A trip gone wrongWhat was supposed to be a quiet family getaway takes a strange and terrifying turn.
I try to plan a family trip once a year so that we can get away from the stresses of everyday life and spend quality time together. My wife and I often prefer to stay in hotels, but after we had our third child, we felt that booking a villa would be more comfortable, as our youngest child, who was seven months at the time, regularly cried and threw tantrums at night. So for this family trip to a beach town, we decided to book an entire villa.
While searching for one, I was thrilled to discover a gorgeous house that offered a reasonable nightly fee and was within a five-minute walk from the beach. In addition, we could obtain our weekly groceries at the shopping centres that were only a short drive away. I was relieved to learn that guests had all given the villa and its host, a middle-aged man named Ravi, five-star reviews. I made a reservation for the house for seven nights, formally beginning the vacation preparation process.
After a very lengthy drive, we eventually arrived at the house at 10:30 pm. The villa was completely dark inside and out, creating an unsettling atmosphere. We followed the entry guidelines that Ravi had emailed us. To get the key, we entered the garage’s code and then walked to the safe there. We were able to enter without much difficulty and quickly began unpacking. With six bedrooms and four bathrooms, the cottage was spacious and luxurious. Upon entering the house, my wife and I detected a musty odour, but we chalked it up to the fact that no one had been in the house for over a week.
My wife and I decided to sleep in the master suite with our infant. Our two sons shared a room at the end of the hall. Since we had been up since dawn, we fell asleep early.
Cries of my son woke me up in the middle of the night. He had apparently heard footsteps and had rushed to our room. My wife comforted him and tucked him back into his bed. Our two sons, aged five at the time, were easily frightened at night, and this was nothing new. I soon fell asleep.
I must have slept for a few minutes when my two sons woke me up once again. They were terrified and crying their eyes out and were convinced that they had heard someone walking outside their room. To help them relax, the three of us checked all the rooms. After that, they were able to go back to sleep. Concerned, I did another sweep of the cottage. I unlocked the stairwell door near their rooms and climbed up to the top, where I saw that the attic door was, as expected, locked.
As soon as I got back into bed, I heard a scream from my sons’ room. I bolted from bed and sprinted down the hall. They were both huddled under the covers of their beds. When I went up to them and inquired as to the source of their distress, the news was disturbing, to say the least.
One of my sons said he saw a shadowy figure outside his door, and he heard the door crack open. The panic in his voice and his expression made me uneasy. When they first came to the room crying, I thought they were just frightened because we were staying at a strange place and imagining things. But when this happened for the third time, I was worried and began to wonder if someone else was indeed in the house. I asked my wife to take our two sons into our room and lock the door from the inside. I went to check the entire house.
I wished I had carried my licensed gun. In fact, I had thought about bringing it with me on this vacation but changed my mind at the last minute because I didn’t think I would need it.
After checking the floor that we were in, I silently made my way to the ground floor. My light footfall and the sound of my breath were the only sounds I could hear, but they still seemed loud despite my best efforts to be stealthy. After fumbling around in the dark for a minute, I located the light switches and turned them on. When I looked up and saw that the door to the house was wide open, my heart skipped a beat. Before we went to sleep, I had checked to ensure all the doors in the house were locked. I locked the door and immediately dashed upstairs. I knew that we were not the only people in the villa.
My wife called the police and was told that a team would arrive shortly, and they asked us to stay inside the room no matter what. Unnerved by all that had happened, I called the house owner’s phone number to inform him about the possible break-in. After dialling his number, I switched to speaker mode so that if he answered, my wife could also listen in. What happened next has stayed with me all these years. As soon as I dialled his number, I heard a faint ringing from the attic above us. My better half and I exchanged stunned glances as we realised the homeowner’s phone was hidden in the attic.
Fortunately, the police arrived shortly after that, and we were able to explain what had occurred. We enjoyed the rest of our trip at the motel we checked into that night, which was only a short drive from the villa. We checked in with the cops to see if they had any leads, and they told us that Ravi, the cottage’s owner, was up in the attic all night. We learned from the police that Ravi had unlocked our sons’ bedroom door but quickly retreated when he heard my wife and I get up to investigate the source of the commotion. He must have slipped out of one of the rooms and made his way down the stairs and out of the house. As it turned out, he was able to see and hear everything since the attic was equipped with multiple monitors that were directly connected to hidden cameras placed throughout the house. My first experience with renting a holiday home was so terrifying that I have since decided to stick to booking hotel rooms.