Short Stories

A Song of Sorrow

I’m not one of those “bad boys” you see on TV. The ones that smoke cigarettes in slow motion and wear leather jackets. I don’t have tattoos either. Maybe it’s all the fights I got into or that I’m bigger than everyone in the sophomore class. For whatever reason, I spent the majority of my time with a bunch of idiots doing stupid shit.

Today was no different. Cole, Bobby, Princess, and I walked around the neighborhood. Our bellies full of malt liquor. We wandered, talked about professional wrestling, and pranks we pulled on people at school. Somehow we made our way to the old Dunlap House, abandoned since the 1970s. The urban legend told by locals was that the woman who lived there murdered her children, and stuffed them in the deep freezer.

“I heard the father did it, not the mom.” said Princess. “No, it was the dad that discovered the bodies and called the cops.” said Bobby. “They say she did it because the jukebox told her to.” said Cole. “That makes no sense, jukeboxes play music, they don’t talk.” I said. “My mom told me that when they kicked in the door, she was dancing around the living room covered in blood.” said Bobby. “It doesn’t matter, we’re going in.” They all looked at me as if I rubbed apple sauce on their faces.

“Come on, do you really believe in ghosts? That’s a bunch of crap!” I said. “I don’t know man, the place is pretty old, the roof could cave in on us.” said Cole, he grabbed the hand of his girlfriend, Princess. “I have asthma. The dust will irritate my lungs.” said Bobby. After my attempts at reverse psychology, they still didn’t relent. “What a bunch of pussies.” I said. “Fine I’ll go by myself.”

I entered the yard of the vine-covered fence. The unkempt grass met the thigh of my jeans. Broken concrete steps led to the black storm door. The paint was chipped and it had strange symbols carved on it. I looked back to three doe-eyed faces. This wasn’t my first rodeo, I always did the crazy stuff, that’s why they looked up to me. I couldn’t fail them now. I shouldered forward into the dreadful structure. The door swung back, a slither of sunlight beamed on the grimy floor.

Decayed boards on the outside covered the windows to my right. A floor model television sat nearby. Tacky, half-torn wallpaper hung from the wall, pink flamingos with one leg up. In the darkness ahead of me, is what appeared to be the dining room. An old fish tank stood with a mysterious green liquid inside. The place smelled like dirty mop water and sweaty ass. I placed my forearm over my nose.

Out the corner of my eye, the glow of several colors blinded me. Green, blue, red, yellow, orange, pink, and purple. I stumbled backwards. Was that there before? Behind me, on the left side of the living room, was a digital music jukebox. There’s no way the power worked after all these years. The tube lights flashed in a pattern around the wooden finish.

With a life of its own, the spring loaded aluminum claw lifted a CD. The motor clicked the disc into place. On the small LED screen, the name of the song formed into digital letters, Tears In Heaven by Eric Clapton. His voice was deep and garbled as if he was under water. The door to the entrance slammed shut. Then, the jukebox started moving in a half-circle motion away from the wall. It revealed a hidden entrance. A shrill voice pierced my ears from the void, “Oh, how I miss my children.”