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The Next Door Neighbors
Carter and Erica Bennett were a newly wed couple that just moved into the house of their dreams. They had a huge balcony overlooking their backyard, a library, a beautiful white kitchen and so much more. They were finally all unpacked and settled in when the sound of a soft door bell sounded in the walls. Carter approached the door and opened it to reveal a woman and a man. They had warm and friendly smiles plastered on their faces.
“Hello, my name is Olivia Harper and this is my husband John Harper,” the woman stated, putting her hand out in front of her. “We are your next door neighbors.”
“Oh hello! Carter and Erica Bennett. Nice to meet you,” Carter replied, taking her outstretched hand.
Olivia handed Carter a pan full of nice, freshly baked bread. The scent made Carter’s mouth start to water. Both Carter and Erica were starving. They had unpacked all their things but had no time to go grocery shopping.
The Harpers said their goodbyes and made their way back to their house, while the Bennetts sat in their new kitchen, to eat the bread. Then it grew dark outside, signaling lights out for the night.
In the morning, Erica went to find a plant shop to collect and buy some flowers to plant in her new garden. As she was strolling through the aisles of the store, she stumbled over someone’s foot. She glanced up and saw that the foot belonged to Olivia.
“Oh I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you there,” Erica said.
“Don’t be silly, that was my fault,” Olivia answered sweetly.
“Carter and I were talking about we would love to have you come over for dinner sometime to get to know each other better,” Erica stated.
“Why not tonight? You could come to our house. We’d love to get to know you and Carter better too. What about 6 o’clock?”
“O-ok that should work. I guess we’ll see you then,” Erica hesitated.
Erica made her way back home and informed Carter of the dinner planned at the Harper’s house that night. They got ready for the dinner, Erica put on a pretty blouse with form fitting jeans and heals. Carter put on a nice button up shirt and dress pants. Together they made their way over to their next door neighbors’ house, walking along the crumbled sidewalk.
Once inside, Erica noticed some things that seemed, off. The house seemed too neat, too…..clean. However, she just brushed it off and ignored it. They ate dinner and chatted the night away, until the clock read 11:45pm.
“Oh my! Look at the time. We better be heading back home,” Erica said.
“Oh well, you must come over again. We love having your company. It can get quite lonely on this little street of ours, no one around for miles,” John said suddenly serious.
The Bennetts thought it odd but scooted out of the house as quickly as possible and went home.
For the next few weeks the Harpers continued to come over everyday and pester both Erica and Carter. They would show up to their house at random times throughout the day and even the night. The Bennett’s didn’t want to be mean, but they didn’t know how to say what they felt in a nice way. They wanted the Harpers to leave them alone.
It wasn’t only that they had been bothering Erica and Carter, it was also the fact that something very wrong was going on in their house. The Bennetts didn’t know what it was but they new deep down, in the furthest place from their mind and heart, that the Harpers weren’t who they said they were.
Three slow, quiet knocks sounded at the door, alerting Erica of someone’s presence. Erica hesitated at the door as Carter wasn’t home at the time. However, after hovering her hand over the door knob for far too long, three more knocks were heard, louder and quicker this time.
Erica threw the door open and within seconds a rough bag was placed harshly over her head. She was then dragged from the safety of her home, until she was placed down on what seemed to be a hard cement floor. Her eyes widened when the bag was lifted off her head and she realized where she was.
A few hours later Carter arrived home expecting to see his wife sitting on the couch with her nose stuck in a book. When he called her name multiple times and there was no response, his heart rate sped up and he increasingly became worried. He was so focused on finding where his wife was that he didn’t notice John creeping up behind him with a wooden baseball bat.
After about an hour of sitting in a cellar like basement, Erica heard shuffling around upstairs above her. She was tied down with ropes and therefore couldn’t stand, so she didn’t even bother to attempt to stand up.
By this time it was dark outside, so after knocking Carter out, John pulled and dragged his body to their house. He tied Carter up and pushed him down the stairs, where Erica screamed his name.
Although Carter was still shaken and in pain, he managed to crawl towards his wife and tell her everything would be alright.
Nearly 3 days had gone by with Carter and Erica tied up in the basement of the Harpers. They were given crumbs of food, drops of water, and the only sunlight that dared to show itself, came through a tiny window with grass peeking over it outside.
The rumbling of the basement door distracted the Bennetts from their thoughts, but they were too weak to react.
“W-why are you d-doing this?” Erica coughed, as John crouched in front of her grabbing her chin.
“Don’t touch her!” Carter gritted through his teeth.
“You have no idea what we are going to do to you two,” John spat, as he walked off.
“Don’t worry, we’re going to get out of here soon honey,” Carter whispered moving closer to his wife.
Sometime later, the distant sound of sirens was heard. With every second that passed, the sirens got louder and closer. Carter jumped up, as he was more loosely tied than Erica, and he climbed onto his tippy toes to look through the window. He saw a police car come into view, but it pulled into their driveway, the Bennetts driveway. A worried family member that had called countless times with no answers had called the police.
“NO! Don’t go in there! You’re looking in the wrong place!” Carter nearly screamed. And then he did scream. He screamed so loudly, Erica thought the whole basement was going to come crumbling down on them.
The police officers looked around and after not finding the couple in the house and taking note of both their cars parked in the driveway, they decided it best to check any surrounding areas, including the Harpers house.
John went down into the basement and gagged both Carter and Erica. Now they were silent, quiet, they wouldn’t be heard.
Olivia made her way to the door with John close on her heels and together they greeted the police officers.
“Hello, sorry to bother you but we are looking for a couple by the names of Carter and Erica Bennett. Have you seen them recently?” The police officer questioned.
“Oh I’m very sorry officer but we haven’t seen them in days. I hope they are alright,” Olivia slyly replied.
“Ok well if you see any-” the police officer stopped mid sentence as he noticed an open wallet sitting on the ground. The wallet was too far away to be able to read but from where he stood, the picture seemed to match the description of Carter Bennett.
“I’m going to need you both to step outside,” The officer said seriously.
The Harpers stepped out of the house and when the officer bent down to look at the wallet sure enough, it was that of Carter Bennett’s. His wallet had fallen out as he was dragged towards the basement over four days ago. The Harper’s turned and ran. They ran as fast as they could.
“GO AFTER THEM!” one officer yelled at the other.
“Stop in the name of the law!” the officer screamed.
Both officers ran out the front door of the house and chased the Harper’s. They were right behind them when both officers simultaneously jumped and tackled the fleeing couple to the ground.
Backup was contacted and arrived at the scene within a matter of minutes. The police officers went back into the house. They turned it upside down and as they moved furniture, they found a hidden door. When they broke down the door, a staircase leading into a basement was revealed. They found the Bennetts and brought them to safety.
Erica stepped out into the sun and recoiled at its powerful rays, along with Carter. They had only been trapped for four days but it felt like much longer. Erica bravely stepped back out into the sun and Carter followed her. They both hugged and didn’t let go until their attention was grabbed by a door slamming shut, more specifically, the door of a police cruiser.
There was a sense of relief to the Bennett’s as they knew they were finally safe. They were asked endless questions that the police officers had, but they knew they had to answer them in order to receive justice.
After that, Carter and Erica didn’t leave their house, they never even dared to step foot near the door. They isolated themselves inside their home and cut off their communication with the outside world.
A few weeks later new neighbors moved into the house next door. The Bennetts viewed the new neighbors from their 2nd story bedroom window. Fear crawled its way back into Erica’s heart and pricked at Carter’s. That fear generated thoughts of the Harper’s, but it didn’t matter because they were safe now. Besides, no one could be as crazy as the Harpers, right?