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This paper is noted that it’s a transcription from an interview with a Jessie P., dated June 28, 2015. It doesn’t state who was conducting the interview or why and wasn’t attached to anything else to give anymore context, but one of the details sounded familiar. Then again, maybe I’ve been reading these papers too much and am starting to see connections where none exist.
I came home Thursday to find my fourteen year old pit bull, Lucy, had died. I’d raised her from a puppy, picking her from a rescue when she started licking my face as soon as I petted her. She had been getting old now and it was just her time, but that didn’t make burying her any easier. She was a sweet girl, and I had always been able to count on her to cuddle when I was feeling blue. She kept me healthy both mentally and physically, as she gave me a reason to go running twice a day and get out of bed on days when I didn’t want to lead an adult life.
By Friday I was feeling pretty far down in the dumps and I no longer had my little buddy to comfort me, so I ended up taking the day off work to split my time between moping around and trying to distract myself by browsing all the usual websites.
It was during this time that I stumbled across a post with a link simply titled “Smile.” Because I was trying desperately to distract myself, I was clicking on almost everything. It led me to this super weird video. I think it was some sort of religious thing but it was hard to be sure for most of it. It could have been some self improvement, pay me $500 and I’ll show you how to live your best life bullshit for all I could tell. A lot of it was pretty nonsensical, and it ended with this guy that had this huge…smile, I guess, you’d call it. Like, it was the shape of a smile, but…I don’t really know how to describe it. It couldn’t have been real. Someone probably edited it to make it look bigger and creepier than it actually was. I don’t know. He didn’t even say anything, then an image of an upside down cross appeared over the top of his face with three letters: O, D, A. It faded to black.
In the video description was a link titled “Join.” I had no intention of pulling out my credit card to pay tribute to a cult or something and I was just morbidly interested enough in finding out what the hell I had actually seen, so I clicked it. The browser on my phone sat spinning for a minute, and I almost gave up to move onto the next thing, when three words appeared in the top left corner of an otherwise blank, white page.
“See you soon.”
I’ll admit, for a moment I was creeped out. The video was weird enough, but to have it followed by that message on such a plain webpage definitely kicked up the uncomfortable vibes a notch or two. Then I just shook my head, chuckling to myself. For a moment, I had been had. I’ve read my share of urban legends, but an interactive one definitely made it more interesting, I’d give them that.
As afternoon turned to evening, I heard my doorbell ring. I wasn’t expecting anyone and, with that strange website in the back of my mind, I opened up my home security app on my phone to check the front door’s camera before I approached the door. I was surprised to see Jason and his girlfriend, Renee. Jason was a co-worker and a friend. I’d hung out with both of them on several occasions and we’d both spent time at the other’s place. I opened the door and was met with an immediate hug from Renee. Jason lifted a twelve pack of beer behind her and told me he’d heard about my dog and they weren’t gonna let me grieve alone.
I wasn’t exactly in any state for guests, but they were coming in to keep me company whether I liked it or not. I was grateful to have friends like them. Renee ordered some pizza and Jason cracked a beer open and shoved it in my hand before opening one for himself and shoving the rest in my sparsely populated fridge. Just as Renee finished ordering way too much pizza for this small of a group, the doorbell rang again and Jason grinned mischievously. He left the kitchen to answer my door before I could ask what was going on, and I heard the sound of more friends and co-workers. I was suddenly feeling very self conscious about my gray shirt and lounge pants, and walked briskly to my bedroom to change before any more visitors could see my state.
I exchanged my pants for a pair of jeans and ran my hands through my hair as I assessed my appearance in the mirror hanging on my door. My phone was almost dead from a nearly full day of attempts at distraction so I decided with everyone there to plug it in on my nightstand for the rest of the evening. As I did, I noticed I had a notification – a text message had arrived a few minutes ago. Apparently, I hadn’t noticed the buzz in my pocket with everyone’s arrival. I didn’t recognize the number it was from, and all it said was, “Can’t wait to meet.”
I briefly thought of the video, then realized the more plausible explanation was just a wrong number. I couldn’t help but feel uneasy about it, though. I typed out a reply to let them know they messaged the wrong person, then set my phone down and let it drift from the forefront of my mind as I left the bedroom to greet everyone.
Three other friends had shown up and two of them had brought their significant other. I was surprised to see that someone had brought their dog over, as well. It’s typically considered something of a faux pas to bring a pet without any sort of warning, but then again people also don’t usually show up unannounced at someone’s house. It was actually a welcome surprise. It was an Australian shepherd, not a pit bull, but it still made me think of Lucy. I found that having the presence of another dog helped temper the memory of my lost pet to bittersweet rather than just sad.
