My grandpa, a retired homicide detective, just told me the worst place he ever searched
Apologies for the delay. When I posted the last three entries, my grandpa was elated. We spent so much time going over the comments, and it brought him a joy I haven’t seen in a long time. His health took a brief turn for the worse in recent weeks, and he made me promise not to post any more transcriptions of our conversations without him being able to sit down with me and watch the comments roll in. I kept that promise.
Luckily, he’s back to where he was when we started this whole thing (which still isn’t great, but it’s better than he has been recently), and I’m proud to present the fourth “Impossible Case”.
It’s not always people, you know. The uh, the Impossible Ones weren’t limited to just people. Back in the…late 80’s, early 90’s maybe, we caught a call, a suspected murder had taken place. Mail had filled up the mailbox, eventually someone called the police for a wellness check.
Some uniforms go to check, look through the window, and they see blood on the living room carpet and walls. They go in, clear the house, we get called. I remember the phone call, it was the same as the calls for the Impossible Cases.
“Yeah, [Grandpa’s Name], we, uh…it’s…it’s another one.”
We could always tell how shitty our day was going to be by the tone of voice of whoever called us. It was me and a temporary partner I had, this guy Malloy. He’d come over from across the state, but like every detective, he was familiar with the Impossible Ones, though he said at his last shop, they were referred to as “the Unexplained”. Different name, but the same mind-boggling bullshit.
Anyways, we pull up to the house and find everyone standing outside it. We get outta the car thinking they’re just trying to preserve the scene, but then we see that everyone is real on edge…jumping when we shut our doors, staring at the ground, you know, just acting real antsy.
We ask them what’s going on, but no one will say a word. We go around asking if the house has been cleared, and finally a uniformed, looked like his first day on the job, nods his head a little bit.
Malloy and I go in the house, and, you know, it looks normal. Just a normal suburban house. There was a stain on the living room carpet, and it was very clearly blood. It was made all the more obvious by the fact that there was blood dripping from the ceiling. You ever seen a ceiling with flood damage? Where it looks like dropping a feather on it from the other side is gonna make is come crashing down? That’s how the spot above the stain was, it was dark red and looked thin as wet tissue.
So obviously, we think there must be a body upstairs. Based on the call we got and how the folks outside were acting, we were expecting something real…you know, something real gruesome. We go upstairs, figure out which room the stain is below, but when we walk in, there’s nothing. Room is normal. Not two second after we opened that door, that’s when we first hear it.
The best way I can describe it is like they tapped their pinky, then a half second later their ring finger, then middle-index-thumb, boom boom boom, real fast.
Malloy and I both spin around; it sounded like someone was tapping on the wall in the room across the hall from the one we were in. Now, the door to that room is closed. We’d been informed that this woman lived by herself, didn’t have any kids, no husband, not even any family that lived in the state, so there shouldn’t be anyone else there.
Malloy and I draw our weapons, start doing the whole “open the door, show us your hands, yada yada yada” thing, but no one responds. We stand there long enough with our weapons pointed at the wall…I was pointing at the door, Malloy had his trained on the wall…we stand there long enough and don’t hear anything back that we start wondering if we just heard something from outside or something. The uni’s had cleared the house, and they’d never done us wrong before, but with how weird they were acting we wanted to be sure.
Just as I start to take a step to pass Malloy and move toward the other room, we hear it again.
Only this time, it sounded like it was in the room on the other side of the wall from the one we were in, you know, on the same side of the hall, just a door down? I yell out “police! Step out into the hallway with your hands up!”, and again, no response.
This one comes from the opposite wall from the previous one, which would put whoever was doing it on the steps leading upstairs. Malloy was still standing in the doorway, so he took a step and leaned over to take a look, then looked over to me and shook his head. There wasn’t anyone there.
The next set of taps, that same pattern, they came from above us, like in the attic. Then higher up on the wall by the stairs, then down the hall, then from underneath my feet like someone was tapping on the ceiling in the living room, then back on the wall in the opposite room, over and over and over and over and over and over. Sounded like a miniature stampede was happening all around us. It lasted about 30 seconds, then as quickly as it started, it just stopped.
Malloy and I stood there for a good 10 minutes, guns up, arms aching, wondering what the hell was going on. When we both finally calmed down enough to act rationally, we went through and cleared the house again. Attic, top floor, ground floor, basement. We did it ourselves just to make sure it got done thoroughly, and there was no one. House was empty except for us.
So then we have to deal with the fact that the ceiling in the living room is leaking blood, but there doesn’t seem to be a source. The bedroom where the leak should’ve been, where the body should’ve been, there was a throw rug in there, you know, over the hardwood floor. So we move the rug, there’s a little, uh, door, type thing, I guess you’d call it, a little door in the floor, maybe the size of a pack of cigarettes, with a hinge that’s flush with the floor.
I open it, shine a flashlight in, but there’s nothing there. No source for where the blood could be coming from, and even after we had some guys come in and take out the floorboards, I took out the insulation and it was dry. The material that made up the ceiling, while it was soaked with blood on the bottom of it, it was completely dry on top. Which, I mean, it’s impossible. It’s like the source of the blood was in between a half-inch, inch thick piece of plaster.
That was a hell of a long day, I’ll tell you.
So, it’s late now. Probably 2, 2:30 in the morning. Malloy and I are still at the house, looking around. We finally got a few people to come in, you know, fingerprint folks, photographers, they’re getting their job done.
Me and Malloy are standing in the kitchen when he goes “did you hear that?” I hadn’t heard a thing. He goes “there it is again.” I’m straining my ears trying to hear what he’s hearing, and when I turn to look at him and ask what he thinks he’s hearing, I won’t lie to you, my heart skipped a beat.
