When Mike opens his noisy garage doors, he is startled by an offensive odor. As soon as he steps inside, he retches out in disgust. Where did the odor originate? Mike’s stomach sinks horribly as he unexpectedly sees his neighbor’s delivery. Whatever was inside the package was the source of the scent.
As a result, he thought his neighbor had subscribed to one of those subscription boxes that provide meat each month. The box contained no meat of any kind. This was indeed an unimaginable experience.
Mike Jones was an ordinary man in an ordinary town. Throughout the community, many townspeople knew Mike as a friendly and caring neighbor, who would be willing to help anybody out.
But Mike had no idea what was coming to him when he agreed to help a new neighbor out. He thought it was a gesture of kindness but he was so wrong.
Mike had lived in the same house for the past 11 years, and with every new family that moved into the neighborhood, he welcomed them with a smile and a wave.
So when his new neighbor asked Mike to pick up any mail or parcels he had delivered while he was away, Mike agreed, as any friendly neighbor would. But Mike had no idea what he was about to uncover.
Mike’s new neighbor was younger than him. He was one of those YouTubers who seemed to enjoy filming wacky videos in hopes he would go viral. One of those videos included finding an M&M in a pool of skittles, which Mike just rolled his eyes at.
At first, Mike didn’t mind. “He’s just young,” he thought. But Mike had no idea the lengths his neighbor would go to become famous.
One Friday afternoon, Mike heard a knock at the door. He answered and was surprised to see it was his YouTuber neighbor.
It turned out his neighbor was going away for a few weeks and he asked Mike to get his mail while he was gone. Mike was relieved to hear this, at least he’d be out of the way. But Mike had no idea what was coming his way.
His neighbor set off the following day, and for the first few days, it was merely bills and letters that Mike had retrieved from his neighbor’s house.
Then one night, Mike came across a package at the front of his neighbor’s house. Written on it was ‘RETURN TO SENDER’ in bright red. Mike didn’t know it at the time, but this mysterious package was about to tear his world in two.
The package was quite big, and with a struggle, Mike pushed the box over to his home to keep safe for his neighbor. He planned on putting it in his garage, but the parcel was heavy.
Mike was a pretty big guy, no stranger to weightlifting at the gym, yet he struggled to move this box. What was inside? He thought maybe it was furniture, but he was so wrong.
It took around 15 minutes and Mike had finally managed to transport his neighbor’s large box into his own garage. But as he opened the squeaky garage doors, suddenly he lost grip on the box and it fell to the ground.
He heard a crack coming from inside the box and Mike stopped in his tracks. Woops. He hoped it was nothing too expensive there, but Mike had no idea what he had just done.
After pushing the box into the corner of the garage, Mike pulled down his squeaky garage doors and headed back inside his home.
He had forgotten all about the box until a few days passed. But suddenly, one day, he noticed something that made him sick to his stomach: a terrible smell was lingering in the house.
One morning, while Mike was in his kitchen cooking breakfast, he noticed that something was off; there was a strange smell lingering around the room. As the day went by, he could smell it in every room of the house.
At first, it was nothing more than a light odor, but then the smell transformed into something truly horrific. It was like roadkill.
Mike searched all around his house, inspecting each and every corner and nook; however, he couldn’t find the source. But then he realized he hadn’t checked his garage.
He opened the squeaky garage door, and the repulsive smell knocked Mike back. He walked inside the garage, covering his nose. He had no idea what he was about to uncover.
Mike scanned all around his garage to try and find the source of the smell. With each step, Mike felt the smell getting stronger and stronger.
But then he realized something: the smell was coming from the box in the corner. Mike felt a terrible feeling hit the pit of his stomach as he looked at his neighbor’s box.
At first, Mike thought perhaps his neighbor had ordered one of those monthly-meat-subscription-boxes. They were incredibly popular throughout the neighborhood. The reasonable thing to do was put it into the fridge right after delivery, but maybe his neighbor had forgotten to mention it to Mike.
But what was inside the box was not animal meat. It was something truly unimaginable.
