“Crying” by Jason Cantrell – Flash Fiction Ghost Story

by E.V. Jacob on December 22, 2012

Written by Jason Cantrell.  Check out his website and follow him on Twitter!

Can’t you make him stop crying?

The house was quiet.  Silent.  Still.  The house was never quiet anymore.

He’s always crying!  Can’t you make him stop crying!?

Gabby sat in her room, alone.  Her eyes, unfocused, stared at the black dress on the floor.  The dress bought just for one day.  She hadn’t owned a black dress.

The silence buzzed in her ears.  Dark.  Clawing.  A shift on the bed brought the shattering rustle of cloth.  A winter breeze through the window carried the lonely wind chimes.  Goosebumps crossed her skin.  Shivering seemed so unfair.  She couldn’t feel anything else.  What right did she have to feel the cold?

I can’t stand it!  Make him shut up!

Her eyes drifted towards the vanity, touching on the dull mirror.  She couldn’t see her own reflection from where she sat.  Just the image of the dark hallway carried across the room and into her gaze.  The door stood open.  No reason to shut it.  No need to block out the noise.

He… he just stopped crying…

She tasted salt.  Dampness on her lips, moving down her cheeks.  Stray strands of hair touched her lips, carried on the breeze.  She brushed them back, and wiped her face clean.  She could still hear him crying.

The sound carried through the hall and into the open door.  Her head shot up.  A frown touched her damp lips as the baby’s cries carried on the wind to her ears.

She could hear him crying.

…he just stopped crying…

Gabby stood up, brushing her sleeve across her face.  All she could hear were her sniffles, and the baby’s cries.  Distant.  Lost.  Echoing through the quiet house.


She stepped forward, and winced at the thunderous sound of the creaking floorboards.  She closed her eyes and hugged herself tight, shivering.  She shook her head, whispering, “No… no no no…”  The baby was crying.

She stepped into the hall.  The baby was crying.  She walked by family pictures, the freshly framed portraits showing the newest member of the family.  She wanted to take them down.  Each board seemed to creak as she walked to Dante’s room.  She could hear him crying.

She stopped at the door to Dante’s room.  She could still smell the fresh paint.  New.  Soft.  She could hear him crying on the other side.


Her whisper broke through the silence.  She looked up and down the hall.  It was so quiet in the house.  Her mother wasn’t home.  Her sister.  Her nephew…

He was crying.

Her fingers trembled on the cold brass doorknob.  She took a deep, shuddering breath.  She turned the knob, opened the door.  The hinges creaked.  The cold wind penetrated the nursery.  The baby cried louder.

Stuffed animals littered the floor, brand new and not yet rumpled from loving play.  The crib still had scraps of the price tag stuck to it, glued to the wood.  They hadn’t been able to scrape it all off.  She heard the baby crying, and she shook her head.

She advanced on the crib, each step slow.  The crib loomed tall, silent, and steady in the dark room.  One nightlight shone in the distance.  They had forgotten to unplug it.  The crying grew louder.

She stepped close enough to peer over the rim and down into the crib.  Empty.  A rumpled blanket lay to one side.  The mobile above twisted in the wind.  She could still hear him crying.

She touched the bare mattress.  It was ice cold.

Can’t you make him stop crying?

She turned and raced from the empty room.  The door slammed shut behind her, cutting off the sound of the baby’s crying.  She leaned against the door, sliding to the ground, and hugged her knees against her chest.  The baby wasn’t crying anymore.

…just stopped crying…

He’d never cry again.

Her own tears filled the house, carried on the empty wind.

She shivered.

Haunted by the baby’s cries.

Taunted by the silence she’d wished for.


  • http://farmanor.blogspot.com/ Larry Kollar

    I feel like there was a lot unsaid, going on here. That make the spooky part even better.

    • http://www.ravenhartpress.com/ Elena Jacob

      Absolutely! The tone of this one is so…eerie! He did a great job with creating a creepy atmosphere and making the reader unsettled :D

  • Chere

    I absolutely loved it. The way you wove in the backstory of what happened to the baby. And why she heard his cries was amazing.

    • http://www.ravenhartpress.com/ Elena Jacob

      He did a fantastic job of painting the picture of what happened and what she is going through in such a short time. Very chilling, very sad…

  • http://twitter.com/CantrellJason Jason Cantrell

    I’m glad to see so many people are enjoying the story!

    It’s well outside my normal range. It’s always a risk to delve into a writing style that isn’t your norm. I’m glad the response is proving a success.

    • http://www.ravenhartpress.com/ Elena Jacob

      It came out great! I love seeing people move outside their comfort zone in writing–the results can be fascinating :D

  • The Dark Opera

    I like it! That ending, “Taunted by the silence she’d wished for.” certainly adds quite a bit of depth. It was very well put.

    • http://www.ravenhartpress.com/ Elena Jacob

      I agree–that closing line really ties the whole thing together in a very sad way. Very powerful!

  • Chris Shawbell

    I enjoyed the read, Jason. The suspense of the crying babe and approaching the nursery was great.


    • http://www.ravenhartpress.com/ Elena Jacob

      It was very chilling! Thanks for reading! :D

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