Malloy was standing there, staring straight ahead into my eyes, but it was like he was looking through me. He face had gone completely limp, slack, and his eyes…his eyes looked like they’d been turned off, like there was no life behind them. His mouth hung open like he was just…totally braindead.
“Malloy?” I say.
He just stared through me, to the point that I looked over my shoulder to make sure no one was behind me. When I turned back around, Malloy was pointing to the basement door. I looked over and saw that it was closed. When I looked back again, Malloy was pointing, but the life had returned to his face, he looked normal.
I asked Malloy what the hell had happened, and he just said “you didn’t hear that?”. I told him I hadn’t. He said we needed to check the basement again. We head over and open the door, only now the lights wouldn’t turn on. They’d worked fine the entire day, but all the sudden now, nothing. We get our flashlights out and head down.
I asked him why were checking the basement again, but he just kept saying “we need to check the basement again. You didn’t hear that?” We get down there, and everything looks the same as it had all day.
The taps sounded like they were against one of the metal racks that lined the basement walls. We shine our lights all around, there’s nothing, no one.
This time it sounds like it’s on a cardboard box.
“You didn’t hear that?” Malloy says again.
The tapping starts all around us. It’s on metal, cardboard, plastic, wood, drywall, plaster, it gets to the point that it’s deafening. I shine my light all around and it eventually lands on Malloy, who had at some point moved to the corner. He had that same dead look on his face again, and he was pointing towards the ceiling, just behind me.
I consider myself something of a brave man, but in that moment, I was about as scared as I could’ve been. I did not want to look behind me. It felt like something was there, looking at me, waiting for me to turn around.
“You didn’t hear that?” Malloy said again. “You didn’t hear that? You didn’t hear that? You didn’t hear that? You didn’t hear that? You didn’t hear that?”
He just kept repeating it, over and over and over, then he started slurring his words, like he’d sound if he was drunk. I’m yelling out at him to shut his mouth, scared out of my mind. And…so, there’s already been a lot of this that makes you scratch your head, you know…say ‘what the hell?’, but then…[I can tell my grandpa is reliving this in his head]
I worked up enough courage to turn around. The…Malloy was still repeating that over and over, but I turned around, and looked up towards where he was pointing and there was a spot of the plaster in the basement ceiling that was newer than the rest of it, the same size as that little door in the floor on the second level. We’d been through the house more times than I can remember, and neither of us had noticed that door until now, which seemed…unlikely.
The tapping seems to be getting louder, faster. I got Malloy yelling over and over, and I’m so afraid, I think I might piss myself. It gets so loud that I cover my ears, start hunching over. I mean, it sounded like you could’ve heard it on the other side of the neighborhood. Then it all stopped again. I looked over to Malloy and saw him sobbing into his hands, then he walked up the basement stairs without saying a word.
I wanted to get the hell out of there, but at the same time I didn’t want to skimp on my duties. I yelled up the stairs for a few of the construction guys to come down and take down the entire piece of plaster that that spot was on. They unscrewed the screws, and when one side of the piece was lower than the others…a little bag slides out and falls to the ground.
The bag had fingers in it. Three fingers. If I remember right they were…it was an index, ring, and pinky finger. We eventually went back upstairs, and when we did, the…there were spots like the one in the basement all over the place. The ceiling in the living room had stopped bleeding, but now we had more of these spots. Must’ve been 5 or six on each level of the house.
Inside each were bags of fingers, form pinky to thumb. We had them all tested, and far as we could tell, at least some of them belonged to previous owners of the house, going back decades. Turns out that everyone who’d lived in the house had died; one of them was a suicide, but the rest were natural causes.
It was odd, because all the fingers were in perfect condition, like they’d just been removed from the body and decomp hadn’t started yet. Doesn’t make any goddamn sense.
Malloy, that poor bastard. He quit the job the following day, refused to talk about what was going on in his head during that day. He tried committing suicide twice that I know of, now he lives with his daughter in Monterey, California. In the few years after that day, I tried to check in on him from time to time, and he would apparently have these fits where he just screams “you didn’t hear that?” over and over,
I was supposed to go back to that house a few days later. I showed up and when I got to the front door, I just couldn’t do it. That fear set in again, made me feel like I was gonna pass out. I knew right from the jump this one didn’t have an answer. I still did my due diligence, did what I could to find some answers, but I refused to go back in that house.
And the woman, one who lived there? A neighbor down the street had seen her walking the morning we got the call, so several days after she’d stopped getting her mail for whatever reason, even though she was apparently home. She’d walked down the street and onto the main road, we’d tracked her security tapes, but she turned the corner from North Avenue on 92nd Street, and just vanished. Poof, into thin air.
Wondered for a long time what happened to her, then one day, almost 7 years later, we get a tape in the mail, it had been sent to the precinct, addressed to both me and Malloy. It was a security tape from a gas station, the time stamp was the day after we’d been to her house, so the day after she’d vanished, about two hours after. Across the street from the gas station, some folks were doing some tree work.
That woman had walked up to the area these folks were doing the work, set her purse down with her ID on top of it, leaned forward, and went head first into a woodchipper.
Messed up, right?
Well, even more messed up than that? The tape came from a gas station in Florida, about 1,200 miles.
Never did figure out how she got from the corner of 92nd and North to Tampa Bay, Florida in under two hours.
[A couple days later, I went back to my grandpa’s, and he got me immediately excited for his next case.]
“You know, I should probably tell you about the very first Impossible Case I ever had.”
Categories: Nick Botic Original Series