Mike covered his nose as he got closer to the box. He picked up a pair of scissors and bent down, but then he saw the box was soggy. Mike was repulsed at this.
He cut through the top of the box, and just when he thought the smell couldn’t get worse, he flipped open the flaps and discovered a new meaning of the word stink.
Straight away as Mike Opened the box he was met with a smell that was so disgusting, it made Mike retch.
Quickly, he ran outside for some fresh air. What was inside the box that stunk so badly? He knew he had to find it out, but he wasn’t prepared for what he would find.
No amount of air fresheners, sprays, or deodorants could keep the smell from lingering inside Mike’s nostrils.
He knew he had to go back inside the garage and take a look inside the box. He took a deep breath before walking back into the garage, but he had no idea what he was about to find.
Armed with a cloth covering his nose, a garbage bag in one hand, and cleaning bleach in the other, Mike made his way over to the box ready to get rid of whatever was inside.
But as Mike was about to find out he didn’t need any of those things. What he was about to find inside the box was nothing that could be cleaned or washed away. It was something that would haunt Mike for years to come.
Mike was correct when he guessed that the source of the smell had come from rotting meat. That stench could only be coming from that sort of thing. But it wasn’t from a pig or a cow. Very far from it.
It was from a human. As a matter of fact, it was from a human that Mike knew very well: his own neighbor.
Mike’s mouth dropped wide open when he saw his neighbor inside the box. He was evidently dead but in one piece.
He ran out of his garage and called for help on his cellphone. Mike felt sick to his stomach. As quick as a flash, the cops turned up but Mike wasn’t prepared for what he would later find out.
As expected the cops took Mike in for interrogation, seeing as he was the one with a corpse in the garage… Thankfully, they realized he had nothing to do with it and let him go.
But there was something inside the box alongside his neighbor’s corpse that was a crucial piece of evidence. It would change everything and ultimately prove Mike’s innocence. The neighbor was holding a vlogging camera.
The cops showed Mike the footage from his neighbor’s camera. He had no idea what he was going to watch, but he knew he had to find out.
Already emotional from uncovering a corpse in his garage, what Mike saw on his neighbor’s footage left him even more lost for words. He felt sick to his stomach and was close to fainting.
You see, the footage showed Mike’s neighbor sitting inside the box at a shipping facility. He spoke into the camera and told people he was going to mail himself across the county. He had food, blankets, flashlights, and bottles.
The plan was foolproof, or that’s what he thought. He didn’t know what he was getting himself into.
His neighbor thought this prank was going to make him go viral. Soon enough people worldwide would hear about the guy that mailed himself home. He would get thousands of views on his channel and make a good profit out of ad revenue. Maybe he would even get some interviews on mainstream media.
And people did, indeed, end up hearing about him. But it was for a much more harrowing and eerie reason.
Throughout the following hours of footage, Mike’s neighbor seemed cool, calm and collected despite being stuck and crammed inside a box. At one point, he told his viewers thought he was, “in a truck, ready to be delivered.” But in the last piece of footage in Mike’s neighbor’s harrowing video diary, he confidently told the camera “he had a feeling he was near home.”
Then suddenly the box toppled over, and the shot went to black. His neighbor had broken his neck.
After watching this footage Mike felt sick to his stomach. While he thought his neighbor was stupid for attempting such a dangerous prank, he never could have expected it would have cost him his life.
But there was something that Mike had failed to mention to the police. It was a crucial detail that would have major consequences.
You see, in his neighbor’s footage, just after the box toppled over and his neighbor broke his neck, Mike heard a noise that sounded incredibly familiar. When he realized what it was, he felt a shiver going down his spine.
It was a sound that he knew very well: the screeching sound of his own garage door.
Could it be that Mike was to blame for his neighbor’s unfortunate incident? Instantly, Mike was hit by a violent wave of anguish and anxiety. Had he been responsible for his neighbor’s death?
What should he do? What would the police say about it? But surely, they had checked the footage as well. They knew that the cause of the accident was the box toppling over. However, there was one essential detail.
