by thefourpartland

Noise slipped into the background, as if muffled through thick cloth. Pressure filled the room, and the walls stretched. The ceiling bowed upwards, fleeing from the floor beneath it. The floor pressed down, digging into the earth below.

The windows were the first to escape, their shards of glass fleeing into the night, lost amidst a storm of warring clouds. Next the door, the wood breaking free and making for the shelter of a nearby wood.

The pressure eased, and the walls returned to their normal shape. Sound returned, a cacophony after the silence. A moment passed.


Once more.


The building heaved, forced outward. Again the ceiling strove to escape, and the floor to dig to freedom. The pressure built, straining, falling.

Nature’s chorus, the call of birds in fear.

A thin hiss beneath.

A cat, squirming from the building.

A push, a thrust, a pulse, and then the walls grow still and silent, and the ceiling sags down, exhausted. The floor rests upon the dirt, making of it an open coffin.

Birds fled, carrying the cat with them to safety.

A darkness of wreathes blotted the open doorway.

It had returned.


  1. Icy Sedgwick on 01.27.2011

    The most powerful image in this is that of the birds carrying the cat to safety. It must be some true evil if natural enemies are banding together.

  2. Deanna Schrayer on 01.27.2011

    James, this is astoundingly powerful, especially the suspenseful pace you give to it – wonderful story!

  3. The Four Part Land on 01.27.2011

    @Icy It was quite an evil creature. I tried to have the house pulse somewhat as if it was giving birth, although I’m not sure that came across. I hope it did anyway.

    @Deanna Thanks. I had a fun time playing with the story, using space and very short sentences to give pauses. I’d read somewhere just before writing this of the technique of forcing eyes to wait and go on to the next line before telling the reader what happened, and I thought I’d give it a try here. Glad you liked the result.

  4. adamjkeeper on 01.27.2011

    The pulse was like something forcing its way in from somewhere/when else, very atmospheric, could feel the air rippling.

  5. Emma Newman on 01.28.2011

    Yes, I thought it was most atmospheric too. Nicely done sir x

  6. Alison Wells on 01.28.2011

    Really loved this, wonderful imagery in strong, well chosen words, very atmospheric. You’ve done a really great job with this!

  7. The Four Part Land on 01.28.2011

    @Adam Yup, it’s the evil creature forcing the world to give birth to it. I was trying to make the writing take the shape of the pulses. I think it mostly worked.

    @Em Glad to see you made it back over here, thanks for the lovely comment.

    @Alison Thanks for the kind words. I had a fun time picking some of the images, like a darkness of wreathes or a cat being saved by birds. They gave the feeling I wanted without stealing away from the imagination of the reader.

  8. jim bronyaur on 01.28.2011

    Imagery is great… the feel is great… and the flow is great… I was a little upset that it stopped! 🙂

    Seems like a good start to a much longer story perhaps.

  9. Lara Dunning on 01.28.2011

    Yikes, just what is this this darkness of wreathes? Spooky. I hope we get a continuing flash.

  10. Adam Byatt on 01.28.2011

    Could almost feel the heartbeat of the house or the thing within it. Great pacing and tension. Awesome.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  11. The Four Part Land on 01.29.2011

    So there’s at least two of you who want me to write an extension to this, hrmm? I’ll have to think about it, I don’t normally do that.

    @Jim I’m certainly going to try another one in the same style. I like the pausing.

    @Lara I don’t actually know. I thought the phrase had an excellent ring to it, and was one I hadn’t heard before. As in most horror, some things are better left to the imagination.

    @Adam I was hoping to convey the impression that the house was an unwilling participant, that it was scared of what was coming out.

  12. L.M. Stull on 01.31.2011

    Another beau . . . nope, I’m not going to use that word you love love love so much. Erm, this story was powerful and not only “shows” the reader, but makes them “feel” what is happening. I too agree with the comments that an extension of this story needs to be written, you left us wanting to know much more. Nice job.

  13. Magaly Guerrero on 02.04.2011

    I want to know what return, for I feel it will scare the socks out of me. I can’t stop thinking about the walls stretching and the birds carrying away the cat.

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