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A One-Star Trip to the Lake

by Littlewit Philips 29 days ago in Horror

The places where we stay have a history, even if our stays are only temporary. We can't escape the past, and maybe the past can't escape us.

A One-Star Trip to the Lake
Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Hey Philips,

I'm assuming that you accidentally sent me this document early? I can look over it if you want, but try to get it a bit closer to the final product first, okay? Also, make sure you remove that short-term-home-rental site's name from the final version. We don't need any legal trouble, do we?

Take care,

JT

ONE STAR ONLY BECAUSE IT WON'T LET ME CHOOSE ZERO

By Aaron Burden on Unsplash

I stayed at [REDACTED]'s home on June 21st, and I have never (and I mean never!) had a worse stay anywhere! Sure, the house looks good in the pictures, and the lake was beautiful, but this place is not okay! Do not take your children here! Don't take yourself here!

We got in at about five, and everything seemed great (emphasis on "seemed"). My husband unloaded the car, and I took some pictures from the balcony, and the lake looked great. We bought fresh fruit so we could have a lazy breakfast on the shore of the lake in the morning, and I thought it would be perfect.

But I swear: the door that led down to the lake kept opening on its own. We tried to lock it, but after dark it kept swinging open. We called the owner to take a look at it, and he said he would come right away, but he didn't come all night! Excuse me? We propped something against the door to try to fix it, but that kept falling over. Worst night of sleep of my life!

Here's the short version:

  • We demand a FULL REFUND
  • [REDACTED] should remove this listing before someone gets hurt!
  • If you are considering staying here, DON'T!
By Jan Huber on Unsplash

Hey Philips,

I think what might be happening here is that you're sending me the wrong file. Can you check to be certain? I think you're sending me a file containing your research notes when you mean to send me your story. So all I have is those reviews, and I'm missing your commentary. Anyways, thanks for doing the redactions. Legal will give you a kiss on the mouth next time they see you, and I'm looking forward to reading the full story. Sounds perfect for our October issue.

Also, just to be clear about those photos you've attached: they're not from the listing on the Site That Must Not Be Named, right? They're clearly not the same property.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon,

JT

RE: ONE STAR ONLY BECAUSE IT WON'T LET ME CHOOSE ZERO

By Jort Hoekstra on Unsplash

I don't usually reply to the reviews that people leave on any of my properties, but this one deserves an exception. I did receive a call on the 21st, but when I offered to come by she said it wouldn't be necessary until the morning. And when I did come by in the morning, the door was fine. We tested it every way, trust me.

Still, they weren't happy, and I was hoping to avoid a fiasco like this, so I gave them a refund that morning. They'd booked the place for two weeks, and I gave them all that money back except for one night's stay.

I think that's more than fair.

My properties are maintained at the highest standard imaginable. I'm not just going to stand on the sidelines and let some hysterical woman try to drag my name through the mud. Seems like someone wanted a free night's stay and got cranky when I declined to give them that, but that's none of my business.

By Storiès on Unsplash

Philips:

This is the same document. Please pay attention to details. We've got plenty of slack before the deadline, but I would appreciate it if you treated my time with respect.

Regards,

JT

RE: RE: ONE STAR ONLY BECAUSE IT WON'T LET ME CHOOSE

By Bobby Overturf on Unsplash

Oh, I'm hysterical woman now, am I? Gee, I wonder how often Mr. [REDACTED] calls his male customers "hysterical." Any guesses?

And I am NOT a liar. You said you would come immediately, and we didn't see you for EIGHT HOURS. This kind of service is UNBELIEVABLE.

Until now, I haven't mentioned what happened AFTER the door kept opening, because I couldn't believe that it was your fault, and I wanted to be FAIR even though I was EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED by our stay at your property, but now I feel OBLIGED to mention:

SOMEONE was skulking around the property! I heard them ALL NIGHT. They were walking around the house, breathing heavily by the open door. We went outside to investigate, and there were footprints. They must have been standing right outside our window!

So, yeah. When our door kept opening (and Mr. [REDACTED] FAILED to fix the situation)? I got frustrated!

I mean it! Zero stars! This property IS. NOT. SAFE. [REDACTED] should be ashamed that this property is still listed on their site!

By Matt Seymour on Unsplash

Okay, Philips, you've made your point.

This is some kind of protest, isn't it? I know that you were hoping for more money from this gig, and I get that. But I'll have you know that you're one of our better paid writers, okay? And there just isn't room in the budget right now.

I get that you're probably frustrated, but you know what? You're replaceable. If you don't want to write your little articles, I can find someone else to do it. If you don't like our rates? Fine. Go somewhere else.

Right now, you're under contract for one more story, so stop sending me these stupid little excerpts and send me the finished version.

I'm very disappointed,

JT

RE: RE: RE: ONE STAR ONLY BECAUSE IT WON'T LET ME

By Daria Tuma on Unsplash

I'm actually relieved that this lady brought up her fantasy about some night-stalker creeping around the property, because hopefully anyone with two brain-cells to rub together will read that and recognize that she's nuts. Oh, and now I'm a sexist because I pointed out that someone was acting hysterical? Please.

