Faustian Melody in Pain Minor

Reading Time: 3 minutes


Jeff sat in front of the piano and ran his hands across its broken keys. The feeling the cold ivory gave his fingers was a cross between a tingle and a sharp sadness.

“Brenda, it’s just sad,” Jeff said, “that all Mom had of any value was this hunk of trash.”

“It’s not trash, Jeff. This was Mom’s pride and joy. She never played, and obviously, this old thing never was in any condition that she could, but it’s been in the family for years.”

(Image By Katie Skyes from flickr)

“Wasn’t this granddads?”

“No, he gave it to her, but Mom said that her great-great-great grandfather bought this and rocked any house down that he played at. He was the Floyd Cramer of his day. He was only 32 and mysteriously died.”

“Wow, I never knew that. That’s actually pretty cool.”

They made their way into the living room to carry on the conversation. They talked and caught up on the time they hadn’t seen each other.

“Well,” Brenda said, looking at the darkened skies out the window, “I’m gonna hit the road before it gets too late. You staying here?”

“Yeah, I think I will. I’ll see ya in the morning.”

“Sure thing.”

After Brenda had been gone for nearly an hour, Jeff heard a noise. He could have sworn that was someone knocking. He knew he was alone, or better yet, that he better be.

He let out a tentative “Hello.” He only could imagine what he’d do if anyone answered.

He headed toward the noise, passing the living room with the set of matching flowery furniture that he now noticed lurked at an odd angle to the rest of the room. Each piece pointed toward the direction of the piano.

As he looked toward the piano, there was a sudden jolt that shot up his spine and then fright.

There stood a man, opening and closing his blood-filled mouth, cracking his broken teeth together, and trying to speak, but his mouth was so full of blood that bubbles would pop out and flow down his chin instead. Terror snaked up his legs and into his gut, and he ran to the study, slamming the door behind him.

“What the fuck, what the fuck,” he said in a panic.

Finally, just as he dreaded, a knock came from the door, but this time a voice followed,

“Please, let me in. I must tell you this.”

“Go away, please just go away.”

“Listen, you must listen. You are in grave danger. You must listen before it’s too late.”

“Go away, please,” he whimpered.

The knob began to turn, and the door came ajar, and ever so slowly, it swung open, revealing the man standing there directly under its frame. He looked up and noticed the cross that hung over the door and backed up one step.

“Listen,” the man began to say, “ you must help me lift this.”

“Who are you? Lift what?”

“I made a mistake dealing with the devil for the skill to play that piano. In return, I was only given a few short years, and I had to give the firstborn son of the first daughter to the devil in order to finally find peace.”

“No, you can’t. I won’t let you.”

“You must. And you will”

The man lunged forward, grabbed Jeff, and yanked him toward the door, toward the piano.

Jeff’s flesh that was on view was either scarred or festering. The piano was a gory mixture now of flesh and wood. Jeff’s thumbs had been severed and used as end pieces. His ear could be seen on the left side of the piano’s body. Jeff’s intestines were across the top of the piano’s body, and his bare feet were now the feet of the instrument.

As the man played, it made soft sounds that seemed at first to be gibberish. But when he played more, the sound could be recognizable to anyone. It was the sound of pleas of mercy, of pain, of wanting nothing more than to die. With each key the man pressed down, it pulled a nerve ending of Jeff’s, and he let out his guttural, inarticulate sound of endless torment.

The devil’s deal wasn’t to gift the man the ability to play but to allow him to play for eternity once the price was given.


This story previously appeared in Spreading the Writer’s Word blog, “Ladies of Horror Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge.” 
Edited by Mitchelle Lumumba.



Carietta Dorsch currently lives in North Carolina. She can see the horror in anything and loves every sinister detail.