"I stayed at this girl's house on a school night for whatever reason, and we all had to take a bath. They told me to go first, but I was playing with this girl's only toy - a globe - and said I'd go last. Little did I know THEY ALL USED THE SAME FREAKING BATH WATER. THERE WERE LIKE, FIVE KIDS AND TWO ADULTS. They all, ALL SEVEN OF THEM, took a bath in the same water. I got pushed to the end of the line and when my turn was up, the water was brown. I mean, no longer transparent. I cried and they called my mom and then ran me new bath water.
It would appear that they were really poor, but no - her dad was an orthopedic surgeon."
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"I went to this kid's house. He wanted to go to a nearby playground. His mom told us we'd have to wait until she was finished with whatever she was doing. This 6/7-year-old kid pulled over a chair, stood on it, and slapped his mother straight across the face with force. She was quiet for a second or two, then said, 'Ok, get your coat.'
I went home and thanked my Mom for being her for about 12 hours straight."
"I had a friend who lived with her mum and her mum's brother. One day, I was standing at the bottom of the stairs waiting for my friend to get ready, and the mother and brother were at the top of the stairs behind the banister...making out. I just stood there. And then I heard the mother whisper, 'Oh crap, Chris is down there,' and they quickly parted ways.
I never mentioned any of that to my friend, ever, not even until this day. But I did later find out that it wasn't her mother at all, it was her much older sister (and older brother obviously). Just...weird, I don't know."
"One of my grade school friend's dad was a state cop. When dad wasn't home, his mom would frantically present activities, one after the other, like a hushed refugee trying to entertain a crying baby while soldiers passed nearby. When dad got home, there was an eerie chill the fell over the house - ice cold, hunkered down, everyone warily circling dad as though he could snap at the slightest provocation. No sudden moves, always looking to dad for approval. Friend and I would be relegated to the basement rec room to quietly play until my mom came to get me (if a playdate) or til we were ushered off to bed (if a sleepover). Upstairs, nothing. No talking, no moving - if the mom was making dinner, there'd be the occasional soft clink of a pan being placed on the stove, a little water in a pot, quiet fridge door.
If I had to use the (spotless, uncomfortably cleansed) bathroom upstairs, I'd have to pass through the living room, and the dad would be in his easy chair, with a drink, watching TV with the sound off. Without turning to me, he'd ask after my parents, warm and friendly, but not turning or moving to address me in any way. Dinner would be silent and tense. Silverware on plate sounds, loud chewing, scraping a chair would get a look of sharp, bottomless reproach from dad. Never at me, as a guest I had some wiggle room, but I was always terrified of breaking the silence and getting a dose of that look. I was welcome in their home, but I could tell I wasn't supposed to be there. I had a recurring nightmare about the man, and he'd always been kind to me. It was strange and unsettling.
Retrospect makes it creepier: bruises and marks, on my friend and his brother, on their mom - rashes and welts on necks and arms, split lips, angry wounds spotted whilst changing for gym, red marks and cuts up high on legs, the time my friend came to school after a long weekend with a missing front tooth, stitches in his lip, and a swollen ear - 'I fell over a rock in my yard and fell on another rock on my face, now quit asking,' and nonsense because they were not a 'go play in the yard, especially in a way that might cause injury' kind of family. I realized, more so long after, that the body language of the mom was fear - rigid, moving as though she just wanted to up and leave her skin, going ashen at the sound of any car coming down the street.
My dad was an abusive drinker, but my mom gave it back and kind of taught us to do the same, up to the day she court-ordered him out of the house. This family, I realized much, much later on, lived under a cold, charming psycho. The glimpses I saw, the sudden cracks of rage that would appear over a cold cup of coffee or a chair just so, out of place, made me wonder what happened when there wasn't an audience. They always had a rotating cast of mismatched glassware, pictures on the wall would disappear, sometimes reappearing in new frames. Patched drywall, painted by the next visit. Every cabinet and drawer lockable, seemingly under Dad's supervision at all times.
The dad, so stern and alien, his smile and his, 'How are ya!' greetings rang so hollow, his dead eyes that pierced your body and landed somewhere a million miles deep in your soul. Waking to yelps and muffled cries of pain late in the night when I'd sleep over. The clues were all there, but I just didn't have the perspective when I was young. My friend once made a veiled allusion to, essentially, being taken out to the garage and abused over minor transgressions, regularly. When pressed, because it was such an odd thing to say, friend angrily changed the subject, and then sulked at me until his mom came to pick him up. He just got angrier and angrier over time - I was a delinquent, but this kid went on a straight trajectory of crazy that peaked with him killing himself in 11th grade, increasingly ugly milestones along the way, a trail of wrecked property and assaulted girls."
"When I was a kid, I played at this other kid's house once or twice. The guy was adopted by what I imagine to be some of the weirdest, creepiest, people ever.
First of all, the house they lived in was pretty massive. That of itself wasn't so strange, but the fact that absolutely everything was eerily neat and clean was incredibly unsettling. I'm not talking about a house being just nice and clean, it literally felt like everything had just been installed the other day.
