I Thought I Got The Deal Of A Lifetime When I Bought My First-Ever Home… Until I Started Digging In The Backyard

Donna Lichaw
Donna Lichaw

“Find them buried in the backyard. Immortality awaits us.”

I have heard it said that you die twice. Once, when your physical form passes away, and a second time when someone utters your name for the last time.

When I was a child, I had no sense or understanding of the infinite. My religious upbringing was meant to give me peace and solace in these matters, but it never did. Even when I left religion to the wayside, it got me no closer to any sort of truth in the matter.

I remember the first time the question was presented to me. I was 15. It may seem trite now, something we all have to wrestle with, but It ricocheted throughout my brain like a fucking bullet.

When you die, is that it?

That is such a fucking scary thought, and with time, it gets no less terrifying.

One day you will cease to exist.

You are fucking done.

Death terrifies me so much. What scares me even more, and this is going to sound extremely self-centered, how can the world exist without me? And as a corollary to this, what sort of permanent mark am I making on the world around me? I suppose if I have children and they have children, I will be remembered, but that’s about the best most of us can hope for.

This got me thinking about the digital footprint we are all leaving behind us through Facebook, Instagram, etc. I have a friend that took his own life four years ago, and his Facebook profile still exists. At any time, I can still see his posts from yesteryear. I can view the hope and optimism of a 26 year old racked with uncertainty. I can still see the light poking through the darkness of a deep depression I was never aware of. I can see the face that he wanted to portray to the world while he was secretly ready to say no to it all.

How long will his profile exist in the ether? If someone a hundred years from now stumbles across his page, does that make him immortal? How does one even really define immortality?…

I digress before I have even gotten anywhere near the meat of this story. For that I apologize. Let me get more focused. Sorry if I rush the details.

Five years ago, I bought a home in the boonies. I was able to get this amazing property at a discount due to the fact that the previous owner died of a heart attack in the foyer.

Apparently, Dennis Moyer passed away without a single person in the world that gave a shit about him, no next of kin, zero friends. The only person that gave a single fuck about his passing was the real estate agent who had to sell his land.

The price was beyond right, and I knew I had the upper hand when I found out that someone had died in the house. I was able to talk them below the already insanely low asking price.

I moved in and made it my own. This house quickly became my home. Within a year’s time, I rarely thought about why I got this incredible and spacious property on the cheap. Not that there weren’t subtle reminders.

Every couple of days, I would receive a letter addressed to Mr. Moyer. This would take the form of a credit card offer or something along those lines. I would promptly throw away such letters in the garbage.

Throughout the next two years the letters never ceased. I began to grow uneasy. To be honest, it threw me into an existential crisis of sorts, dredging up thoughts like those mentioned above. Dennis Moyer continued to “live on” in the form of the unrelenting junk mail he received. I began to greet the mailbox with a frown and would shudder every time a piece of mail arrived with his name on it.

After three years, the mail slowed down to a trickle. Eventually, it just stopped. In my estimation, Mr. Moyer had finally “passed away.” I was able to put the former tenant of my home completely out of my mind. That is until we met face to face.

I awoke to a creaking sound coming from the first floor of my house. I continued to listen as incredulity gave way to fear. At first, I thought it was just a dream. I have bouts with sleep paralysis and have awoken to much stranger things than errant noises in the night. I closed my eyes and held my breath, but it continued. Panic seized me as the truth revealed itself. I was most definitely hearing the sound of measured and deliberate footsteps creaking into the floorboards of my kitchen.

I reached into my closet and grabbed a baseball bat. I slowly slunk down my stairs. The entire time the sound of footsteps continued, only increasing in volume as I descended further into the darkness. A sickening feeling began to build in my gut and only grew as I neared the source of the sound. I swallowed the lump in my throat and rounded the corner to my kitchen. I held the bat aloft and inched my way closer.

As I stared into the blackness, the creaking of the floorboards ceased. I turned on the light. Nothing in the world could prepare me for what I was about to see.

An elderly gentleman was in my kitchen. His eyes were trained on me. He had stringy, gray hair that ran to his shoulders. He was a fairly unremarkable man of about 70. Unremarkable, save for the fact that he was standing in my kitchen at 2 in the morning, and his smile.

That fucking smile.

If I close my eyes now I can still see it.

It was impossibly wide. It revealed a set of yellow and black teeth. It was mesmerizing. I couldn’t look away. There was something so inherently off-putting about it. It contained an intangible quality that immediately shook me to my core.

I stood there staring back for what seemed like an eternity, but was in reality only a matter of seconds. He began to inch towards me. That feeling in my gut intensified. I knew in a moment I was going to be sick.

As he moved ever closer, the smile remained. The expression on his face never changed. A sickening detail revealed itself to me. His feet no longer made a sound. In fact, they were no longer touching the floor.

A voice shattered the silence. I looked once more at that harrowing smile, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. His mouth never moved, but there was no doubting that the words were coming from the man in my kitchen.

“Find them buried in the backyard. Immortality awaits us.”

The voice entered my ears and went straight to my stomach. I ran to the bathroom and vomited into the toilet.

