It was the mid 70s and I was seventeen. I lived in a relatively nice, suburban town in Massachusetts. My life was relatively ordinary and I went on with my day, as usual. Sometime, I think it was around noon, I got a call from my sister. She was in her late twenties- I can't remember if she was twenty-eight or twenty-nine. Not extremely important to the story. Anyway, she needed me to babysit my two nephews and niece. She had an important dinner meeting to discuss the future of her and her husband's up and coming alarm company (which ended up being extremely successful by the early 2000s).
Babysitting wasn't a big deal. I'd just drive to her house after school, and stay there until she got back. It'd only be a few hours and they pay me well, even though they were family, but I got to her house at around 6PM.
She said I didn't need to come over immediately after school ended because she wasn't going to leave until around 5:30-6:00 and asked me to be there around 5:00.
When I pulled into the driveway, I realized my sister and her husband were still home. Which was good. I was definitely late, despite the time change. But at least I arrived before they left, anyway. Glad I wouldn't be yelled at by her for showing up after they were gone, at least. But I knew showing up an hour late would make her mad anyway.
After the dirty looks, my sister gave me directions and such, telling me what to feed the kids for dinner and when to put them to bed- I listened, but I got the same speech every time I babysat.
My two nephews were eight and nine, so they were allowed to stay up until around 9:30 (a reasonable time considering it was July) but my six year old niece was not allowed up any later than 8:30.
Since my sister was obviously late to wherever she had to go, she rushed out of the house telling me about the soft drinks and beer in the basement fridge and sped off in her car. Her husband wasn't much of a talker... not his fault, of course. My entire family (including my young niece and nephews) were Portuguese immigrants. We'd only come to the states about five years ago and my sister was much more invested in the 'American Dream' than her husband, who was quite proud of his heritage. So instead of letting his wife bust his balls about not knowing English, I guess he just decided to stay quiet instead. Smart man.
Anyway, the first two hours of babysitting went pretty smoothly. Leftover fish heated up for dinner at 7:30, bathe my niece at 8:00, put on a half an hour of cartoons for the kids and put the youngest to bed after that. I still even remember what we watched. It was Pink Panther, kind of an easy thing for a bunch of kids who didn't speak English to watch since there wasn't much talking.
But I was stupid and sometime during that cartoon I decided to go grab a beer from the fridge.
Don't get all "Wow, drinking at seventeen? So irresponsible." The drinking age where I grew up was 18, but kids as young as 14 were allowed to drink, so relax.
Anyway, I can't tell if I just drank the beer too quickly or if the alcohol content was higher than I had expected, or maybe I was just tired but what I do know is that I fell asleep while Pink Panther was on.
I woke up at around 9:45 and all I remember is thinking 'shit,' because all three kids had basically disappeared.
Luckily enough, they hadn't actually gone anywhere and were just in their rooms, upstairs. That made my life so much easier.
I put my niece to bed first, since she was further past her bedtime than the two boys, then I handled them.
Finally with them asleep, I was able to go downstairs and just binge TV. I felt bad for falling asleep but it's not like I could go back in time and fix it, and it's not like anyone got hurt, so I just kind of went on with my night.
I spent about an hour and a half flipping through the very limited TV channels until around 11:30 when I heard a loud thud and repeated banging on the front door. At first when I heard the thud I thought one of the kids had fallen off their bed or something but when the knocking continued I obviously got up to answer the door.
My first instinct was that one of the kids left their lights on or my sister somehow found out the kids were up past their bedtime some other way and that knocking was her way of saying she was super pissed at me.
The door was glass, sure, but not the glass you could see through. It had a film on top of it so all I saw through the door was the fact that it was a woman standing on the other side, so I wasn't suspicious at all. I really thought it was my sister.
When I opened the door though, it was an extremely malnourished looking woman with bony hands and very greasy hair. She looked to be about in her mid twenties and was more than beat up. She was bloodied and bruised with tattered clothing and no shoes. The bottoms of her feet were cut up so she tracked blood through the doorway as she tried to push past me to the phone.
She frightened me, obviously, and needless to say I started panicking. The woman grabbed me and screamed to let her use the phone and kept saying things like "they're chasing me" or "don't let them get me." At one point, she grabbed at my throat.
Obviously, with a lot of force, I turned her away. What else could I do? I was terrified and there were three sleeping children upstairs. Plus, even back then I heard stories of crack addicts and human traffickers using similar tactics on people. I don't remember everything she said that night, but one of the words she kept repeating, a word I didn't know at the time because of the language barrier, was "cult."
I got the woman out of the house as fast as I could, practically pulling her off of me and shoving her out the door. Her hands really clung to my shirt, I'm surprised she didn't tear it with her nails.
Out the door, she immediately took off to the right and into the backyard. I slammed and locked the front door, then ran to the kitchen window to make sure she wasn't trying to get into the house through the patio or one of the windows. Luckily, she wasn't and instead ran the entire length of the backyard and into the trees. I felt almost no remorse at the time- I really thought she was just insane.
The rest of the night I spent scrubbing blood out of my sister's rug and floor. God, I was so afraid of getting a disease. I was too afraid to start watching TV again just in case I happened to miss some suspicious noises like the woman coming back or something. I was so blown away and flustered I didn't even think to call the police, I was so stupid.
I went home after my sister came back but I didn't tell her about anything that happened that night. I didn't want her to worry and I knew she would be safe.
The drive home was scary to say the absolute least. Every deer or figure I saw nearly made me piss myself and no, I definitely didn't sleep that night.
Two days went by and that night was all I'd think about. I was worried about other people in the neighborhood, even the woman herself. I didn't stop thinking about it until I found a news story in the paper covering a woman who was found dead two streets behind my sister's house. The picture in the article showed a much healthier version of the woman who had come to the front door that night and stated that her death was most likely a murder. The paper also mentioned "occult involvement and activity" in the area and said that they were most likely the ones who killed that poor girl. I still didn't know what that meant even though it's literally a cognate. Maybe I'm just stupid, but either way it didn't click. God, I wish I could remember the woman's name in the article.
I understood the murder part well enough to have let the guilt of turning her away lead me to an extremely depressive state. I barely ate or got out of bed for weeks. Eventually, I finally mustered up the courage to ask one of my American friends what the word "cult" even meant. He said it was kind of like a religion but usually bad. He said a lot of them kill people. Knowing that, I realized how bad the situation really could've been. If I had trusted her and let her in, maybe she wouldn't have died but I sure as hell was at risk of being targeted. I was terrified of being tracked down for years after this and couldn't do much more than wallow in guilt for not saving that woman.
It's been over forty years or so since the incident and my family now knows what happened. I just wanted someone online to hear me out about this story on a larger scale and my great niece (the daughter of my niece in the story) suggested I upload it to Reddit or some other "horror story platform," which she said she would handle for me. After the incident, I started loving horror movies and true crime (I suspect as a way to cope) so if someone finds my story interesting or spooky and makes something out of this horrible event, I'd love to hear about it. Thank you all for hearing me out. Thank you for letting her story live on.