Just by checking the footage, the police had no way of knowing where the accident had taken place: they didn’t know whose responsibility it was.
For all they knew, the box could have fallen off the truck upon delivery, or from one of the racks inside the truck. While reflecting this, Mike came to an appalling realization.
The police had no way of knowing that the accident had occurred inside his garage; therefore, they were in the dark about the fact that it was Mike who dropped the box, causing his neighbor’s death.
In other words, they couldn’t know anything about the extent of Mike’s involvement in the accident unless he told them about it. Mike broke out in a cold sweat.
Now, Mike was faced with a dilemma he could have never guessed he would have to encounter. Should he tell the police about what really happened? Should he tell them that the screech they could hear on the footage was his garage door?
In other words: should he tell them that his neighbor died inside his house and as a result of him dropping the box?
In a few seconds, Mike saw his whole life flashing before his eyes as his heart galloped inside his chest, threatening to jump out of his mouth.
He had visions of himself in front of a court, with handcuffs and an orange overall before being sentenced and then spending the rest of his life in prison or getting out as an old man.
And it was all just because of his neighbor’s stupid Youtube video that Mike didn’t even have business being involved with.
Why couldn’t his neighbor have started a channel of fragrance reviews or video games? Why did he have to set himself up for a risky prank and get Mike involved without telling him anything about it?
Mike felt frightened, devastated, furious, and regretful, all rolled into one. He felt like crying, screaming, and yelling all types of insults and curses dedicated to his neighbor.
But all he could do now was sit on that chair in the police station, while the officers around him showed him the footage. But what should Mike do now?
Should he tell the police the truth and risk going to jail, or should he just pretend he didn’t hear that screech, play dumb, not mention it at all, and carry on with his life?
Would he be able to live all his life with the certainty that his neighbor died inside his garage and that he lied to the police about it?
One police officer stopped the video right there and then. Then, all the officers in the room turned back and looked at Mike for a few seconds.
All eyes were on him. He could feel big drops of sweat going down his forehead and flooding the palms of his hand. After a few seconds that felt like an eternity, one of the officers spoke.
“I’m sorry for this,” the officer said. “I can see that you’re distressed. The footage is certainly quite disturbing and I’m sorry that you had to watch it, but it’s necessary.”
“Now, with your permission and my fellow officers’, I’m going to have to ask you a few questions about what we all have just seen playing on that screen.”
“I would like to ask you if the box fell down inside your garage or after you picked it up,” he said, giving Mike an ice cold stare that looked like it could perforate into his mind and his very soul.
A few seconds of silence followed. Mike’s heart was beating like a drum. Now, it was the moment of truth.
Now, Mike had to make the decision. He could tell the officer the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and face whatever consequences followed from it.
Or he could omit that one single detail that made him have a part, no matter how accidental and unwilling, in someone else’s death and carry on with his life like nothing happened.
After some quiet seconds that felt like an eternity, Mike finally spoke. He opened his mouth to give his version to the police officers surrounding him, staring at him with piercing eyes.
But before he could speak, he noticed that words couldn’t come out of his mouth. He noticed something. It was something that had never happened to him in many years.
Tears began flowing down his face and he broke down. He couldn’t take it anymore. He admitted all the truth: the box toppled over inside his garage. It was him that lost his grip on it, resulting in his neighbor’s death.
Mike buried his face inside his hands, shaking and crying. What was going to happen to him now? Was he going to jail?
The police officers seemed shocked by his reaction. One of them brought him a glass of water, and the officer who had asked him the question waited a few seconds before speaking back.
“Well, I’m sorry for what you’re going through. However, you must know that you won’t be accused of manslaughter. It was an accident. However, there’s something that might happen.”
“Your neighbor’s family might consider that you’re liable for the accident and they might have the right to claim compensation. However, the judge will have the last word in all of this.”
Mike felt relieved to hear this. Besides, now his conscience was clean. But now, there was a new worry in his life. Would his neighbor’s family claim compensation? In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.