For anyone who is too slow to keep up, yeah, when I got to the property in the morning, they claimed that someone had been sneaking around. I checked it out, but there definitely wasn't any proof. Oh, and did you notice that she didn't mention calling the police?

Gee, I wonder why. If she really believed that there was some kind of danger, why wouldn't she just call the cops?

My properties are still listed on [REDACTED] because I offer the highest quality places to stay. Period. This lady and her henpecked husband didn't enjoy their stay? Fine. Can't please them all. But for her to spread lies like these?

Lady, you better watch yourself, or you will have another thing coming to you.

By Clay Banks on Unsplash

Philips:

I do not want to get legal involved. This has gone on for long enough. Send me the finished article. After that, you are no longer associated with us. Understand?

JT

RE: RE: RE: RE: ONE STAR ONLY BECAUSE IT WON'T LET

By Noah Silliman on Unsplash

YOU INVESTIGATED?

When you finally bothered to show up, WE had already investigated! We followed those footprints, and they went back to the lake's shore. Do you know what else we found there? A NOOSE

Obviously, we didn't want to blame you for the footprints or the noose, because we didn't believe that you could possibly be involved. You CERTAINLY SEEMED nice BEFORE we gave you our MONEY.

Now we see your real colors, asshole.

To anyone who is reading this: Did you notice how in his last reply [REDACTED] made a threat against me and my "henpecked husband"? Well, I will have you know that he SEEMS interested in following that up!

We found footprints in our garden today! Not at his property (obviously we will never pay him another DIME) but at our home. He wants to shut us up! Well, we won't be intimidated, mr, and we are not going to take this!

And what's more, when we investigated the footprints down at the lake's shore? We saw someone. I didn't know what to think, but now I think we saw the landlord himself. He wanted to lure us out of the house, scare us off, and pocket the money we already paid.

This property is a scam, and [REDACTED] should remove it!

By Vincent Eisfeld on Unsplash

Philips:

I just heard from accounting that you tried to get corporate to pay for some trip you're taking?

1) That's not in the budget.

2) When you finally send me the damn article, you will no longer be associated with this organization.

At least you've made it clear that this was always about the money. They mentioned that you were looking to rent a lake-house on our dollar. I assume it's the lake-house from the reviews? Whatever the case, please stop. You were once one of our most-respected writers. Now you're just a pain in the ass.

JT

RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: ONE STAR ONLY BECAUSE IT WON'T

By Ussama Azam on Unsplash

Obviously, I was not threatening this lady with anything except a lawsuit. Any reasonable person would look at my words and understand that. I am not going to threaten violence over the internet! Her "reviews" are nothing more than slander, and I deserve to sue her. Let me explain:

Fifteen years ago, a man died on that lake in a very tragic circumstance. We don't bring it up because we think it's disrespectful to the dead. There's a local legend that around the anniversary the dead man starts to wander. Oooh, very spooky. It's a story the local kids tell around campfires is all.

This lady must have found that story somewhere on the internet or something, because she booked for the exact week of the anniversary. Now she's trying to screw me by bringing up this haunted house bullshit.

Oh, yeah, the kids love to talk about how the ghost can't rest until he's dragged someone else under the water. You ever notice how whenever someone researches stories like this they find out it's all a hoax?

If anyone believes her, go ahead. Research this ghost. I'll leave the week of the anniversary open for you.

I don't begrudge the kids some fun. I liked spooky stories too at their age. But, as an adult, I grew out of them. This lady leaving her reviews? She obviously didn't.

I hope that the adults in the room can see through this.

By Siora Photography on Unsplash

Philips:

No one has heard from you in a week. No one's seen you either. There's no slack left on that article. If you keep it up, we might miss October all together. What's going on?

JT

RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: ONE STAR ONLY BECAUSE IT WON'T

By ALEXANDRE LALLEMAND on Unsplash

I have NEVER heard anything about this ghost story! I'm not trying to screw this bastard of a landlord, he's trying to screw me! Why else would he be stomping around in my garden? Ever since we got back from his place, muddy footprints have been turning up around our house. We are going to set up a camera, and we are going to trap him, threats or no!

By Emma Smith on Unsplash

Philips? We're worried about you.

RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: ONE STAR ONLY BECAUSE IT

By freestocks on Unsplash

I won't be entertaining anymore nonsense from this lady.

Obviously, I don't have anyone creeping around her house. I don't even have her address.

She's clearly unhinged.

The rest of this will be handled by my lawyer, but I reiterate: there is no basis for the claims that I have someone stalking her at her property. That's outrageous! The only haunting here is me getting haunted by some asshole.

By Arusfly 🌿 on Unsplash

Philips, if you're still out there, please reply. Just let us know that you're okay. Please, for the love of God, tell me that you didn't go to that lake house. Not on the anniversary.

Horror

Littlewit Philips

Short stories, movie reviews, and media essays.

The primary task of life is outgrowing the bio you have already written.

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