It Starts With The Tapping

Austin Malone

It starts with the tapping. Then the crawling. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Best start at the beginning, with the murder house. 
Heard of it? It made national news. It’s not every day a man gets up in the middle of the night and murders his family before committing suicide. But this isn’t about that story. This is about the part they left out. My buddy Jason was the EMT on duty that night, the first one on the scene, the first to see the word – the name – that daddy finger-painted across the wall in his childrens’ blood. 
Jason managed to keep his shit together for three days before inviting Bobby and I out for drinks. 
“It’s some sick shit,” Jason said as he centered a pitcher of beer on the table. Bobby made a disinterested noise as he threw darts. 
“Seriously,” Jason insisted. “I can get us in, if you want to see it.” 
That got Bobby’s attention. He whipped his head around to look at Jason, his throw going wide, the dart striking the wall to the side of the board. 
Jason smiled, and we were on our way. Truth be told, there wasn’t a whole lot to see. 
“Cleanup crew came and went,” Jason explained as he led us through empty rooms. “They took care of everything but this.” 
He fiddled with his phone, then his flashlight app lit the room, and there it was, splashed across the wall. In the stark light, the blood was black, and we gaped at the bizarre arrangement of letters. 
That was the last time we saw Jason alive. According to his coworkers, he jumped off an overpass into traffic a few hours after our visit to the house. 
I don’t blame him. The crawling is driving me crazy. Scratching doesn’t help. I went looking for the cheese grater a few minutes ago, but couldn’t find it. It doesn’t matter. I can see a utility crew down the street. They’ve got one of those big wood-chippers. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Again. 
It starts with the tapping. 
You’ll hear it coming from the mirrors. Arrhythmic. Insistent. I could tell you not to look, but you will anyway. You’ll see the figure standing behind your reflection. You’ll whirl around, heart racing, only to find yourself alone. And then, the crawling starts, like ants under your skin.  Scratching doesn’t help. There are only two things that can soothe your crawling skin. First, you’ll have to share the word with someone else. 
I’ve buried it in this text. In fact, just writing this, without anyone seeing it yet, has given me some relief. 
But it’s not enough. 
The only other thing that will help is blood. Just the thought of bathing my flesh in something hot and red makes me shudder with pleasure. 
I’ve been watching the utility crew from my window. It looks like they’re leaving for lunch now. I hope they left the keys in the chipper.


Austin Malone is definitely not lurking in the shadows outside your house right now. Really. In fact, he's probably enjoying time well-spent with his family in New Orleans, and that noise you just heard was totally a tree branch. 

If you want to read more of his work, or track his whereabouts, head on over to
Jordan Drew - 11/1/2015 2:01 PM
Awesome. So creepy! Thank you, Austin!!
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