.
The inside of their house was…strange. Everything was made of sticks…everything. Tables and chairs were made of bundles of sticks and twigs tied together by twine, picture frames were pieces of bark rudimentarily held together with glue, lamps from cut down branches. And for a house in the middle of the city, there was an abundance of leaves scattered about the hardwood floors.
The woman that let us in was as disheveled as the man was, but she was far more gracious a host. The man kept his eyes glued on us as his companion took the bags of food from us and went to what we assumed was the kitchen, from which we picked up the odor of seasoning and the heat from the oven. We rhetorically commented that they’d already gotten started on Thanksgiving dinner, to which the man replied in a flat tone that it was just about done. The woman explained that they were going to be eating dinner that night, and that she was thrilled that the potatoes and yams and cranberry had all arrived, and insisted that my wife and I wait just another thirty minutes for her to prepare it all and for their children to be finished getting ready to eat.
We decided that it was early enough in the evening that we could wait for a little while and have a little Thanksgiving preview. We sat down in the living room on a couch made of tree, its cushions the only things that might be found in a normal house, had they not looked as if raccoons and squirrels had had an orgy on, in, under, and next to them. We watched a trashy, straight-to-Amazon-Prime found footage horror movie while we waited for the dinner to be done, and after a few minutes, the man of the house came and sat in a chair adjacent to the couch we were on.
My wife asked how old their kids were, and the man slowly turned his head to us and said “four and six”, and turned his head back towards the TV. The brief interaction gave us the impression that he didn’t want to be bothered while he waited to eat, and we didn’t intend to be bothersome. By this point, we were ready for the dinner ot be done so we could eat just enough to be polite and leave. It wasn’t so much that we were creeped out as we were more just weirded out, for lack of a better term. The man was odd, the house was strange, but the woman had been nothing short of convivial.
After about 15 minutes of sitting in the living room with the man, in silence but for the crappy movie on TV, the woman came with plates in hand. It hadn’t seemed a long enough time to prepare everything, but sure enough, it was all done. Each of our plates had two slices of meat, a bit of mashed potatoes with gravy, stuffing, and a sort of cranberry jam.
I tried the cranberry first, but it tasted rotten. I then moved to the stuffing, which was fine, then the mashed potatoes, themselves which tasted normal, but the gravy was far too thick and tasted off. I finally tried the turkey, and while I could tell immediately that it wasn’t an especially well-prepared turkey, it was the only thing that tasted not just “okay”, but actually good. I knew my wife was ready to leave, and I knew I was too, so we both scarfed down what we had on our plates, while still trying to be respectful, if not for our own sakes, for the charity we were there representing.
“Your kids still aren’t ready to eat, huh?” my wife asked with a little laugh.
The woman responded, in as jovial a tone as she’d had our entire time in her home.
“They were ready about 10 minutes ago silly.”
My wife and I looked at each other, then down at our plates. Those eight words had made what little turkey we had left on our plates look suspiciously like human skin, the cranberry sauce oddly like what one would pull from a stomach wound should they reach a hand in and make a fist around whatever was inside, and gave the gravy a conspicuous red tint in the traditional brown.
As we processed what we knew to be happening, the man and woman began laughing, first chuckles which quickly evolved into cackling howls. My wife and I dropped our plates and ran to the front door, which we found to be locked by a key from the inside, which the man must have slyly locked without us seeing.
“You can go!” the man yelled in a short break from his fit of laughter. *“Just head out the back!”*
I moved my wife to my side, opposite the psychopaths still sitting in their chairs made from trees and sticks. We then went from the living room and into the kitchen. On the table, made of various thinned pieces of tree trunks, sat what looked to be the torso of a toddler, the head removed above the lower jaw. An arm that looked to be from a body a few years older than the torso sat severed across it, and blood was splattered about the walls and floors. On the stovetop was a pan, on which was a crudely displayed dish, were slices of the meat we’d eaten, and the child’s thigh from which they’d been cut.
Next to the pan was the top half of a skull, presumably from the piece of corpse on the table. On the countertop, a clear bowl of a murky water held the fingers and toes from the various bodies of the children who had been served as Thanksgiving dinner. A door next to the refrigerator was also locked, but I picked up a stick-and-tree-branch chair and threw it through a window.
We exited through the window and sprinted to our car, with no interference from the man and woman who had just hosted us for “dinner”. We sped away from the house, immediately calling the police.
We gave them the address to the house, but when they got there, they were greeted by a family that had been patiently waiting for their donations from a local charity, completely oblivious to what had been going on. That’s when I realized that the house we had gone to was 4513 S. 41st Street I had absentmindedly ignored the “S” in the address when I selected it in the GPS, not realizing that the address we should have been going to was indeed 4513 N. 41st Street.
By the time the police got to the right house, the one at which we’d just feasted on human, on child flesh, the man and the woman were gone, and they’d taken the “food” they’d prepared with them, but made no attempt to hide the mutilated child corpse that had been displayed on the table.
We’re still at the police station, waiting to speak to the detective appointed to lead the forthcoming investigation.
This is not how we expected to be spending our Thanksgiving.