Naomi’s Room–A Terrifying Ghost Story by Jonathan Aycliffe (Continued) … Chapter 11…

imagesNaomi’s Room, Chapter 11…

Lewis left shortly afterwards. He took with him the rolls of Egyptian film, as well as those he had himself taken in the house that afternoon. In spite of his strange panic in the attic, he was more than ever determined to dig to the bottom of the mystery. Almost as soon as he had left the attic and returned downstairs, his mood had changed. Two large glasses of calvados had restored to us both something of our former equanimity and composure. I laughed a little, trying to make light of how we had suddenly turned tail and fled precipitately down those dark steep stairs, like children who have spooked themselves in the night. But Lewis remained sombre.

‘I felt it,’ he said. ‘That menace you spoke about. Felt it as soon as I set foot in the attic. Well, it wasn’t so much menace as a feeling of being menaced, if you see what I’m driving at.’

‘Yes,’ I said. ‘I suppose that’s it. As though someone else wished ill of you.’

‘Oh, yes,’ he said. ‘Undoubtedly. But more than that.’ He sipped his brandy slowly, less to savour it than to bring his mood down the more gradually. The yellow liquid turned in the glass. ‘As though they wished you harm,’ he continued, ‘physical harm. As though they meant to do you some mischief. Hatred it is, I suppose. Terrible hatred. And resentment, I could feel that too. And something else. Jealousy, I think.’

‘Is that what you meant back there when you said you felt compelled to relive your death? That someone wished to kill you? Out of jealousy?’

He shook his head with an air of reluctance, as though he wished he could say ‘yes’ and leave it at that. It took a while and several sips from the glass to bring him to it.

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Naomi’s Room–A Terrifying Ghost Story by Jonathan Aycliffe (Continued) … Chapter 9…

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Naomi’s Room, Chapter 9…

Lewis telephoned later that day to say he had something else to show me, something important. I hung up on him. He tried again, several times, until I left the receiver off the hook. By then, of course, I knew he was telling the truth, that his photographs were not impostures, but images of people no longer living. No longer living, that is, in any proper sense of the word. But I wanted things to end there, I wanted the dead to stay dead. I could not bear to think that they might mingle with the living. More than anything, I now perceive, I wanted to give my own feelings a decent burial. Left above ground, they could only be an abiding torment to me.

The next day Superintendent Ruthven turned up on our doorstep. There had been no disturbances during the night. At my insistence, we kept to our bedroom, though neither of us slept. Laura was keyed up, expecting the sound of prowling footsteps from the room above. Just before three o’clock was the worst time, for we both expected to hear that scream again. When the moment passed and all remained silent, we relaxed somewhat. I fell into a light doze, but Laura–so she told me later–remained wakeful until dawn. No footsteps sounded above our heads. In the morning, I ventured into Naomi’s room. Nothing more had been touched.

Ruthven brought with him a large plastic bag containing Naomi’s coat. Unlike her other clothes, this was not stained with blood. We confirmed the identification for him and he replaced it in its bag for return to his forensic laboratory.

‘Where was it found?’ I asked.

‘In a church,’ he said. ‘An Anglican church called St Botolph’s. It’s in Spitalfields, off Brick Lane–not far from the spot we found Naomi herself. We’ve got people going over the place now, but we don’t expect to come up with anything. It’s an old church, hardly used. A curate from another parish comes in to do a weekly service. That’s about all. A few old folk attend. Some vagrants. Anybody could have left your daughter’s things there.’

‘Whereabouts?’ I asked.

‘I told you . . .’

‘No, in the church, I mean. Whereabouts in the church?’ For some reason I could not explain, it was important to know.

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Naomi’s Room–A Terrifying Ghost Story by Jonathan Aycliffe (Continued) … Chapter 10…

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Naomi’s Room, Chapter 10…

‘What happened?’

Lewis and I were sitting in the study, facing one another across a low table on which I had placed a small folder.

‘His throat was cut. Savage, according to the report we had at the office. Nobody at Old Jewry knows why he went down to the church. They’d finished there, done all their forensic business, and given up. Seems they haven’t found anything yet. They think the coat got there by chance, nothing more. A vagrant may have come across it, taken it to the church.’

‘But why leave it in the crypt? What would be the point?’

‘The caretaker says vagrants go down there sometimes, the clever ones that know there’s a boiler. They don’t last long, though. The place spooks them. Nobody’s ever spent a night there, as far as he knows.’

‘Could they be related?’

‘Who?’

