Somehow, this semester has managed to kick my ass more than any other. I barely sleep, I put off assignments, and with covid numbers increasing my depressed ass has all the more excuse to stay inside and hang out with my rats. I needed a break from it all. The solution: a weekend getaway with my friends, doing cute fall shit with some leaves, and frolicing like witches in a meadow while summoning demons under a remote Vermont starry sky with the moon piercing through the clouds in the distance. We booked an airbnb for our fall rendezvous. Come the weekend of October 8th, we thought we’d know nothing of late assignments, mountains of emails, and midterms; just the sweet beckoning melody coming from the rolling hills of orange, red, and yellow. In reality, during our stay at “The Sugarhouse” we would know nothing but terror.
Friday I met with my cohorts around 4 in the afternoon. They had arrived at what would be our home for the next few days before I had, and promptly filled me in once I arrived. I already was quite perturbed by…. everything. The airbnb was hosted by a couple named and , and calling it an airbnb is a complete misrepresentation of the compound they deemed to be “filled every weekend”. We counted 50 school buses parked all around the land. Why? Who knows. There were 3 gas stations, 2 barns, a farmhouse, and lastly a small covered bridge next to the Sugarhouse. With hallowed faces my friends filled me in; “I’m serious dude there’s like 20 cars in one barn that are literal copies of the car from Dukes of Hazzard. They asked us ‘are you car guys’ and when we responded ‘no’ their faces dropped and their faces wrinkled with frustration. They continued showing us every room on the acreage until, finally, we got back to the Sugarhouse, and now you just got here”.
We figured, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt, that they weren’t just some ancient and cosmic evil reincarnated, but simply two middle aged white Vermonters who are adequately into the Dukes of Hazard to determine that they are racists. They also are guilty of the sin of being glorified landlords. Regardless, the couple had presumably left the premises for the weekend and the rest of our stay. We felt safe once more, and smelled the crisp autumn air, cool and swift. Night was coming.
We unloaded our vehicles as the sun began to set. The fifteen by twenty foot shack glowed orange as we stepped inside, greeting us with a gilded ceiling of foaming insulation, large beds made from scrapped trucks, and one single lightbulb dangling from the ceiling. There was running water, which ran right into a bucket that needed to be emptied, and very few other amenities. One of the beds was actually built into the cab of a truck, morning light would beam through the windshield to wake whoever lay dormant in it. The outhouse was twenty yards from the home, and we all took turns relieving ourselves before turning in for the night. As I left it, I saw flashlight beams through nearby trees, heading in the direction of the Sugarhouse. Hastily, I returned to my friends and informed them we were not alone. I was not believed, and we all went out to investigate. A barred owl set the tone nearby, hooting loudly, as if it was warning us of something. Suddenly, the hooting stopped. Twilight began disappearing. The sun… it began to rise back up…
We ran back to the shack as the light level increased, locking the door behind us as we grabbed our belongings. It was time for us to leave. “Look up the hill towards the school buses. I see two people”, my friend cried out. They descended the hill, and as they got closer we determined it was the airbnb hosts, and .”I’M GONNA GET IN HERE”, one exclaimed as their eyes washed over into black orbs so deeply absent without brightness that the light surrounding the eyes were seemingly vacuumed into their sockets. Wings unfurled from their sides, using the gusts of wind to increase their pull on the door. Thinking on his feet, my bald friend removed his baseball cap to reveal a bright light, his head reflected enough to temporarily blind the evil forces seeking our blood. We burst out, and began to run. We made it safely to our cars, and the sun once again set as we fled. My friends crashed on my floor for a lovely weekend and have since returned to their homes, yet still I have nightmares of the creatures we saw that night, and I am beyond thankful for surviving their wrath. Hang on. I hear something outside, rifling through the garbage. Oh no, I see the eyes. They found me. Please, if you are reading this, always book an airbnb months in advance, DO NOT WAIT for the last minute. You never know who… or what will host you.