Wispy and the Broken Record
This happened to me when I was 13 years old, and I doubt I have ever been more terror-stricken in my entire life. First of I just want to mention that My Uncle and Auntie lived in a small town in rural Ontario before moving two years after this incident. For the sake of protection, I will keep their location secret.
It was June and school had just ended. As is custom every year, my parents sent me off by bus to my Auntie Carol's home. My Uncle Daniel lived there as well, but he was terribly ill. He had some sort of a mental disease and he shut himself off from the rest of the world. The only thing he would do whenever I came to visit him was sit in his wheelchair, in front of the basement door, chatting with it as if it were a real person. The door had two dead bolts which were always tightly locked. The strange thing was that the door had no handle, nor was there any sign that a handle had once been there.
When I had first seen my uncle acting so strangely, I was confused and a bit creeped out but slowly, year after year, I became accustomed to it. From time to time, he would roll over to the family room and start moaning and crying. My Auntie would come rushing over to comfort him and whenever I tried to ask her about it, she would tell me simply not to worry.
One humid evening, I was sitting in the family room with my Auntie and uncle. Since they had no cable, I was forced to read one of the many books I had brought along with me. Me and my auntie were sitting on the couch, both lost within our novels. Danny (as I called my uncle) was dozing peacefully in his chair beside the window when suddenly he burst out in uncontrollable sobs, wailing. "Go away Wispy, go away!" He cried. My auntie dropped her book, and quickly hurried Danny out of the room. Confused now more then ever, I couldn't help but let my mind wander. Wispy? Who, or what, was Wispy?
I never did figure out where my auntie Carol would always take Danny. But after a few minutes, both of them came into the room, looking as if nothing had even happened. Wanting to ask what happened, I meekly spoke up.
"A-auntie," I began. "Who's..." I licked my lips nervously, a habit I still posess today. "Who's Wispy?" Carol stroked my long dark chestnut locks, a firm but gentle expression set upon her worn face. "Your uncle is very ill, Nicky. Do not ask these silly questions." He voice was so stern that it shocked me. It quickly softened. "It's late, you should go and rest."
That night, I had an uneasy sleep. I was plagued with questions and as soon as I was able to catch some relaxation, I had nightmares that I couldn't remember, but they were filled with disturbing images.
The next morning, Carol pushed me out the door after breakfast to go visit my friend Megan. Me and her talked for a long time about things like boys and school and such. Finally, I got bored and we decided to go back to my house. On the way there, I told her about all the strange things happening.
"No offense Nicky, but your uncle scares me to death." She said quietly.
"Why?" I asked, shocked. My uncle was a bit odd, yes, but I had never thought of him as frightening.
"I always ride my bike by your house, and he's always there, staring at me with this blank sort of look in his eyes." She paused, stopping. "Then he stands up and walks away."
"Wait, wait, stands up?" I cocked a brow. Impossible, I thought. My uncle is confined to a wheelchair!
"Yes." Megan nodded. "Just stands up. Actually, he kinda has a weird way of walking. He limps a bit and as he's walking away he seems to melt into the floor."
I didn't say anything. I was bewildered. Megan never lied to me but what she said sounded so fictitious that I just couldn't believe it.
We arrived at my auntie and uncle's house. The front door was unlocked so we just let ourselves in. "Anyone home?" I called. No reply. I couldn't help but feel happy that it was just me and Megan, but then again, there was also a sense of something that made my skin crawl.
We both sat down on my bed and stared at each other hard. I don't know what she was looking for in my eyes, but I know that I was looking for the truth in her. At last I said, "I wanna show you something." Without questioning me, Megan followed me as I lead her to the basement door. I gazed at it with a vacant feeling within me. It's hard to explain. "My uncle always talks to the door, like..." I blinked. "Like there's someone on the other side."
Megan looked like she was about to say something important, but kept her mouth shut. She reached towards the door, and I held my breath, expecting to hear a loud bang on it, or someone's voice yelling at us from the basement. Instead, Megan's hand lightly touched the raw wooden plank and she held it there for a moment.
"It feels like there's something cold down there. Like a freezer or-" Before she could finish her sentence, an upbeat ragtime tune started playing, muffled by the door. It skipped over and over. She screamed bloody murder. Startled, I joined her chorus of shrieks and we both hauled butt back outside.
After catching my breath from running so hard, I had to ask. "What... the hell?" I panted.
"I swear to god Nicky, I swear..." She shook her head, and started crying. Before that moment in time, I have never seen her cry. Ever.
My Auntie came home to find us both huddled together on the ground. She sent Megan home without any question and pulled me inside. I told her what had happened and expected a verbal beating out of Carol. Instead, she hugged me closely.
"Nicky," She whispered. "Darling, lock your door tonight."
This did little to comfort me. Carol made me a glass of cool lemonade and instructed me to go and read in the family room with Danny. Now that I think about it, it was strange I didn't notice him. But that's not what this story is about.