As it turns out, my friends knew what I needed better than I did. Beer bottles were emptied, pizza was devoured, and stories were shared. Everyone talked about their favorite memories of Lucy, which meant a lot to me. Jason talked about his first time meeting Lucy it was actually as a favor. I had to leave unexpectedly for the weekend as my mother was in the hospital and wouldn’t be able to bring Lucy with me, so I had asked if Jason would drop in a few times and take her for a walk. He agreed and I had given him a very quick rundown of what to do. Apparently, it was too quick of a rundown.
It was actually a bad time for it, because I had been in the middle of switching her food as well, so she required half and half of the old food and half of the new. Jason had made the mistake of leaving the pantry door open when he left in the morning, which had a bag of the new food on the floor. When he came back that evening, he claimed it was like a scene from The Exorcist. There was a trail of diarrhea all through the carpet in the living room and vomit in every room she could access. Just outside of the pantry a shredded dog food bag littered the floor. Lucy had consumed the entire bag of new food.
Jason had a way of telling the story so it always elicited a laugh, and I had been torn between horror and laughter when I first heard it myself. Lucy had been okay, though, so laughter won at the end of the day. Besides, after all the work he had put into cleaning up Lucy’s waste, I couldn’t really be mad at him. He had gone out and purchased a whole new bag of the same food. I had offered to repay him, but he declined, insisting it was his own fault.
That story just reminded me that I had some good friends. The night wore on and eventually it was time for everyone to head out. I thanked everyone for coming, and teared up as I did so. It really did mean a lot to have everyone show up to support me like that, especially since it was my dog that died, not like a child or brother or anything.
Mike, the only other member of the party without a second half, asked if he could crash at my place. Too many beers for safety. I didn’t have another bedroom, but I brought him down to my basement and set a spare blanket and pillow on the couch I had down there. When I came back upstairs, I sat down on the couch for a minute before jumping out of my skin when I saw the dog was still there. I had completely forgotten about it throughout the night and didn’t even know whose it was. Well, I guess I did now since only Mike was there.
I called for it to follow me and led it downstairs so it could be with its owner who was already snoring. I went back upstairs and made the rounds, locking the doors before heading to bed myself. The rollercoaster of emotions that had coursed through me over the past twenty four hours pushed me down onto my mattress. I closed my eyes and I couldn’t help but allow a tear to escape.
Just then, I heard my phone buzz on my nightstand. With the night of friendship putting distance from the time I had checked my phone, I had completely forgotten about the text from earlier. I had a few more texts.
After I had responded to tell them they had the wrong number, they had replied simply, “No.”
About ten minutes after that, the next message read, “Sorry to hear about your dog and sorry I can’t make it, yet. Have a beer for me, too.”
My eyes stopped at that message. I couldn’t move. Who was this? How did they know anything about me? There had been another message a couple hours later, right around the time we had been telling stories about Lucy.
“Can you still smell Lucy’s vomit?”
I instinctively looked around. Was there someone watching me? Listening? I looked back to see the last message that had come through right as I laid down. “Rest now. Soon.”
I dropped my phone and backed away from it. What did that even mean? Was this some kind of sick joke? Or was someone actually able to see me? I looked at my window. Was someone out there? I practically jumped over to the light switch to turn my lights off. Darkness filled the room. I slowed my breathing so I could listen for…I don’t know what exactly. Anything. There was nothing. Maybe some rumbling, but that was probably the furnace kicking on.
I began to inch my way to the window. I felt the material of the curtains against my fingertips. I tried to steel my frayed nerves so I could bring myself to look outside. I wedged a finger between the wall and the curtain and pried it away, even so slightly, so I could peak outside. A street lamp illuminated an empty sidewalk. No unusual cars outside. Nobody in a mask approaching my home.
I finally began to breathe normally as I let the curtain go and slid down against the wall. Some sick asshole had to be screwing with me. That had to be it. Still, before committing to that notion, it was better to know. I grabbed my phone and loaded up the home security app again. The splash screen opened and seemed to take longer than normal to finally login. Once in, I clicked on my cameras, one by one, to make sure everything was as it should be.
Front door? Clear. Back patio? Empty. Living room? Safe. Basement? Well, occupied, but with the expected number of people.
