Strangers: The House

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The house crouched on the side of the road and waited.

A group of young men in a new Packard tore up North Road, pulled up in front of an old, abandoned house, and proclaimed it to be good.

From where I stood, lighting my pipe, I knew that they were undeniably wrong about their belief. I called out to them to stop, to not go into the house, but they saluted me with the unmistakable salute of all Americans and laughed uproariously. I shrugged, finished lighting the tobacco in the briarwood bowl, took a few good pulls upon it to get the smoke flowing, and waited to see what would happen.

There were five young men in all, and from their behavior, I suspect they were recent arrivals to Cross’ Miskatonic branch. They pulled bags out of the trunk, which I suspected to be beer – and more than likely something cheap – and off they went toward the house. The wind shifted and carried two things to me.

The first was an observation by one of the young men: “I don’t remember seeing this house before.”

The second was a smell: rotting meat. It was the sort of stench that would roll out of a rabid dog’s mouth, or from a mountain lion that’s gotten a taste for man.

If there was a response to the observation, it was lost when the wind changed tack again, and the young men pulled open the door and went into the house.

I leaned against an oak, enjoyed my pipe, and listened as a chorus of terrified shrieks exploded into the early afternoon.

They stopped as quickly as they had started.

As I watched, the house moved forward, undulating toward the Packard. A heartbeat later, the crunch of steel and glass filled the air, and the house devoured the auto.

The building started to ease back towards its position, but I cleared my throat and shook my box of matches at it. For a moment, there was no reaction, and then, there was a groan of complaint, and the house crept across the road, over the wall, and back into the Hollow.

I sat down, watched the house disappear into the tree-line, and wondered where in the hell a thing like that had come from.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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