Night time came too soon for my liking and I lay, motionless, in my bed. My head was spinning with what I had been told today. Then I remembered that Carol had told me to lock my door. I turned my head to look at my door. Wide open. The darkness of the hallway sent chills up my spine and I longed for home. All of a sudden, I heard footsteps. Slow, heavy footfalls echoed throughout the house. I assumed that they would arrive at my room, and I would end up face to face with some sort of murderer. But it was different. A figure approached my doorway but passed it. Immediately, I recognized it as Danny. Frozen, I quivered as I heard the squeaking of the two dead bolts unlocking. So many thoughts rushed through my mind.
Somehow, I managed to drag myself out of bed and crept, silently, towards the basement door. Again, chills ran up my spine like a shock, causing the hair on the back of my neck to stand up.I poked my head out of my room. In the murky light of the moon, I could make out the basement door, standing ajar. I swallowed hard and ran my tongue around the outline of my lips. And I could hear the sound of ragtime skipping over and over and over... I felt like I had been plucked from reality and flung into a horror film.
Carefully, I placed one foot in front of the other until I was right in front of the door. Straining to see through the pitch black cloak of night, I could only note a long, steep staircase. And then the tall, beefy figure of Uncle Daniel creeping upstairs, step by step.
I was struck by an invisible lightening rod, unable to move from fear of Uncle Danny hurting me. All the while, as he rose up the steps, the music kept skipping, playing that one bar then repeating. But to my surprise, he passed right by me, his eyes wide open, and continued to his wheelchair in the family room.
The music kept going. It was joyful and in no way scary. My curiosity got the best of me and I ran into the family room. There was Danny, sound asleep and snoring lightly. I then dashed into my room and dove into my knapsack, desperately searching for a flashlight. 'Dammit,' I thought. 'Why couldn't I have brought one?'
Finally, I gave up. I was creeped out beyond belief, not to mention dumb-founded. Uncle Danny couldn't walk, and yet I had just witnessed him making his way up a long, arduous flight of stairs. And that music? Auntie Carol didn't have any records of vinal that I knew of. I stopped trying to think and sat on my bed listening. All I could hear was the quiet dripping of rain and night birds softly calling. Everything was tranquil. From the family room, Danny's soft snores caused me to relax and lie down, eventually drifting into a dream.
That night, I had the worst dream I could ever imagine. I was floating in the air in a lying position, stiff as a board and unable to move. Suddenly a million fingers began to tickle me, hard, as if it was their life's purpose to tickle me to death. I screamed for them to stop and called for Auntie Carol. Instead, a strange head floated towards me. It was the head of a toddler, probably three or four, with no hair. The head was disembodied and behind it where a body should have been traveled a wisp of smoke. "Help me." I moaned as the torturous fingers kept tickling me. The head started laughing, a deep, demonic laughter and I jerked awake. I was staring at my ceiling, straight up, listening to my own heart beating when I heard some ragged breaths. I felt a tingle rush through out my body and slowly turned my head to see the most disturbing creature conceivable.
It was that girl again. But this time, she had a body. Her neck was long and fat, making her head tower almost a meter above her grotesque form. Her fingers had tiny copies of her head on their tips and they were all laughing in tiny high pitched voices. She was thinner then thin and just when I thought that I couldn't have gotten more scared, She opened her mouth slowly, showing me her long, bloody teeth. If you've ever seen the Devil's Advocate, you'd know what I mean. Then she started laughing. Laughing in that deep, deep voice. I tried to scream but I passed out.
Carol was shaking me hard. I groaned and opened my eyes. She quickly walked out of the room. I fluttered my eyes for a moment, trying to get a grip. Sunlight spilled out of my window and onto my bed. I took a glance at the clock on the wall and saw it was only 9:00 AM. For a minute I thought it was all just a horrible nightmare. I was wrong. I stood up and shook my head to try and rid myself of the images I had experienced. They were like a bad aftertaste. Carol walked into my room again slowly, then gathered me up into her arms, crying. I began to worry. "Auntie?" I asked her. "What's wrong?"
"I should have shown you this." She pressed her lips together. "Now I don't know." Without letting me say anything, she grabbed my wrist and led me to the basement door. Soundlessly, she unlocked both dead bolts and the door seemed to ease open on it's own. Inside, on the wall, there was light switch that I hadn't seen the night before. She flicked it on and led me down the stairs. As we got closer and closer to the bottom, the stench of death filled my nose and I nearly vomited.
At the bottom of the stairs the room wasn't much bigger then a normal storage space. In the left corner of the room was a broken down old record player. And when I say broken down, I mean broken down. Every peice was lying in a pile. There was no way that it would have been fixed, played, and then broken again. Then Carol unrolled a carpet that was wrapped around something. Even now, I can't think about it without getting nauseous. The carpet was stained with blood and inside it was the body of a little baby girl, dead, with her head cut right off the shoulders.
I ran faster then ever before to the washroom and was sick for hours. I left Auntie Carol's house that same day and stayed with Megan. Even seven years later, I don't know why Auntie Carol had that record player in her basement, or why there was that decapitated baby. I can only guess that she was Wispy. But I do know that was I saw that night was as real as me and you, and that I will never forget it.