‘No, not who: I mean the murders. Naomi’s and Ruthven’s. Could there be a link? Could Ruthven have been on to something? Panicked the murderer into attacking him, perhaps?’

Lewis shrugged.

‘It’s too early to say. There’s no record of a lead. They only shut down their operation at the church yesterday.’

‘When was he found?’

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Naomi’s Room–A Terrifying Ghost Story by Jonathan Aycliffe (Continued) … Chapter 8…

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Naomi’s Room, Chapter 8…

We spent the rest of that night downstairs, I in an armchair, Laura on the sofa. I switched the lights on, every light I could find, and left them burning brightly. Looking back, I am grateful for the fear or circumspection or simple instinct that prevented me going up to the attic that night. What I might have found – what I know I would have found – I would not then have been ready to face. Even now I shake to think of it.

We passed a dreadful night, most of all in the literal sense. Sleeplessness had given way to outright fear. That terrible scream had chilled our blood. And the steady, pacing feet in the attic, the attic that had been shut up long before we came to live in the house, that had always been empty, had further shaken Laura’s already frayed nerves. She asked me what I had found in Laura’s bedroom. I told her about the presents, but kept to myself the business of the drawing and my understanding of what the three figures represented.

In the morning, when it was fully light, we took courage from the fading of darkness and made our way upstairs again. There had been no further sounds during the night, no screams, no dark footsteps, not even a creaking floorboard. In the cool morning light, our fears seemed foolish. Warmth was creeping through the house as the central heating took effect.

The light on the bedroom landing was still lit. On the right, the door of the nursery lay open as I had left it. A faint shaft of light came through the doorway. Up here, where the natural light was less evident, I felt uneasy again.

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My Current Read: A 1978 Bestselling Haunted House Novel by Anne Rivers Siddons—A Favorite Book of Stephen Kings’!

The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons

It doesn’t matter what other people think. Not any more.

Our friends are going to think we have taken leave of our senses, and we are going to lose many of them.

This is the sort of thing that engenders mild teasing or pleasurable gasps of not-quite-believing fear when it is kept within the bounds of the group. It is something else entirely now that we have spread it out for all the world to see. That isn’t done in our set. It lacks taste, and though we don’t use the word, class.

Worst of all, we have believed the unbelievable and spoken the unspeakable. Yes, we will lose our friends. We cannot worry about that either.

For the Harralson house is haunted, and in quite a terrible way.

(from The House Next Door)

Praise for The House Next Door:

“Spellbinding…. You will not be able to put down this book.” —Dallas Times Herald

“Haunting.” —The New York Post


The House Next Door is a horror novel written by Anne Rivers Siddons. It was first published by Simon & Schuster and quickly became a New York Times bestseller. The novel is told from the point of view of Colquitt “Col” Kennedy, a well-to-do middle-aged woman who lives with her husband Walter in a quiet, affluent Atlanta neighborhood. They learn from a neighbor that a contemporary home is going up on the lot next to theirs. Colquitt and Walter are dismayed at their loss of privacy and quiet, but resigned to the inevitable. They meet the architect and owners shortly after learning about the home, see the plans, and decide it’s a beautiful house.

The Prologue

Click images below to enlarge…

Soon, Colquitt suspects a terrible force resides in the house next door.In just under two years, three owners—the Harralsons, Sheehans, and Greenes—have their lives destroyed by scandal, madness, and murder while living in the home. Even those who only visit the house—including Colquitt and Walter—find themselves the victims of shocking tragedy. The pair decide to go public with their story—and risk their own reputations and careers—to warn others about the house’s dangerous power. However, the house is now powerful enough to protect itself. By telling the world, the Kennedys have summoned its dangerous wrath.

A Stephen King Favorite?

38B0B7AD-8C48-4965-8E73-16B6DB0F3783Yep. The House Next Door is one of five horror novels selected and Introduced by horror master Stephen King for The Stephen King Horror Library (see photo inset).

In his non-fiction book on horror in our culture, Danse Macabre, King writes at length about Siddons’ novel, calling it a contemporary ghost story with Southern Gothic roots; and one of the best genre novels of the 20th century. King’s extensive synopsis is supplemented by a detailed statement written by Siddons herself that reveals some of the novel’s themes.


SPOILER ALERT!

A Blog Review & Link to Buy the Book

Source: http://markwestwriter.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-house-next-door-by-anne-rivers.html

The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons, A Review by Mark West

In a new edition of the occasional series, I want to tell you about a book that I’ve read and loved, which I think adds to the horror genre and that I think you’ll enjoy if you’re a fan. Of course, this book is now 36 years old so it might be that I’m the last one left who hasn’t read it…

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The Best Witch Books Ever: Part One—Here Are MY Faves…

“A witch is a magician, who, either by open or secret league, is wittingly or unwillingly contenteth to use the aid and assistance of the devil in the working of wonders or misery to those about, both friend and enemy alike.”

