Tapdance

📅 Published on April 26, 2020

“Tapdance”

Written by H.K. Reyes
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by Otis Jiry

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: Scary Stories Told in the Dark – Podcast (Standard Edition) | 🔑 Podcast (Extended Edition) (feat. Otis Jiry)

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 6 minutes

Rating: 7.20/10. From 5 votes.
Please wait...

From the moment she learned to walk, little Myrtle dreamed of becoming a tap dancer.

She would totter through the house, her chubby bare feet slapping arrhythmically on the hardwood, her squeaky voice calling out “Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta!” like tap shoes on a stage. When her second-grade teacher presented her with an oversized pair of old, black taps, Myrtle’s big eyes had sparkled and her pink lips had rounded in an awestruck “Ooooohh!”

Her mother, Esme, hated the tapping. She was prone to headaches, and the constant tap-tappa-tap ringing through the house was like a long, dull nail hammering into the center of her forehead, every tap driving it deeper.

“Please, sweetie,” she would beg, “not so loud. Mommy’s head hurts so much.”

But Myrtle would shake her head. “If I can’t tap, I’ll die,” she’d say, and the house would resound with the tap-tap-tap-TAP.

Myrtle tapped down the stairs to breakfast. She tapped up the sidewalk to school. She tapped in the house, in grocery store aisles, under the table at dinner. She tapped until her shoes were half-rotted and her pink toes wriggled from holes in the leather.

Esme took fistfuls of pills to drown the pain in her head, plugged her ears, and covered her face with pillows at night.

“Please, Myrtle, just an hour’s silence, just a moment’s.”

“No! I want to dance forever!”

Nothing could stop it, the endless, inescapable tap-tappa-TAPtap-tappa-TAP, each tap driving the nail of pain deeper into Esme’s skull, each tap fueling a desperate, consuming desire for silence.

One cold, winter’s day, Esme lay in bed, her curtains drawn, a cold, wet rag draped over her forehead. The throbbing pain had just begun to subside, and she was drifting into sleep.

Then, a bang as the downstairs door flew open, followed by tap-tappa-TAPtap-tappa-TAP.

Esme’s bloodshot eyes snapped open. The pain erupted anew, like glass marbles exploding inside her brain. A wave of despair crashed over her, but there was something else–something new burning inside her. The nail, driving deeper into her skull for three long years, had hit something.

She flew down the stairs and yelled in a terrible, trembling voice, “There will be no more tapping in this house!

Myrtle, her yellow backpack slung over her shoulder, stood gaping wide-eyed at this crazed woman with wild hair, smeared lipstick, and furious red eyes.

“…Mommy?” she whispered.

“No more!” Esme shouted. “Do you hear me? No more!

She dashed toward her. Myrtle screamed and turned to run. Esme caught her ankles and yanked them back, slamming little Myrtle onto the floor.

Esme clawed at the tap shoes, pulling at the cracked leather, her fingernails slashing at Myrtle’s calves.

“Mommy, stop!” Myrtle cried, “Mommy, please!”

“No more!” Esme shouted as she tore the tap shoes from Myrtle’s feet. She reached back with a savage cry and threw them into the fireplace.

Nooo!” Myrtle dove to save her beloved shoes. But the fire was too hot, and she could only watch as they burned.

Esme laughed, a wild cackling laugh like the fire itself. “No more!” she yelled gleefully. “No more tapping! No more!”

Myrtle stood perfectly still, watching the leather shrivel and crack in the flames. Suddenly, she threw her head back and howled, a cry of despair and agony so awful that it silenced her mother.

The vicious expression on Esme’s face vanished. She blinked, as if waking from a dream. “I…I…” she stammered. She gasped at the fire, as though seeing it for the first time. “Did I just…? How could I…?”

Myrtle bolted out of the house, sobbing.

Esme chased after her. “Sweetie, wait!”

Myrtle ran barefoot across the snow-covered front yard, her cries echoing through the neighborhood. She ran toward the street, her arms flailing, her eyes blinded with tears.

She never saw the truck.

Myrtle!” Esme cried.

There was a screech of tires. A red mist sprayed into the air, and a sickening wet snap rang out like a tree branch breaking under the weight of snow.

Esme’s run slowed to an unsteady walk. Numb, with a dull ringing in her ears, she approached the spot where the bright red tire track cut a line through the snow. She couldn’t hear the people who got out of the car, one yelling uncontrollably, the other begging for an ambulance on the phone. The only thing she could hear was the gurgling sound coming from her daughter’s top half, thrown far from where her legs had landed, a bloody foam oozing from her mouth, pink bubbles popping on her lips and sounding almost like taps.

Esme fell to her knees and screamed.

* * * * * *

Esme sat beside the grave, clutching and releasing the soft black earth in her hand.

Fat, clumpy snowflakes were beginning to fall. She watched them land and melt on the back of her hand, watched them collect on the gravesite. The only sound was the gentle crunch of the soil in her fingers as she squeezed and released, squeezed and released, rhythmically, like a heartbeat.

Soon the snowfall would cover the soil, she thought, erasing it from the landscape in a blanket of white. Grass would grow over it in the spring. In a thousand years, even the gravestone would be reduced to a lump of shapeless rock. Nothing would remain.

Nothing, she knew, but the pain she felt, the infinite agony. She knew even time itself would never erase such a thing, that when her body died she would simply be formless, thoughtless pain for all eternity.

She lay down on top of the grave, closed her eyes, and let the snow fall on them both.

She pictured Myrtle beneath the ground, wearing the pretty yellow dress that she wore to her dance recitals. She pictured her dancing on stage, but she couldn’t keep her whole in her mind. The little girl kept coming apart into two pieces, torso and legs. The legs danced, while the top half glared at her in anguish and rage.

