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Estimated reading time — 4 minutes

As a child, I had always thought I knew what true fear was. The fear of something hiding under your bed, or in your closet. Hell, I thought clowns were the scariest shit there was. Of course, I hadn’t known the feeling of real fear; hadn’t experienced it, until I was twelve.
They say people are most afraid of the unknown, of things they can’t quite explain, things they can’t see. Unexplainable sounds in the dark, paranoid thoughts of monsters creeping in the unoccupied spots of their bedroom. These are the things that people are most afraid of, so they say. This wasn’t exactly true for my case. Sure, sounds in the darkness were a factor, but I knew the source behind the sounds. Oh, I knew. And the knowledge of the source drove terror into me, like a mallet rhythmically driving a nail into me, over and over and over.
I don’t know how it started. It was as if a switch was flipped in her and suddenly she became an uncontrollable marionette (oh, the irony). My father tried to stop her, but she persisted and he eventually gave up trying. I suggested that he call the police, or tell the neighbours, but he dismissed twelve year-old me, and told me he didn’t trust “those corrupt government lackeys” and sure as hell didn’t want the neighbours finding out. They’d have immediately called “that wretched three number hotline”. Besides, he told me, she isn’t harming either of us. I had hoped it would stay that way. She sure didn’t seem like my mom anymore, and I told him so. He yelled at me and scolded me, calling me foolish. I wanted to shout back at him, telling him he has no idea how scared I am every night, hearing her, but I didn’t.

Mother was fine in the morning and for most of the afternoon as well. Although she was always in bed, occasionally sitting up just to stare at the blank wall a few feet past the foot of her bed, she seemed as fine as her condition would deem it. Father was at work. He usually works until two in the morning or so. When my mother first started acting weird, he was afraid to leave me alone, so he took a few days off from work. He didn’t dare hire a babysitter, he trusted those people just as much as he trusted the government. After a few days, he figured it was safe enough to leave me at home, alone with her, and resumed leaving for work every morning. Take care of your mother, he would always tell me before he left. I simply nodded, when in reality, instead of taking care of her, I hid from her. But for the most part, she was fine until evening.
It was only at night, when I’m huddled under the covers in my bedroom, that she begins acting up. That’s when the noises start. I would hear her get out of bed in my parent’s bedroom, and hear her crawl across the hall, making her way to my bedroom. After the first night, I always remembered to keep my door locked. She would crawl; I would hear her crawl, all the way to the front of my bedroom door.
And then the tapping began.
They were just light taps, like how a student would knock at the door of the principal’s office. But the taps, they went on for some time. Just a constant steady tap. I remember clamping my eyes shut, trying to ignore it and go to sleep, and after almost an hour of tapping. It stopped, and I slowly opened my eyes. That’s when I realized the door wasn’t locked, and there she was, at the foot of my bed, just standing there. Staring at me. The fear I felt was real. And it sure wasn’t caused by the unknown. My eyes were open, looking at my own mother (that was merely a label at this point) stare at me. There was something unnatural about her eyes; I think it was her pupils. They were dilated to the point of being dots. Just little black dots.
There she was, just staring at me, not doing anything else. She didn’t hurt me. She just stood there. But there was something terrifying about it. Maybe it was her eyes. Maybe it did have something to do with the unknown. Not knowing what she would do next. Not knowing if she would spring at me, and attack. But nothing had happened. My father eventually came home from work and was greeted with the sight of his wife (only a label now), and his son, covered in sweat and fear.

The days following that incident, I had always kept my door locked. I double-check the lock even to this day. Of course, that didn’t stop the tapping sounds. Sometimes I swear they weren’t even coming from outside my door. Sometimes it felt like they were coming from the window, or the closet, or even under my damn bed. Fear of the unknown, that’s always how it is, one way or another, I suppose.
That was when I had my first encounter with true fear, at the age of twelve. Every day after that, the door was always locked. Eventually my mother passed away (cardiac arrest right outside my bedroom, my father opted to bury her in the backyard, can’t go trusting those morticians now), and I moved out. I tried to convince my father to live with me, but he refuses to let go of our old house; he was always a stubborn man.


Life has gotten much better for me since. I landed a high-paying job at a law firm, and next week I have a date with this beaut of a woman I met a few days back.
But, every single night before I fall asleep, as I lay under a new set of covers I bought, I could almost swear.
I swear I could still hear the tapping noises.


Credit To – Kevin Liu

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31 thoughts on “Taps”

  1. grammarlammaringdong

    In reference to the pupils, you wrote dialated instead of constricted….I don’t mean to be a dick, but that bothered the fuck out of me…

  2. Thanks so much for all the constructive criticism! I’ll keep in mind everything that was said, and improve on my horror-writing. Maybe I’ll be able to create a truly scary story!

  3. Wow this story terrified me…the crawling, the tapping, the forgetting the door was unlocked, then “mom” standing..staring. gave me the chills. Now this is a creepy pasta! !! And less is more!!

