Shuddersome Shorts

Tales of Eerie Terror


Break out the old LPs and spin a little wax as we take a look at this musical meditation from "Bashful" Brian, who previously brought us such Top 40s as "Between Somewhere and Nowhere" and "Hilltop Drive".  This time around, a tearful tale of a haunted record and the ghost in the grooves.  A soulful singalong we call...

The Crying Sound


By Brian Grisham
About the author

VIVIAN PICKED UP THE RECORD ALBUM with her old, trembling hands from the kitchen table and looked at her house nurse, Tracy, with tearful eyes. She couldn’t believe it. It had been so long since she held this album in her hands, and now here it was with the words ‘The Voice Of Dean Martin’ written in bold across the top. Vivian sighed like a schoolgirl.

The wheelchair wasn’t uncomfortable for her. She liked not being stuck in bed all day and it had been a long time since she got to see the other rooms in her house. It made her smile again, something she had done very little of these last few years.

Tracy gently took the record out of Vivian’s hands, put it in her lap and spoke softly, “Would you like me to play it for you now?”

Vivian’s eyes lit up. It had been over fifty years since she heard the song which she and her husband had danced to so long ago. It was during their honeymoon in 1941; Daniel put the record on and took Vivian’s hand in his. Together they danced, slow and sensual, as his brown eyes peered lovingly into hers. Although the song was only a couple minutes long, to them it lasted hours... days. Their love spilled out from the sheets, two naked bodies gripping each other with passion and climax. A soft moan had escaped his lips which brought Vivian back into an uncontrollable world of gripping pleasure.

Vivian finally peered up at Tracy and said in a low voice, “Yes, please do.”

Tracy smiled and wheeled Vivian over to the record player in the next room. The record player was almost ancient. Vivian ran her hand across the dusted surface of the turntable then rubbed her index finger and thumb together. She never listened to music anymore. She just didn’t have the strength to enjoy her life like she used to. Especially since the death of her husband. He had been gone for so long; she no longer remembered his smooth voice or his boyish face, the face she had fallen in love with.

Tracy took the album in her hands and slid the record out. It gleamed in the soft, yellow light like a precious jewel. She laid the album on the table beside the record player and set the record on the turntable.

Vivian let out a shallow breath. A flash of memory of her husband with the record in his hands sped across her mind. Vivian looked at Tracy with trembling lips then eyed the record once again. It was spinning on the turntable now, and a part of herself no longer wanted to hear the song. That part of her wanted to lay back in bed, close her eyes and sleep to forget.

Tracy picked up the record player’s arm in her fingertips and gently set it on the record. It made a familiar static sound which she had never really cared for. Then all was silent for about five seconds, until the song rose into Vivian’s ears like voices of angels calling out for her from the depths of the past. The first few notes of the song brought back her entire memory of the night of her honeymoon. Vivian wrapped her arms around herself and smiled.

The music was slow and mellow; a jazz orchestra with a piano, trombones, trumpets and drums. Dean Martin’s voice was light and yet deep and rich with emotion. It was as if the words were dripping out like honey -- so slow and so sensual. Vivian shivered.

At last Tracy murmured, “Now I see why your husband played this song for you.”

Vivian looked up at her with tearful eyes and said, “He was such a good man.”

Tracy gave her another smile and said, “How about I give you a little timeto yourself. I’ll be in the next room if you need anything.”

“Thank you, Tracy. Thank you so very much,” Vivian said and held her hand in hers.

After Tracy left, Vivian sat back in her wheelchair, closed her eyes and listened to the song, reliving the moment she had spent with her husband over and over in her mind. It was as if her old self had come back.

Her younger self... the child of nineteen. She was a beautiful woman again, dancing with a gentleman who was so adoring and so caring that she indeed felt special and fulfilled. There were no other men like him anywhere, and perhaps there would never be anyone quite like him again. Vivian took his sudden death hard. He was drafted into World War I and died a year later in France. She was told that he had fallen at the front lines and by the time the shelling stopped, his body was barely recognizable. A month passed before the body was returned home. It was a quick funeral and the only face she had to remember him by were several pictures of him set up on the casket.

Twenty-four years he had lived, and she had only been twenty-two. A few days after the funeral, she was told that before her husband left for the war, he had taken out a life insurance policy of 1.5 million dollars.

Vivian couldn’t believe it, however it was her husband she wanted to kiss, hold and snuggle, not the wealth.

Vivian opened her eyes. The song was coming to an end. But it was then she heard something strange; a noise, deep and muffled. Vivian eyed the spinning black circle. The noise was gone, only the soft beautiful music charmed her ears. Before the song could end, Vivian lifted the needle from the record and listened. The house was quiet. Quiet, like a cemetery.

Again, Vivian put the needle on the spinning record, about halfway through the song. She sighed deeply, closed her eyes once again and listened in peace. With the money she had bought a new house, limousines with chauffeurs, dinner parties, new friends and everything of the like.

But underneath the mask of pleasantries lurked her loneliness. Her heart was dying with each passing week. Her soul felt diminished and alone. She had never wanted to marry again, although men far and wide had come to court her. She would not let herself be swept off her feet. Then, almost a year after her husband’s death, she had a stroke that paralyzed both of her legs. Since then, she had suffered a series mild heart attacks and seizures.