I remained there, collecting my thoughts. I was in too much disbelief as to what I had witnessed to react. The entire time no noises escaped the adjacent kitchen. I gathered myself and exited. I shut my eyes and prayed that the… man was no longer there.

My eyes opened to reveal I was alone. I searched through my house and there was no trace of any intruder. Both doors remained locked from the inside. I sat down in my living room as my mind continued to race. 3 AM gave way to 4 which quickly became 5. Before I knew it, the sun began to rise. As I continued to contemplate the encounter, only one certainty entered my brain.

I hadn’t been sleeping.

The next day I drove the mile or so to my closest neighbor’s house. Mr. Henderson wasn’t what I would call a friend, though this is not to say he wasn’t a friendly man. For example, he spied the moving trucks on the day of my arrival, and selflessly offered to help me get settled in.

On that morning, I hadn’t seen him in a few months. I quietly knocked on his door. He answered and immediately knew that something was amiss.

“Is everything alright, Thomas?” he said in his friendly southern drawl.

“Yeah, can I come in a minute?”

“Of course, my friend. Of course.”

I entered his home and made a beeline for his living room. He followed behind.

“Are you sure everything’s okay?”


I looked him in the eyes, still building up the courage to look at the pictures adorning his wall.

“This is going to sound weird.” I said nervously, “but can I borrow a cup of sugar?”

“Oh. Of course you can.”

He exited the living room for his kitchen. While he was gone, I perused the pictures, looking for a specific one. My heart lept into my throat when my eyes found what I had come there to see.

It was a picture from 7 Christmases ago. I vaguely remembered Mr. Henderson showing me this picture when I first moved. It was of the Henderson family sitting around the table preparing to indulge in a Christmas feast.

When he first pointed the picture out to me, Mr. Henderson said, “he had nobody, and we always felt bad for him. So, one Christmas we invited him over. He was the sweetest man. He just kept to himself to a fault. Such a shame dying all alone and forgotten like that.”

Staring back at me from the frame of the picture was Dennis Moyer. Written on his face was the same crooked smile I had seen in my kitchen. It revealed something to me in the light of day that I had neglected to notice before. It was a smile that concealed something, a secret. I could see it in the shape of his lips. I stared into the frame as Dennis stared back.

Then, he winked at me.

I ran out of the house, crawled into my car, and drove off into the distance.

The sun began to set as I finally made my way back home. I pulled into my garage and turned off my car. As the engine died, the eerie silence within unsettled me. Through the darkness, I made my way to the door that connected to the house. Before I could enter my home, I heard something clatter to the ground. I froze. Nervously, I turned on the light to see what had made the noise. A shovel had fallen to the ground. I picked it back up and leaned it against the wall.

My thoughts came back into focus. I was going to pack the essentials, load them up in my car, and spend the week at my parents. There was no way, at least for the time being, I was going to spend another night in that house.

I went up to my bedroom and started to pack some clothes. After finishing that, I moved toward my bathroom to grab some toiletries. I opened the door and turned on the lights. To my horror, the very shovel that had tipped over in the garage now rested against the bathroom wall. I looked up into the mirror and immediately regretted doing so. My face did not stare back at me.

Dennis Moyer looked into me from the mirror.

The glint I had noticed in his eye the previous night only intensified. I was once again mesmerized. A voice called to me once more. This time it didn’t make me sick. It had a hypnotic quality to it.

“Find them buried in the backyard. Immortality awaits us.”

Before I knew what I was doing, I had the shovel in my hand and was making my way towards the backyard on feet that no longer belonged to me.

I stopped about 100 yards into the vast woods that comprised my property. I began to dig. Preternaturally driven, I continued without ceasing. After an hour or so of this, I struck something hard. This snapped me out of the hypnotic state I had found myself in. I took out my phone and shined a light into the darkness of the pit I was standing in. It revealed a tiny skeleton. Horrified by this find and with my faculties returning to me, I rapidly climbed out of the pit. After I got on my feet, I turned around to see the spectre of Dennis Moyer staring bullets into me. I recoiled and stepped back, but my feet betrayed me. I fell to the ground.

He approached. Same crooked smile. Same glint in his eyes.

He stood over me. I was too petrified to move. His mouth twisted even further. Two words filled the air.

“Thank you.”

Then, he disappeared.

Well, you more or less know the rest. I put a call into the police, and before long, the mass graveyard was unearthed. The final count was 93 confirmed victims, mostly children. And thus The Full Moon Butcher was born. Dennis Ray Moyer went from all but forgotten to being on the front page of every newspaper, and the top story of every newscast across the nation. He will go down in the annals of history as the most prolific serial killer the United States has ever seen. And to think if I hadn’t discovered the bodies, this would have never came to light. This is a fact that has been repeated to me in the many interviews I’ve given since the discovery. My improbable and heroic find has led my name to be mentioned in the same breath whenever Dennis Ray Moyer’s is uttered.

I’m not really sure how I feel about that…

The concept of immortality still confounds me. That being said, there is one thing I am certain of. Dennis Moyer found a way to achieve it, and as I do my fifth TV spot in as many weeks, maybe I will too. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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