– William Perkins, A Discourse on the Damned Art of Witchcraft, 1608

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Illustration/Design: Sanguine Woods.

Here they are…my faves–well part of them, anyway (stay tuned for Parts Two and Three); and they’re not in any type of order. I purposely refrained from giving them any kind of rating–ratings are biased by nature; this way, you can judge for yourself.

To me, they just have to be scary (adult scary–although I am a big fan of Roald Dahl). If you were burned to death tied to a stake, you’d be scary, too.

I also enjoy an eerie old-fashioned gothic atmosphere, which can add a complexity if written well that doesn’t always need scares to be effective. (The scary part usually rules out YA and Teen fiction for me; if you know of one I’ve missed, please send me a note!) Other than that just give me thoughtful characterization and good prose.

“By the Pricking of my Thumbs, something wicked this way comes.”  Witches, Macbeth

***

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi, 2009

white“White is for witching, a colour to be worn so that all other colours can enter you, so that you may use them. At a pinch, cream will do.”

There’s something strange about the Silver family house in the closed-off town of Dover, England. Grand and cavernous with hidden passages and buried secrets, it’s been home to four generations of Silver women—Anna, Jennifer, Lily, and now Miranda, who has lived in the house with her twin brother, Eliot, ever since their father converted it to a bed-and-breakfast. The Silver women have always had a strong connection, a pull over one another that reaches across time and space, and when Lily, Miranda’s mother, passes away suddenly while on a trip abroad, Miranda begins suffering strange ailments. An eating disorder starves her. She begins hearing voices. When she brings a friend home, Dover’s hostility toward outsiders physically manifests within the four walls of the Silver house, and the lives of everyone inside are irrevocably changed. And of course there is the house itself, 29 Barton Road, whose lines in the novel are grotesque, chilling and beautiful. At once an unforgettable mystery and a meditation on race, nationality, and family legacies, White is for Witching is a boldly original, terrifying, and elegant novel by a prodigious talent.

Winner of the Somerset Maugham Award
One of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists
From the acclaimed author of Mr. Fox; & Boy, Snow, Bird

“Be prepared to be enchanted…” – Fantasy Book Critic

Review: https://fantasybookcritic.blogspot.com/2009/07/white-is-for-witching-by-helen-oyeyemi.html

Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, 2016

43A9512F-1E89-4E0C-B400-4016531660A4The greats of genre fiction, Stephen King and George R. R. Martin (Game of Thrones), lead the fanfare for HEX–a good sign that Dutch author Thomas Olde Heuvelt’s debut English novel is both terrifying and unputdownable in equal measure.

Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay until death. Whoever comes to stay here, never leaves. 

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town that is haunted by the Black Rock Witch—a 17th-century woman whose eyes and mouth have been sewn shut. Blind and silenced, she walks the streets, entering homes at will. She’s been known to stand next to a child’s bed for nights on end–and no one knows why. So accustomed, in fact, to have her about, the townsfolk have almost grown to forget she’s there…or threat she poses a threat. According to the legend: if the Black Rock Witch’s stitches are ever cut open, the whole town will perish.

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House of Fear—An Anthhology of 19 Haunted House Stories, ed. by Jonathan Oliver, TOC

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Table of Contents

  • Introductionby Jonathan Oliver
  • Objects in Dreams May Be Closer Than They Appear by Lisa Tuttle
  • Pied-à-terre by Stephen Volk
  • In the Absence of Murdock by Terry Lamsley
  • Florrie by Adam L. G. Nevill
  • Driving the Milky Way by Weston Ochse
  • The Windmill by Rebecca Levene
  • Moretta by Garry Kilworth
  • Hortus Conclusus by Chaz Brenchley
  • The Dark Space in the House in the House in the Garden at the Centre of the World by Robert Shearman
  • The Muse of Copenhagen by Nina Allan
  • An Injustice by Christopher Fowler
  • The Room Upstairs by Sarah Pinborough
  • Villanova by Paul Meloy
  • Widow’s Weeds by Christopher Priest
  • The Doll’s House by Jonathan Green
  • Inside/Out by Nicholas Royle
  • The House by Eric Brown
  • Trick of the Light by Tim Lebbon
  • What Happened to Me by Joe R. Lansdale