The muffled sound was back. Vivian could hear it behind Dean Martin’s voice. It sounded terrible, as if somebody was in constant pain.

Again, she removed the needle, placed it on the previous spot and listened closely. Within seconds the sound returned, and it was louder this time. Clearer. Vivian could just make it out. It was a crying sound. Could somebody else have been in the studio while the song was being recorded?

Vivian could not see how since the sound was now more in the middle of the song and not toward the end where she had originally heard it.

Her hands shook violently. Over the years she had lost her ability to walk and to love. Had she now lost her sanity? Vivian moved the needle again and listened. The muffled crying was louder. She could sense that the person was in terrible anguish. She let the song continue and the crying became even louder until she could hear it over the song itself.

The voice cried out, “Vivian, my wife. Vivian, my wife. Vivian, my wife...”

Vivian stared at the record player. Her body froze and her scalp crawled over her skull. She half expected the record to pop out and slice off her head like a buzz saw, but it didn’t. It just spun in a continuous circle on the turn table. The music was low in the background and the crying was loud, as if it was reaching out to her.

“My wife...” it sobbed.

“Daniel,” Vivian whispered with her fingers close to her chin. “My husband.”

“Vivian,” a voice called to her from across the room.

Vivian looked up, toward the direction of the voice, and there she saw Daniel, leaning against the wall. He was dressed in a tuxedo, the very one he had worn on their honeymoon, and his brown eyes were peering into hers.

Vivian dug her fingers into the armrests on the wheelchair. She could not believe it and quickly lifted both hands to her chest, expecting theimpending heart attack which would indeed take her to her coffin.

“It’s okay, Vivian,“ Daniel said in a calm, soothing voice. “I’m here now.”

“It-it can’t be you...” Vivian whispered.

Daniel slowly stepped toward her and gazed at the spinning record.

“You remembered.”

Vivian glanced back at the record then to Daniel and blinked. “Yes... it has been so long.”

Daniel came close to her and took her hand in his. It was warm and smooth to the touch. Vivian froze, still staring into her dead husband’s eyes.

They were so beautiful... and so real.

“I am real,” said Daniel.

“I -- can’t walk,” Vivian said as she peered downward.

“Nonsense,” Daniel said and smiled. “Come dance with me again.”

Vivian peered back into his eyes. So majestic. So... real.

“You can do it, hon. Just close your eyes,” said Daniel as he held her hand even tighter.

Vivian peered up at him for a moment longer, afraid that if she did close her eyes, she would lose him again. She looked at his hand, swallowed hard then slowly closed them.

“Yes, that’s it,” Daniel whispered as he lifted the needle and put it to the beginning of the song.

“I can’t walk, Daniel. I won’t be able to dance with you, not anymore.”

“But, you’re doing it right now,” Daniel said softly.

Vivian opened her eyes and slowly she focused on the room around her.

The music was playing, Daniel was beside her and she was standing. A smile broke out on her face.

“Look,” said Daniel. “You’re dancing.” He then let go of her hands and Vivian froze in place, expecting to fall to the ground, but she didn’t.

“Dance with me, Vivian. Dance with me forever.”

Vivian took both of Daniel’s hands and together they danced. She looked down and watched her legs sweep across the carpet. She felt alive again, as if the moment from her past had never gone by, had never ended with the sunrise and had never continued from then on. She was nineteen again and dancing with her love. With her husband. It seemed like the music would never stop and her legs would never cease. She felt young once more.

“I never stopped loving you,” Vivian whispered to Daniel.

Daniel gave a smile and twirled her around and around, then said at last, “You were always in my heart, and you always will be.” He said then, “The moment I was shot, I cried out for you. I cried out and nobody heard me until it was too late.”

Vivian stopped and stared at him. He was vanishing in her arms. “No, don’t leave me Daniel. Please, don’t leave me!”

Daniel gave her a final kiss on her lips, then said, “I screamed and nobody heard.”

Vivian quickly brought her hands to her face as tears streamed down her cheeks. She heard the muffled screams on the record. Slowly, they grew louder and louder until it blared in her ears in a never-ending blur of bone-crunching, flesh tearing pain. Finally she cried out loud, wanting it all to stop, then quickly she realized she was laying face down on the floor. Her head was throbbing in pain and she could see blood gushing on the carpet. Somehow, she had fallen out of her wheelchair. She tried to cry out for Tracy, but her voice was too weak.

There, on the floor, Vivian listened to the music. So calm... so peaceful. She no longer wanted the pain and the guilt and the sorrow.

She only wanted peace. An endless peace. Before the song had ended, she closed her eyes and let death sweep her away into nothingness. But it wasn’t death who swept her away. It was her husband. He was young and so was she, and they danced and danced and danced into forever. When the song ended, there was no more crying, only the cold silence that was death.

The End.


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The Crying Sound is copyright by Brian Grisham. It may not be copied or used for any commercial purpose except for short excerpts used for reviews. (Obviously, you can copy it or print it out if you want to read it!)