A couple of months ago, I began my classes at Chico State University. As I was preparing for my freshman year, I was able to find everything that I needed, except for a laptop. I’m not exactly very good at letting a dollar go for something, especially when I could get that something for less.
I scoured the internet for good deals on laptops, finding none that suit my frugal habits. Classes were only two weeks away, and I was becoming desperate for a computer. Several days later, I saw an ad in the newspaper for a laptop that was being sold for only $600, and not too far from where I live. It was a very nice Dell laptop too, seeming odd that it was being sold for almost $1,000 less than store price.
I drove to the seller’s address the following day. The house was farther out of the city, butting up to a dense forest. Outside of the house was an old Chevrolet, and a mess of old signs and other various vintage looking items. I rang the doorbell, and a thin man in a flannel jacket came to the door. When I asked about the laptop, he looked almost relieved, and told me he was ready to sell it immediately. Luckily, I came with cash in hand and after proof of good condition, I went home with a new computer.
Excited to have my first self-bought laptop, I powered it up and began uploading my own programs and applications onto it. Upon searching the hard drive, I found a folder hidden away on it, which was odd because the man selling it told me that the memory was wiped clean and ready for a fresh start. The folder was titled “09/17/10”, presumably a date. I opened the folder, revealing six videos and three pictures. Curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to watch the videos.
The first video was simply titled “001”. The video was shot from a shaky camcorder inside of a vehicle, recording a woman walking out of a bar and getting into her car at night. After a couple of seconds the woman drove off, and almost immediately, the person recording the video began to drive after her. The video ended after 24 seconds. It almost seemed like the cameraman had been waiting for the woman for a while.
Come to think of it, I wasn’t too alarmed by this at the time, just a little unsettled. I opened the next video file, titled “002”. I assumed that this was the next part of the first video. My assumption was right, as it began with the camera on top of the console, facing out of the windshield. It was raining now, leading me to believe that this was a short while after the first video ended. I could barely make out that the vehicle two cars ahead of this one was the same car that the woman at the bar left in. This went on for an unsettling 47 seconds, before the camera cuts out. I began to get a little nervous, fearing that this might take a turn for the worst.
But, as if I was watching a television show, I wanted to see where this was headed. Not totally concerned yet, I decided to press on. The third video was, of course, titled “003”. This was the one that got me officially concerned. The clip began from the same shaky hands as the first clip. It was now pouring rain outside of the car, and I could barely make out a figure in a fur coat with an umbrella walking to the front door of a house. I could only assume who this person was, and whose house this belonged to. The figure entered the house and closed the door. The following stillness greatly unnerved me. The only thing that could be heard was the sound of rain dumping on top of the car. After roughly two minutes of this nerve-racking nothingness, the lights inside of the house cut out. Another minute or so went by before the camera was placed onto the console again and the sound of a person exiting the car broke the stillness. After the car door quietly closed, another figure, this time hooded could be seen walking towards the house. I began to feel a knot tightening in the bottom of my stomach as the stranger walked around to the back of the house. Whoever this person was, they definitely weren’t supposed to be there. After another couple of seconds, the lights to the outside of the house cut out. It was pitch black, and only the rain alerted me that the camera was still rolling. The video ended after about 9 minutes of rain and darkness.
I was now pretty sure that this was not an innocent little project or anything of that nature, and I began to feel stupid for not checking this laptop seller’s credibility. Was this person stalking the woman the same person that I met with earlier? Throughout the whole experience, I had a dormant thought in the back of my head to call the police, but I wasn’t ready just yet. Reluctantly now, I began the fourth video, “004”. It was dark again, but the rain had stopped, and I was left with only silence. Not long after the clip began, I could make out the sound of footsteps on gravel, getting louder as someone was approaching the vehicle. The car door opened and the dome light was turned on, and I could tell that the camera was now on the floor of the car, pointing up towards the roof. I heard some fumbling in the background, and suddenly a thump sounded from the back of the truck. An arm abruptly obstructed the camera’s view and a large tarp could be seen being pulled out from the car. I had only one scenario running through my head, and I hoped that it wasn’t true.
The person picked up the camera and put it back onto the console, and began to back up. They drove for a good 3 minutes before parking in a branched off road, and exiting the car to work on the load they were carrying. 6 minutes after, the car was moved again to a different location, and the camera was picked up and carried underhanded away from the car. I could see now that it was the same s**t-bucket truck that was in front of the seller’s house. I was about ready to call the cops on this creep when the camera turned towards the house. It was a completely different house than the one I visited. I was a little relieved by this, though it didn’t prove anything.
As the fourth video came to an end, I was wondering whether or not I was prepared to see what came next. I could only hope that this was a prank, or at least had a happy ending. “005” began inside the house. It was extremely dark, and the only thing I could make out was a figure that would occasionally walk in front of the camera. It was also quiet for the first few moments, minus the occasional barking of a dog outside. Eventually, a small sound started to appear.
The small sound soon escalated to a loud, muffled scream. Shaking and struggling sounds became more apparent as time went on, as well as crying. A light abruptly came on, and the camera was lifted and panned to the center of the room, revealing a beaten and bloody woman tied to a chair. From what I could make out, this was, in fact, the woman from the bar. The camera zoomed in on her face for what seemed like an eternity before stopping. I couldn’t believe that this was happening. The original hope that this was a movie or something like that had long since diminished. With only one video remaining, I was beginning to fear for my own safety. I locked my door, closed my blinds and pushed onward.
I began “006” with a small hope that this woman was still alive, and that I could have her saved. The final installment of this horror show began in a bathroom setting. The camera was placed on the counter, facing a mirror, in which I could see a door. The only sound I could make was a familiar sound that destroyed my hopes: Power tools. I sat in font of the screen for what felt like hours before the sound stopped. More silence. Then, heavy footsteps, accompanied by what sounded like something being dragged. The door knob turned and the door was pushed open. Out of the darkness of the rest of the house appeared a middle aged woman dressed in what I can only describe as lab attire, sporting a respirator and a pair of long rubber gloves. This, for some strange reason, gave me a small amount of relief. In the reflection, the woman struggled to drag something to the bathtub. As she hoisted it into the tub, I could see that it was a large, black garbage bag.
I felt like I was dreaming. It was like I was watching a horror movie unfolding on the screen. She lifted the bag up from the tub, now empty, except for whatever entrails that still dropped out. She picked up the camera and placed on the ground, facing the tub. On the floor in front of the bathtub was an assortment of corrosive substances and several other empty containers. The woman began to dump the liquids into the tub, which was followed by an awful, awful noise that I can only describe as pop-rocks mixed with coke. The video ended, and I was left bewildered, and panicked. I finally opened the pictures. The first was a picture of the truck. The second was a picture of the girl, tied up, before she was beaten. And the third picture brought up a “corrupted file” notice, but maybe that’s a good thing.
I managed to keep the two pictures before I handed the laptop over to police. I was reimbursed my $600, along with a bonus. Apparently, the victim was the young girlfriend of the older woman’s ex-husband. The older woman was arrested almost a year before, but was freed of all charges due to a lack of evidence, and the ex-husband was incarcerated instead. I guess this was the missing link. I hope this has solved any unanswered questions. Although, I’m not sure who the man in the flannel jacket was or how he got a hold of the laptop, or how he owns the same truck as the murderer. I guess I’ll just leave that to the police.