Littlerreg’s Song


Particular places have particular rules. It might be because they’re ancient, special, haunted, cursed, or just particularly beautiful places for other things to make their homes. There’s always something to learn from those overspoken horror tales- haunted dolls, creepy basements, angered demons and all that jazz. But spirits are petty and varied. One will tear out your tongue if you speak to it, another will kill you for rudeness if you don’t. Most of the time, you’ll have to trust your instincts and make a hopefully intelligent guess. 

A lot changed when my mother fell sick. A few days off work and some prescribed medication is all we expected. None of us could have seen it coming- the surgeries, hospital visits, medical bills. When it became obvious her condition wasn’t going to improve anytime soon, my father took a shot in the dark and moved us to a cheaper neighborhood nearer to the hospital. ‘For financial reasons and for your mum’s safety.’ I didn’t miss my school much, didn’t have any friends to start with- but my younger sister was distraught- ‘new school, no more friends’. 

“But… can’t I just stay behind? I’ll stay at Bernadetta’s house… please? You’re going to come back anyway, right?” Leonie had begged. 

“No, Leo, we… I’m sorry. Be a darling and pack your things?” my father had replied. He didn’t want his daughter to hurt, but his hands were tied. My mother found the new house quite to her tastes – big windows, friendly neighbors. 

On the day we moved in, as we were unpacking our bags and going about making the house a home, there was a knock on the door. My father opened it, and an elderly couple came through. 

“Welcome to Littlerreg street,” the old woman said, smiling kindly, “and you are Mercedes, yes?” 

“Yes, that would be me. And you are?” my mother asked, standing up to greet them. 

“Hilda. Pleasure to meet you,” she said. 

“Hilda, please, take a seat. And to what do we owe this visit?” my father asked, coming out from the storage room. We had quite a bit of unpacking ahead of us- for now, we only had a sofa, a few chairs and a dining table. 

“We’re here to settle you in, Mr. Martritz,” the older man grumbled, settling down on a chair by the window. 

“Be nicer to our new neighbors, honey,” the lady said in return, putting her hand on his shoulder. 

“Sure, sure. They probably won’t stay long.” 

“Whatever makes you say that? I think this place is lovely,” my mother piped in. At that moment, my sister came running down the steps like some enraged bull. 

“Mom, dad! Where are my – huh? Why are these people back again?”

“Ah, Leonie! ‘You excited about your new house?” Hilda asked. 


“Well, I think you’ll come to lo-” 

“-hate this place,” the old man interrupted, “Can we get down to business yet?” 

“Alright, alright. You might want to join the neighbourhood group chat, we organise events and such there. We’re having a gathering next week, and we’d love for you to come by,” She made an attempt to both ignore and adhere to the grumpy old dude’s wishes, and he seemed to be just fine with that.

“This is quite a close-knitted neighborhood, isn’t it?” my mother commented, earning a nod from the old lady. “Yes, one might say that.” The lot of them continued to make light-hearted small talk, speaking of the best pizza places in town and the like. In the meantime, a steady tune in my ear drowned it all out. 

“Monica? Monica?” My mother waved her hand at me. I looked up, and took one side of my earphones out. 

“Do you mind going upstairs for a while? We have… matters to discuss. We won’t take too long,” said Hilda, looking guilty. 

I took no offense and paid no mind to it, grabbing a few of my things and walking up the staircase. 

Mother and Father looked uneasy afterwards. I asked them what they had said, and all they did was give me a suspiciously specific set of instructions- don’t leave the light downstairs on when I go to sleep. Don’t ever open the curtains on any of the windows. And never, ever, open the front door past 1. Sounded stupid. I told them what I thought, but said I’d listen anyway. Better safe than sorry, right? 

My parents let me sleep with my music that night. 

Of course, I figured it out eventually. Heard the strange, almost hypnotic, singing. We couldn’t sleep most nights. There were talks of moving. But then my grades improved. My sister got her wish of being popular. Dad got a promotion. And Mother got better. No, doctors couldn’t explain it and no, there was no guarantee she wouldn’t relapse. 

We didn’t know if we should put it down to pure luck and coincidence- but it wasn’t just us. The longer we stayed in Littlerreg, the more we heard of these tales of little lucky happenings unexplainable miracles experienced by the residents. Was it linked to the thing roaming the streets at night? Or was there some witch living amongst us? No one seemed to know, but for some reason, few seemed to bother. 

“Don’t be the protagonist of a horror story, dear. Some things are just meant to be left alone,” my mother had said when my sister brought it up during dinner one evening. 

“Fine… but aren’t you curious?” Leo asked, to which my mother smiled gently and shook her head. They dropped the topic. 

I hadn’t expected to become friends with Mr Reigan – the old man from the neighbourhood committee who had first talked to us when we moved in. At the neighbourhood’s regular gatherings, the two of us tended to prefer to be away from the crowd. We ended up talking a fair bit. Mr Reigan had a strange relationship with the creature in the streets. I noticed this, but never pried. Eventually, he would explain it. And he did. 

“You know, that- thing, it hasn’t always been here,” he told me one day, taking a seat on one of the chairs in the garden. “My great-grandfather was already living here when it first showed up.” “Is that so?” 

