I read a short story some time in the mid-2000s; I believe it was part of a collection of stories published in one volume and not all by the same author.

The viewpoint character's grandmother has certain house rules that must be obeyed; the strangest of these is that nobody is ever allowed to leave a tap dripping. On one occasion she completely freaks out when the viewpoint character leaves a tap dripping just to see what would happen.

Eventually we discover why she has this irrational fear (I can't remember how - possibly via flashbacks and a change of viewpoint, or perhaps her grandchild discovers his diary or something). When she was a young girl, her class in school was going somewhere on a trip, but she couldn't go because her family was too poor. The next day she came into school and saw all her classmates sitting in class, but when she spoke to them, the teacher acted as if she was making a sick joke. Eventually one of them tells her what happened:

"There was an accident while we were driving. The school bus went off the road and into the river. And none of us could get out."

(quoting from memory)

Then the entire class turns transparent and begins to drip, drip, drip onto the floor.

The story ends with

the sound of a dripping tap and the grandmother being found dead in her living room.

It was a nice chilling tale. Any idea what the title and author might be?

  • The answer I found matches your story entirely, but doesn't match up with the source since the only place I've found it is on a blog, not in a book.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Feb 29, 2016 at 4:39

2 Answers 2


This is "Drip, Drip, Drip"

This story is by Malorie Blackman, and was first included (so far as I can tell) in the anthology Kids Night In, published in 2003.

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According to the description here (roughly translated):

One guy has a very active granny who climbs mountains parachute jumps, plays football and God knows what else. The only thing is that she is terribly afraid of water dripping, which drives her to distraction. When he asks her why she is so afraid, she tells him what happened to her when she was young. The class had to go on a trip to London to attend one of Shakespeare's plays. She wanted very much to go, but her family simply did not have the money. And so she had to stay home. That day, when her class went on a trip, she went to school but after school [something], and everyone mocked her for being poor. The next day she went back to school and sat as usual next to her buddy Eddie's seat....

  • Brilliant. This is exactly the anthology and story I was looking for. You'll get the bounty and green tick, but I'll leave the bounty open for a bit longer so this gets more attention .
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jul 2, 2016 at 12:44

It's "The Dripping Tap { Dialogue }".

Carrie: Before I came, I left the tap dripping at home and mommy got really mad! She said to never leave them dripping…especially at your house.


Nan: And that’s when I found out that their coach overturned on the way back from the theatre. They all ended up in the dark, murky river and couldn’t get out.

Brief Silence

Carrie: So that’s why you hate the sound of dripping taps, because it somehow reminds you of what happened? It sort of links together with the river, but…

Nan: No darling, when a tap drips in my house, my friends from school and Mrs. Edmonds all come and stand before me. They stare at me and say nothing and their clothes just go drip drop drip drop– except nothing ever gets wet.


Carrie runs to the tap and struggles to turn it off

Carrie: It’s no use! It’s not working! Nan!

With one final gasp, Nan drops her arm abruptly and lies still with her eyes wide open, motionless

It looks like a "choochiehamster" wrote it for her second semester writing class.

  • Hmm. Interesting! This is so similar that one of them must have been based on the other, but the story I read, as well as being in a book, wasn't written in this dialogue format like a play script; it was just ordinary prose. Maybe this "choochiehamster" turned it into play format so that it could be acted out - or simply stole the idea and pretended to have written it herself?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Feb 29, 2016 at 9:36
  • @randal'thor: I left a message with the author, but that was 2011 and they may not be thrilled to acknowledge copying someone else's work.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Feb 29, 2016 at 13:11

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