I paused on the basement camera. It was dim lighting so hard to see anything too clearly, but it looked like the dog was in the corner and…growling at the camera, I think? Only my front door camera was equipped with a microphone so I couldn’t hear anything through the app. I looked at the bedroom door and listened again. That wasn’t the rumbling of the furnace I had heard before. The dog was growling. But at what? The camera? I looked back down at the phone. It had gone down into an aggressive stance now.
The thought that there might be something just out of sight of my camera entered my mind and I decided it was time to call the police. I don’t know exactly what was going on but there was far too much to this creep show than I was comfortable with. Just as I was about to swipe away from the camera feed to dial, I realized it had stopped its growling.
At first it looked like something had stabbed it, but I realized that wasn’t what was happening. I’m still not sure exactly how to describe what was going on. It was like legs were bursting out of its sides. Long, spindly legs that came to a point instead of a foot. I stared at my phone in petrified horror as chunks of fur tore away one by one to make room for the additional bony appendages. There were probably a dozen legs by the time it seemed to stop. It stretched out its new form. It now stood five or six feet tall by my estimation. It stopped and looked at the camera, baring its teeth once again.
Suddenly, it was gone. One frame it was there and the next all I could hear was the rumbling of a dozen legs scrambling up the stairs of my basement. I ran to my bedroom door and locked it just as it started pounding against the door. I backed away from the door, mind scrambling for how I was going to defend myself once it inevitably made its way in. I could see the bloodied tip of a couple legs trying to reach through the gap between the door and the floor.
I sobbed and dialed 911 to beg for my life. I had barely started talking before the operator interrupted me to tell me officers were already at my location. In my confused and terrified state I didn’t bother asking how they got there so fast, I was just grateful to hear pounding on the front door. The legs withdrew and I saw its shadow under the door pause before disappearing entirely.
I heard glass shatter by my patio at the same time my front door burst open, followed by the police announcing their presence. I tried to call out to let them know I was here, but couldn’t manage anything more than a whimper. I heard them going through my home room by room when my bedroom door burst open and I saw an officer in full SWAT gear with a gun aimed at me. I raised my hands and screamed my name and don’t shoot and I called 911 please don’t shoot me. I told them about some kind of dog that I think had run out the back and about Mike down in my basement and to make sure he’s okay. He got on his radio and informed his team of another person in the basement, paused, and said there may be a dog attacking people in the neighborhood, too.
Mike was okay. He slept through the whole thing and about soiled himself when he was woken up by a SWAT team. They took us into protective custody where we stayed for the next forty eight hours and someone debriefed us. I thought they had been there for the dog or whatever that was. That’s why I had called them.
They asked me if I’d seen any strange videos online recently or clicked on any unfamiliar links. In the wake of everything that had happened, I almost said no. Then I felt cold spread through my gut as I nodded. They nodded and told me that the link I had clicked on had allowed an individual to access everything on my network, including my home security system. That individual had been essentially stalking me all day.
They had been trying to track this person’s activities for a while, I guess. It sounded like he had kidnapped some people before me, although they were somewhat cagey about their answers to requests for specifics. It sounded like it might have cult related, although they wouldn’t tell me if this was their method of recruiting members or if they were kidnapping people for…something else.
When I described the dog’s transformation, they looked puzzled and I ended up consenting to having my blood drawn for alcohol testing, despite insisting I only had two beers all night. I tried to pull up the video file, but all my camera footage from the past twenty-four hours had been deleted. No doubt it was done by whoever was behind that video.
They didn’t know anything about the dog. When I asked Mike about it, he just replied that he didn’t have a dog and never saw one all night.
I’ve replayed that night in my head a lot. Why was it growling at the camera? Was it growling at the other person looking on from my camera? Was it trying to protect me? But I know the true answer. As much as I’d like to believe in guardian angels…or demons in this case, I know what it was. It was a predator. What I had witnessed as I cowered in my bedroom that night was two predators fighting over their prey.
I did a fair share of searching online for any mention of a hacker who kidnaps people and came up empty. Based on the description of the man in the video and the letters that appeared, it’s my belief that this has something to do with the Order of Divine Acolytes group. I don’t know if they were trying to recruit another member or to locate someone for another purpose, but it does make me feel slightly less comfortable with clicking on random website links. And was the creature Jessie saw related to that? Or maybe it really was a terrifying coincidence of two separate killers vying for a pound of flesh, as horrifying as the idea is to even consider.
If you’re listening to this podcast and your research has found anything I wasn’t able to, I would love for you to reach out and share your insights with me.