Saturday Stories: Rehearsal of the Deathcapella Choir

100_2185“Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap!” called the choral director, waving his baton at the podium. The baton itself made no sound of its own, being made of memory and shadow, like its wielder.

The choir’s chatting continued unabated.

“Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap!” the director said louder, waving the baton emphatically. What could these people have to chat about that they hadn’t discussed a thousand times already? They were dead, for God’s sake!

Of course, that was just a figure of speech. God had nothing to do with their deaths, as they all now knew. But the habits of a lifetime are harder to break than the lifetime itself.

The director gave up on the baton and shouted, “Shut up already!”

The unruly choir members quieted and gave the director their attention.

“From the refrain, please.” The conductor raised his baton, beat out the tempo, and the choir began.

To say the choir sounded heavenly would be a gross exaggeration.


It would be a downright lie.

The basses croaked like bullfrogs with emphysema. The tenors sounded like a dozen reciprocating saws. The altos might have held it together in a moan, but they were completely overwhelmed by the sopranos’ unearthly, and completely off-key, wail.

The choir director smiled.

“Lovely. Lovely! A little more Altos.”

It took a particular aesthetic to appreciate a deathcapella choir. Being tone-deaf helped, but more important was a love of gothic horror.

The choir came to the rousing finale of the piece. The director held them on the last note for just a hair longer than any living man would be able to endure. The effect was masterful!

“Well done! Well done!” he said, applauding soundlessly. “Now, the All Hallows Eve celebration kicks off at nine tomorrow night. I expect you all to be here, dressed in your most gory outfits and ready to go by eight forty-five.”

One of the choir members raised a hand.

“Yes, Alistair?”

“What time will we be finished? I’ve got a haunting at twelve I have to be at.”

“We should be done by eleven-thirty. The lesser demons take the stage at midnight. Those of you without other commitments should stick around for them—I hear it’s quite a show. A once-in-a-lifetime experience for some, I’m told.”

There was an appreciative chuckle from the choir.

“Anything else?” the director asked.

“Do we have to do the gore this year?” asked Bella. The director sighed. Every year it was the same. Bella, a former country western singer, had auditioned for the Heavenly Choir after her drug overdose. She didn’t make the cut, and had ended up in the Deathcapella Choir instead. It was a bad fit.

“Well, it wouldn’t be much of an All Hallows Eve celebration if we all came gussied up for church, would it? People want fear and terror. This isn’t Christmas!”

The choir tittered, and if Bella had still had blood in her, she would have blushed.

“Right. If there are no more questions, you may all go. Remember, eight forty-five tomorrow. Don’t be late!”

“But we’re always late!” called one of the basses.

The funeral parlour echoed with their ghostly laughter as the choir floated out through the walls.

Another excellent practice, thought the choir director. Perhaps next year they should enter the Death’s Got Talent competition.

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