“Is indeed so. Apparently it’s some poor soul who can’t find peace. A quiet kid, liked to sing. Normal looking house, normal looking family. Not so normal sounding, though. When they first arrived, they’d hear screaming at night- sometimes even in the day. Now, my great-grandfather was a kid, but he wasn’t no idiot. It was ‘a scream of dread, of pleading, of terror’, and, well, the only other people in that house were his parents. Eventually the screaming died down- everyone assumed that the family had simply solved their problems and moved on. People still looked at the child with pity, but he’d simply say it was fine and smile. The last time he was seen was at the playground with a few of the other neighborhood children, too shy to speak, but content watching. Before he left he sang a song, they said, a pretty one. A song they don’t remember the lyrics to.” 

“A song?” I repeated, listening intently. It was an interesting story, after all. 

He nodded, seeming annoyed at my interruption, and continued. “As I was saying. The family left nothing behind but a chair and a sack of, well…” 

“-human remains…?” I attempted to finish. 

Mr Reigan nodded. “They say that’s when- it showed up. Wasn’t as civil at the start though. Bloody thing was running around at night, banging on doors. Doing what it liked. Even, ha- killed. So they attempted to strike a deal with it. We let it do what it wants at night, so long as it leaves us the hell alone. And we don’t look at it. Easy, yeah?” 

“I guess so-” 

“Stupid thing still managed to get my daughter, though.” 

I sat up straighter. “What? I- I’m so sorry,” I said, though certain he’d heard it before, “How? Did it just- kill her?” 

“No. She was only 13 when it happened. She just seemed so… empty. We brought her to doctors, anything, anything to save my child. A week later we found her dead. Took her own life.” “Oh, I…” I trailed off, unsure of what to say.

“Monica? It’s getting dark out, come inside!” my mother yelled from inside. 

“Well, you heard your mother. I best get going, too.” 

I walked back in, watched the trickle of neighbors heading home. Couldn’t stay out too late not here, anyway. 

“Monica, Alice’s staying over. Parents heading out of town,” my father said, gesturing to the girl seated on our couch. I had talked to her a few times- she lived right next to us, after all. “Thank you for having me,” she thanked politely, “I’ll shower after you’ve all finished.” I ended up sharing my bed with Leonie, and Alice took Leonie’s bed. 

“Anyone awake?” she asked, minutes after the lights went off. 

“Mhm,” my sister replied, “What?” 

“You ever wonder how it looks?” Alice questioned, getting straight to the point. I got up, rubbing my eyes. 

“Why? You intending to have a look or something? Well count me ou-” I began. “What’s the worst that could happen?” Leonie cut me off. I turned to glare at her. Was she insane? My sister slid off the bed and picked up her charging phone. 

“It’s 12:40…” 

“Leo, no. Snap out of it, you idiot. I’m tired, can we just go back to sleep?” I tried to persuade her, grabbing her arm. 

“You’re welcome to stay upstairs,” Alice told me, hopping off Leonie’s bed and making for the door. Had they really just decided to get up and go just like that? Annoying as she was, I had no intention of just letting my sister die. The two of them slipped through the door, and I grabbed my phone. 


Alice walked to the curtains on our living room window. 

“Shh, be quiet…” she whispered, “it’s coming.” 


They waited. I sat on the couch, eyes turned away from the window. 

“I wonder how it looks,” Leo mumbled, glancing at the clock on the wall. 


I heard the faint song, from the other end of the neighborhood, as it started. I flipped to the voice recorder app on my phone, and put myself slightly behind Leo, arms ready. 



The music got louder. I began to see things in the corner of my eye which weren’t even there. Began to feel like if I so much as blinked, it would be game over. 


I put my hands over Leo’s eyes, closed my own, and heard Alice scream. A door opened upstairs. “Leo- Alice! Oh my god.” My mother. 

I turned my head towards her. 

“Look away. Me and Leo are fine,” I said. 

I hadn’t noticed up til that point, but, the singing had stuttered and then stopped completely. In fact, I was almost certain that thing was still standing there. I could feel it- the pain, anger, and… fear? Carefully, I inched Leo around until we were both facing away from the window- my hands, though shaking, never leaving her eyes. 

Knock knock knock. 

It had moved to the door. 

“Hi, it’s me, Hilda. Are you alright?” a voice came through the door. 

“Don’t,” my father warned, and with his head turned down, he grabbed for the curtain and closed it shut. 

But it wasn’t over yet, was it? 

Knock knock knock. 

“This is the police. Open your door, sir.” 

Alice was shaking, crying. She couldn’t seem to form words let alone coherent sentences. Leo wasn’t faring so well, either. 

“M-monica… I, I think I saw a bit of it…” she mumbled, grasping onto my arm. “You’ll be fine,” I said, though my heart was racing and my voice was shaking. There was chaos, but also a certain eerie silence to it all- the knocking, crying, assuring, mumbling, swearing- it all seemed to be blocked out, like my head had been dunked under water. 

Rattle, rattle. 

I wasn’t sure how much time had passed until it stopped assaulting our door, and began singing, that song I’d been hearing for more than a month now. It was soothing, like a lullaby, but I couldn’t pick up the words. I knew they were there, recognized them, even. But they meant nothing, said nothing. I listened, though, let myself forget everything… 

Knock. Knock. Knock. 

“Shh… listen, don’t look…” the voice outside the door said in a sing-songy voice. And then it was gone. 

Alice was gone by the time I woke up. Leo skipped school that day. 

Sometimes when you get that burning feeling that you shouldn’t look, maybe you shouldn’t. I took out my phone and opened up the voice recorder app. 

Maybe you should listen.

Shayna Lam (Class of 2024) is a Literary Arts student at SOTA.