One of the reasons everything looked so clean was that we weren't allowed to do anything. This kid had like massive collections of Lego (I'm talking those huge building sets for like jets, etc costing hundreds of dollars) but he wasn't ever allowed to play with them, let alone let someone else play with it. I believe someone put it together for him and he was only allowed to look at it in his room.
So naturally, playing at his place got pretty boring pretty soon and I wasn't really the kind of kid to keep my mouth shut. Eventually, his parents would take out this hidden PlayStation 2 and hook it up to the massive TV in the living room. Great, right? Well, no. We were only allowed to play the Sims 2 and that would have been pretty good fun if his parents wouldn't have been policing us the whole time and making sure we didn't do anything 'unusual' in the game. Basically, we were allowed to simulate the most mundane and boring live imaginable as if being in their home wasn't bad enough already.
Just thinking back about that whole place gives me the chills. Such a robotic and weird environment. A while ago, I heard from an old friend that the adopted kid dropped out of school and became a junkie. Didn't expect that but man, was I not surprised."
"I was friends with a girl growing up and she didn't come from a very clean home. All the time, there were clothes in huge piles all over her bathroom floor. Okay, whatever. But for some unknown reason, no one in her family EVER flushed the toilet. They would sit, poo, and just go on with their life. Every once in awhile, when the bowl got too full, someone would just try to flush, thus resulting in week old poop and pee pouring out on the floor, all over this laundry. Nine times out of ten, they would kick around these clothes, then just leave the scene. They constantly bought new clothes. The worst thing this was all just completely normal to them."
"I was in second grade. I went to a neighbor's birthday party. I ate 2/3rds of a hot dog and tossed the rest. My friend's dad literally made me eat it out of the garbage. He stopped the party, picked it up, handed it to me, got this wild-eyed sneering look on his face, and started screaming about how he 'worked for that' and I 'was going to eat it' and 'respect his hard work' and 'don't waste it.' Yeah, the dude was loaded. He could afford to lose 35 cents worth of chicken toes and pork snouts, but apparently, the insult (from an 8-year-old) was too grave for him to accept.
Man, screw that guy. He passed that mindset onto his kids, too. They were all insanely status-conscious, constantly buying new crap whenever our family did. Us kids built a rickety 'treehouse' out of 2x4s? They hired a bunch of day-laborers to build a house on stilts for their kids. We got chickens? They hired day-laborers to build a picturesque chicken coop. We got a computer? They did. We got a Nintendo? They got Super Nintendo.
I didn't realize people like that actually existed, but they totally do."
"I had a friend when I was about 8 who always insisted that we played at my house. She was really sweet, but nervous around my parents, especially my dad.
Then one day, we finally got to play at her place and I was so looking forward to it, until I got there. My friend was nervous and afraid all the time and you got the sense that the dad was just this glooming lion ready to strike from his chair in the living room. You almost had this feeling that he could reach you anywhere in the house from that chair and the mother was on edge and overcompensating the whole way through. When it was time to go home, the dad blocked my way to the door and my friend and the mother began telling him to please move and he wouldn't get away with it. He finally moved and I went home with a feeling that I suddenly understood why my friend wanted to come over to my place instead, so I stopped asking to go to her place.
A few weeks went by and one day, she was at my place playing with me and her big sister came over to get her. They went home for a few hours and then my friend came back and went on playing with me. When my mom asked her if she went home to eat dinner or was she was eating here with us, my friend said that she just had to come home to watch. When my mother asked her what she meant by that, she told her that she just had to go home to watch her father do it with her big sister and she said it like it was a completely normal thing to do. My mom took her aside and asked her some more questions about what was going on and apparently her dad used all the kids (three girls at the ages of 14, 8, and 4) as his personal playthings. My mom and dad were furious. My dad wanted to go over there and cut the guy's junk off right then and there, but the other kids were still back home with that monster so they promised my friend that they would wait until her sisters were safe.
My mom made arrangements for my friend to sleepover at our house. The next morning, when my friend's dad had gone to work, she called the police and made sure the girls were safe when he was arrested at his job. He had kept them in check by telling them that he would kill their little sister and their mother if they ever told anyone about their special relationship.
He got thrown in jail and both parents lost the girls. The girls were put in a special care home and they are thriving and happy adults today with kids of their own.
And yes I know exactly what I was spared that day by the mother and my friends pleading with him.
The monster was sent to jail and the mother underwent a psyche evaluation and was deemed to be a victim, too, since she was only 15 when they had their first child and was beaten and mentally abused. So she was forced to have therapy so she could keep the youngest. It all went well until the day he found them again and moved right back in to finish the job with the youngest (who was now 8 years old). When that was discovered, he was thrown back in jail and the kid was taken from the mother. He also had the nerve to write letters to the other kids, telling them that he was being beaten in jail, was afraid for his life, and that it was all their fault.
But the worst part was that people around them knew about this and did nothing for various stupid reasons. The 14-year-old told a friend's mother, who told no one because of stupid excuses. A neighbor had apparently seen the dad with the 14-year-old in their garden behind their house and his excuse was that he thought no one would believe him. But every time someone told my parents that they felt bad for doing nothing and tried to give an excuse, my parents would tell them that they weren't interested in what they had to say because they chose to do nothing, so they had to live with the choices they made."