Esme laid on her side in the winter stillness. Her body was gripped by a suffocating pain that made her want to curl into herself and vanish, pain that reached into every part of herself.

Every part but her head.

In the silence, her head was tranquil and clear. The pounding headaches had ceased, and in their place, there was now a secret, shameful relief.

She ran her fingers over the grave, tracing lines in the fluffy snow. Perhaps, she thought, she could at least be grateful for this one small silver lining, this one tiny piece of solace in her grief. Myrtle would understand, wouldn’t she?

She closed her eyes and let the slightest smile came to her lips.

Suddenly, she sat up.

She had touched something. What was it?

She brushed snow away from the ground and gasped.

There, at the base of the gravestone, were two shiny yellow tap shoes.

* * * * * *

Esme lay in bed, her face smeared with hot, sticky tears. Her breath was short and shallow. Her tremoring hands clutched fistfuls of blanket under her chin.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered over and over. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m–”

Her head shot up. She held her breath. Had she heard something? Blood pounded in her ears as she strained to listen.

After a long minute, she exhaled and fell back onto the bed.

She sat bolt upright. No, it wasn’t just imagination. She could hear a faint tap-tappa-taptap-tappa-tap coming from outside.

She cast off the blanket and rushed downstairs. She threw open the front door and ran out into the yard, bare feet crunching in the snow.

“Myrtle?” she called. “Sweetie, is that you?”

She listened, but she heard only her own quivering breath and the sniffles in her nose.

She wrapped her arms around herself, shivering in her underwear as the snow fell onto her shoulders. She walked back into the house and closed the door behind her. She fell onto her hands and knees in front of the fireplace. Heaving sobs wracked her body.

TAP-TAP-TAP.

The sound rang out like gunfire. Esme gasped. “Myrtle?”

TAP-TAP-TAP…TAP-TAP-TAP. The sound was sharp and violent, seeming to come from within the walls themselves. It pounded like a war drum, rattling the whole house, knocking pictures from the mantle above the fireplace.

Esme clutched her head in her hands. The world was tilting, spinning around her. Darkness enveloped her in cold, airless folds. She could feel herself sliding away into madness.

TAP-TAP-TAP.

I’m sorry,” she sobbed. “I’m so sorry. The pain, my head–I couldn’t bear it! It was like a nail in my brain, the tapping. Always the tapping, the unending tapping. I thought if I could stop the tapping, just for moment, I could think.” She pounded her fists against her head and wailed. “Ohhh, but I would give anything, anything, to hear it again.”

The sounds ceased. Esme doubled over, clutching her gut as she sobbed in the darkness.

She swallowed her sobs and listened. She could hear something, a new sound.

Tap-tappa-tap-SCRAAPE, tap-tappa-tap-SCRAAPE.

This was not some mad hallucination. This was the sound of tap shoes, in this very room, and something scraping against the hardwood.

Esme wiped tears from her eyes. She peered into the darkness, her vision still blurry.

She saw her.

Little Myrtle, sitting on the floor, a dim square of moonlight falling on the shoulders of her yellow dress.

Esme could hardly breathe. “My baby,” she whispered. “My Myrtle.”

Esme crawled toward her, holding her arms out, a tight, wincing smile on her face.

She stopped.

Myrtle’s skin was blotchy and gray, with dark purple veins running up and down her arms. Her waist was a crimson tangle of bloody flesh, legless, with putrid black intestines and a glistening white spinal column hanging down. She stood on her hands, on which she wore the yellow tap shoes.

Esme, frozen, could only watch as the child dragged herself toward her, tap-tappa-tap-SCRAAPE, her spine dragging along the floor beneath her.

Myrtle leaned her rotting face close to her mother’s, her rancid eyeballs weeping black slime.

“We’re going to go dancing, mommy,” she said. “Forever.

* * * * * *

Days later, the police were called to investigate a smell coming from the house. They found Esme dead in the front room. Her feet had been mangled and broken to fit into a pair of child-size tap shoes, and her hair had been burned off in the fireplace. But the official cause of death had been the dozens of long, dull nails hammered into her skull. According to investigators, the uniform placement of the nails indicated that they were not driven in haphazardly; rather, they were hammered in slowly, carefully, one tap at a time.

Rating: 7.20/10. From 5 votes.
Please wait...


🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: Scary Stories Told in the Dark – Podcast (Standard Edition) | 🔑 Podcast (Extended Edition) (feat. Otis Jiry)


Written by H.K. Reyes
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by Otis Jiry

🔔 More stories from author: H.K. Reyes


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

More Stories from Author H.K. Reyes:

No posts found.

Related Stories:

Uncle Scratch
Average Rating:
9.29

Uncle Scratch

Scarecrows and Devils
Average Rating:
10

Scarecrows and Devils

Blood Ties
Average Rating:
10

Blood Ties

You Might Also Enjoy:

Turn It Off
Average Rating:
10

Turn It Off

The Heart and the Cabinet
Average Rating:
10

The Heart and the Cabinet

Spacegirl
Average Rating:
9.88

Spacegirl

I Saved the World
Average Rating:
10

I Saved the World

Recommended Reading:

The Elevator
Don't Scream 2: 30 More Tales to Terrify
There's Something Terribly Wrong With My Son
Daylight Dims: Volume One

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
1 Comment
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
JNowak
JNowak
6 days ago

Well written story! It still makes me mad though bc the little girl was a brat. 😑 I really didn’t feel any sympathy for her. I felt bad for the mother. Maybe the little girl was too young to understand about her mother’s migraines, but her mother did repeatedly ask her nicely to give it a rest before she snapped. I give the story 9/10. 😊

Skip to content