  4. somerandomcreepypastareader

    You made these peeps wanting to know more and that’s good.. That’s the purpose of this story.. It Made your imagination go wild at the end of the story and curious about what is the unknown or what will happen next. good job

  5. I think the story concept was brilliantly terrifying, if not a bit underdeveloped. The writing itself feels a bit rushed and definitely more than a little choppy but I absolutely believe you have potential to be an excellent horror writer with just a bit more practice. Good effort! 7/10

  6. I have no issues with the writing itself, but the plot is pretty thin.

    I was waiting for something to happen, an explanation of the mother’s disorder or behaviour, etc. The ending was anticlimactic too, it just read like a trip to the shop…stuff happened, nothing much eventful though.

  7. If I woke to find my Mam or anyone standing over me with constricted (not dilated) pupils or otherwise I would be bloody petrified, great story !

  8. Dear author,

    Don’t listen to them! Lack of explanation is great. As you allude to in the story, fear is usually of the unknown; once something is explained then it loses some of that horror. This was a properly creepy story that could do with being polished in places but is made better by the lack of an explanation.

    1. Lack of explanation doesn’t inherently make the writing better.

      His allusuion to fear being of the unknown was too heavy handed to work in his favor. Not to mention that it is VERY overused. Making that connection to rationalize the lack oF explanation feels forced.

      Also, pupils don’t shrink to a “dot” when they dilate. They actually expand.

  9. I’ve always thought that taking something familiar and comforting and twisting it into something unsettling is one of most reliable ways to create a sense of horror and dread. This pasta accomplishes this especially well. By and large, most would probably say that their mother is the most comforting fixture of their childhood. Therefore, it is incredibly easy to imagine how it would feel to have that source of comfort not removed, but co-opted by… something.

    Perhaps this new entity isn’t malevolent, but it’s presence is as unwelcome as its interest in the protagonist. Therein lies the beauty of its use as an antagonist. Even if its intentions are simply misunderstood, it is still most likely responsible for the effective loss of the protagonist’s mother. What could be more terrifying to a young boy?

    Another point in favor of this Creepy Pasta is that it’s short. Not rushed, truncated, or blunted, but short and to the point. The author doesn’t waste words on anything that doesn’t move the plot along. There is no description of the house, the town he lives in, his bedroom, the color of his mother’s eyes, his father’s job, or the assortment of breakfast cereals in the cupboard. This is a very good thing because it’s not needed.

    I know precisely what the boy’s bedroom looks like, because my mind filled in the blanks. In know exactly what his mother look like, because my mind filled in the blanks. I even know what profession his father is employed in, because my mind fill in the blanks. Incidentally, he is a fairly reputable fan dancer at a burlesque club. You’re welcome.

    Trusting the reader’s imagination to illustrate your story for you is a simple, but massively effective way to get them engaged in the story. Case in point, I’ve spent nearly as many words explaining how tasty this Creepy Pasta is, as the author did telling us the entire story. That’s how engaged I am. Still, since I’m sure anyone who has read my ramblings this far in can tell that I liked this pasta, really and for true, I really should wrap this up.

    I don’t care much for clowns either. 10/10

  10. I really enjoyed this one, but I felt it was a little lacking in the details, which kept it from its true potential. I would have loved to hear more about the mother before she became ill, to know what kind of illness she had, and a little more of a description would have made this an incredible story. Overall, I loved the premise!

  11. It’s a little hazy in the beginning with your explanation, and the ending seems cliche/done. But the creepy factor in the middle is definitely there for me.

  12. I felt that this was a decent pasta. It could have been cooked a little longer and seasoned a bit more, but I definitely see the potential. It didn’t scare me, but it was creepy and did feel like something that could actually happen. I give it a 6.5 because I feel like it could have been pushed a little further.

  13. Liked the story. Nothing like a child’s fear of their supposed protectors becoming the one to be protected from. The lack of explanation and anti climatic ending just about completely ruined it though. A few more creeping mommy experiences would’ve been nice too. I used to have dreams as a kid where my mother and her doppelganger would both arrive to pick me up from a sitter etc, and be absolutely terrified knowing I would choose the evil one. Also had dreams, each separate time a different family member, where I would bite them and the skin would turn into a taffy like substance and become stuck in my teeth….just an interesting FYI.

  14. Nothing was explained. I was waiting until the end to find out what was wrong with the mother. What was her condition? What had started it? What did “acting weird” mean? Why was the narrator so afraid if seemingly, the mother wasn’t dangerous at all? I may be missunderstanding, but I feel that the writer has tried to create a psychological horror story, the reader is supposed to feel afraid because of what is unexplained. It didn’t work in this case. You needed to tie it together. The reader won’t feel afraid. The reader is just left wondering.
    The writing overall was good, however, I noticed quite a few sentence fragments. The story itself needs work. You’re a good writer, but horror may not be your thing.

    1. I agree the over all plot of the story was decent but I felt disappointed that we never found out what the mothers condition was.

  15. 10/10! The absolute worst part is that he cannot cry out for his mother to comfort him in his fearful moments. For some reason, the image of her crawling across the hallway is extremely disturbing to me. Yikes!

    1. Nicola Marie Jackson

      Yep, that’s what made me feel uncomfortable and when he said he saw, on the first night, that she was watching him it made me feel a little bit sick! Loved it xx

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