"When I was about 12-13, I had this friend who lived in a house with her mother and four other sisters. One day, I went to her place while on my period and ended up using her washroom to change my tampon. I put the used one in the garbage can--which had a lid--completely wrapped up in toilet paper. Later in the night, right before dinner, we're all sitting at the table waiting for their mother, when we suddenly all hear her screaming from the bathroom, 'WHO HAS THEIR PERIOD?! WHO USED A TAMPON?!' She came rushing down and all the sisters denied having theirs. I ended up sheepishly coming clean, to which she said, 'AND YOUR MOTHER LETS YOU USE TAMPONS?! DON'T YOU KNOW WHAT THAT DOES TO YOUR BODY?!' She then proceeded to make a whole dinner conversation out of why tampons are horrible for me, and why they've 'ruined my purity forever' and bragged about how her daughters would never use anything so 'primitive.' Needless to say, I never went there ever again.
I thought it was so weird because the only way she would have seen my used tampon is if she had actually gone through the garbage, looking for something incriminating. The thing is, that's totally something this woman would do, try and find something to yell at her daughters about."
"My best friend when I was 12 had a very pretty little sister who was a couple of years younger than us. One time when I was sleeping over at his house, we went into his dimly lit basement to get his mother. She was 'entertaining' a couple of creepy looking old men, who'd clearly been drinking, and they were being awfully 'friendly' with his sister. They were asking her for kisses and to sit in their laps. His mother looked deeply depressed and I remember feeling so strange and so uncomfortable that I blacked out this memory for decades. I found out a year ago that my friend's sister killed herself at 35, leaving her 9-year-old son without a mother.
The five minutes I spent in the basement were the darkest five minutes of my life. I really can't do it justice or find the words to describe how dark it was. I'm almost 50 and have been through a lot, but it was the worst experience of my life. Everything felt wrong. The men were evil old monsters, the mother was so depressed and so obviously complicit, and my friend's sister had obviously gone through situations like this before and was used to it. She was 10 and was acting flirty with the old men. The girl's father was somewhere in the house, but he wasn't in the basement with his wife and 'guests.' Everything was so off."
"In middle school, I was friends with this one kid who's mom had some serious self esteem and projection issues. I remember one day she picked us up from school because my own mother was ill, and proceeded to ask her son about everything he ate that day; not just his packed lunch that she had made him, but snacks and what not. When he admitted to buying fries during lunch, she proceeded to scream at him, calling him things like 'unhealthy pig' and almost sobbing at the very idea he might get fat, despite the fact that my friend was literally the most active, physically fit player on the baseball team. If this wasn't awkward enough, she stared me directly in the eye and said, 'See Evan? What if you get fat, and the only wife you can find is a girl like HER?'
I threw my backpack at her. Me and Evan weren't allowed to hang out anymore, partially for that, partially because I told my mother about his nutcase mom."
"I had a friend in middle/high school whose house no one had ever seen the interior of. Whenever we hung out, it was at someone else's house. If me or one of my other friends came by to pick her up to go somewhere (she didn't drive), we were never invited in and had to wait outside until she was ready. My other friends and I were always convinced her parents did some sort of top-secret government work or something like that.
One of my friends finally did see the inside of her house, after dropping her off and having to pee so bad she threatened to go in the bushes in their yard. Turns out the parents were hoarders and had stacks of papers EVERYWHERE and that's likely why no one was ever allowed inside."
"During primary school, I was involved in an out of school program that required traveling to another local school. Because my parents worked during the day, they arranged for me to be picked up by the mother of one of other children in my class. We went back to their place, where I was to wait until my mother came to pick me up.
While I was waiting, her son picked up a book and his mother turned to him and said, 'What have I told you about touching your stepfather's stuff?' She then grabbed him by the ear and pulled him over to his bedroom shoved him in and locked the bedroom from the outside with a heavy bolt. I can remember hearing him screaming from the other side of the door. I can't remember exactly what she said to me, but it was something along the lines of this is the way it has to be.
I told my parents and needless to say I never got a lift home with them again. Also a few months later he was removed from his parents after he set fire to his bedroom."
"I grew up in a horrible housing estate in London called the Aylesbury estate, I lived on the 12th floor of a high rise block. I made friends with a boy called Nicky who was from Grenada. He was black and lived with his mother and father, or so I'd been told. I went round his place to play with a new fire engine I bought with birthday money. His house was so strange, every single light in the house was red, every bulb. His mother's bedroom had a bolt lock on the inside for some reason. I saw his dad for the first time but something was amiss. HE WASN'T BLACK. He was 100% white. I was creeped out for a while, but I went round his place again the following week and the man he called dad had changed. He was a completely different man and the same happened again and again. Here's where it get's really messed up. When his mother died and he went into foster care, I asked my mum why he didn't live with his 'dad.' It turns out his mother was a street walker and had convinced Nicky that his dad was a shapeshifter. SHE CONVINCED HER SON THAT HIS DAD WAS SHAPESHIFTER when they were just customers. This was about 40 years ago. I never saw Nicky again, sadly."
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