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The Solitary Knock

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posted on Jul, 4 2010 @ 03:58 AM
This is a true story, based on an experience that I had while living in a cottage last year. I have changed the character around a little, but rest assured, what you are about to read did happen to me, and remains the scariest experience I have ever had in my life so far. I wrote this today, while waiting for some good posts to come up on ATS. Hope you enjoy.

The Solitary Knock
By Shamus78

It was not the knock itself that startled me, rather the silence that proceeded it, and the ghastly emptiness that followed. It was as if nature herself had seen what was coming, and had fled back to the forest to avoid contaminating herself with the abomination that had now stumbled unsteadily out of the woods and onto my back porch, taking with her all the animals and the very wind itself back to hide from this hideous beast. It was a solid, deliberate knock. Whomever made it left their knuckles resting against the door for the full impact to be felt, before sliding them away only when the wooden door had echoed it's last. This was a knock that contained an intent that I could not fathom.

My body flooded with a mixture of chemicals, each screeching their own message to my mind. Stay where you are! Run away! Fight it, don't you see? Fight it! As my body slowly cleared itself of these intrusive chemicals there remained one salient emotion, one so heavy and ponderous that when it spoke its very body quivered and pulsated thru its words. Fear it. Was the message it delivered with it's sickly smelling breath. Fear it deeply. And fear it I did.

I should fill you in on some background, while I still have the time to do so. The previous evening, I had arrived at this little cottage, where I now sit frozen with fear on the lounge room floor. I had moved far from the city where I had spent a large part of my adult years. A disillusion of marriage, and the subsequent feelings of loneness and depression had convinced me to find greener pastures. And so, I had packed up my now rather meagre possessions, thrown away what reminded me of my former partner, and leapt into a new life far away, deep within the woods and fields in a countryside wonderfully anonymous and deeply beautiful. This was to be the second night I had spent in this little cottage that had seemed so homely and proper in the light of day.

You must understand, the previous days had induced a kind of weary exhaustion, a feeling of hard work done, and for the first time in years an awareness of the satisfaction that I felt towards my life. As I sat on the threadbare rug that covered my carpet, and warmed myself against the glow of the fire – which, for the sake of personal reflection was the only light illuminating this room in which I now sit, I was as happy and content as I could ever remember being.

And now I continue to sit, hairs raised, oblivious to the now cold warmth that still seeped from the fireplace, tensing and watching the door from behind which the knock had appeared.

I do mean appeared. It did not occur, or announce itself. The knock was a physical presence, trespassing into my house and into my mind. The knock had a presence far beyond what I would call a sound.

I waited. Surely if I remain as still as I am now then the knock would go away? I did not yet realise at that time that the knock had gone away, leaving an imprint of itself which had found a way into my mind and relived itself again and again, and with each repetition of the knock inside my head came a rising terror that threatened to drown out all other thoughts.

I tried to will my eyes to focus on the thin dark line that lay beneath the door and connected me to the unknown presence outside. While gentle light from the fire played and danced upon the inside of that door, I knew that outside it was as dark and cold as the feeling that still gripped me, all the while I remained frozen on my threadbare rug, hiding in plain sight in the lounge room floor.

So I watched, much like an animal would. Aware of danger, but unable to define it. All my senses opened and let in a flood of sights of sounds and of feelings. I could feel the individual fibres of that rug under my hands, and smell the hours old meal I had prepared earlier. But my sight – my sight betrayed me. For all it saw was the dancing flames, and darkness of that strip under the door and nothing else.

Then I heard the scratching. This was not a sound an animal would make, rather the gritting shrieking sound of metal on brick. There was just one scratch, long and determined, heavy with power and then, like the knock before it, it was gone.

Although I knew the presence behind the door had not.

Suddenly a terrible and massive thought forced its way into my mind. What if it had seen me? Although the venetian blinds that I had only put up that day were shut, would there not be small holes where a creature could see? I imagined one large and hate filled eye slowly coming closer to the glass outside, while the first exhaled breath emitted from this terrible creature lay softly against the glass as fog before disappearing into the darkness outside.

posted on Jul, 4 2010 @ 04:01 AM
To my right there was a bookcase, still empty, save for a solitary line of paperbacks that littered the uppermost shelf. Around it lay several boxes, their contents recorded in happier times, a time when I wasn't cowering in the light awaiting an intrusion from what had now become something so terrible and calculated that my mind refused to even acknowledge its presence, apart from the single, solitary knock and the thin solid scratch that had followed. What if I could slowly move towards the bookcase? Then at least wouldn't I would have some shelter, some sanctuary from the beast outside, away from it's knowing gaze and it's hate filled thoughts?

My eyes focused on the door handle. Had I locked it? Living so far out in this country had made me immune to such thoughts and I knew in my heart that I had not. My mind flashed forward, playing a scene where the door handle slowly, deliberately began to open, before snapping back to the present. The door handle did not move. Wait. There! Did you see? Just the subtlest movement on the handle, perhaps a long elongated finger running softly over the polished outside handle. Perhaps it was just my imagination - although by this time my imagination had fled, leaving only my senses and depriving my mind of the soft cushioning that it provided. Perhaps I was only imagining it, but I saw the handle move again, slightly more sure this time, yet still only a fraction of a turn. And then, as quickly as this movement was there, it was not. My eyes strained at the windows now, seeking motion. But they could not penetrate the blackness outside, and so remained blind to the outside world, and all the horror which now stood on my back porch, smiling gently as it watched me from the darkness.

My thought returned to the bookcase. For all the will in my body, I simply could not dare to move. Movement invited danger, an explosion of activity as whatever was outside would crash thru the door and seize my head in it's oversized hands. While I remained silent and still I was safe. Perhaps while I remained so I amused whatever was watching from my back porch.

And so, I remained as I was. Many hours passed, and there was no more activity from outside my cottage.

Then the most heavenly event occurred. It started to rain. The wind returned. Oh God, the glorious wind! Never before had I been so happy to hear such a sound of leaves rustling on the roof, and with it came an explosion of activity outside as the world seemed to return and cascade down around my lonely little cottage in the woods.

The fear, which for all this time has sat plumped up and quivering with delight, simply disappeared. I had heard nature return, and with it for some intangible reason knew that whatever had stumbled upon my little cottage, far away from any town, or city, had gone. My eyes previously filled with terror, now openly wept tears of gratitude.

And that is my story. Although I never did find out what occurred that night deep in the woods, and it often pops into my head - I am happy to have survived that lonely night, and deeply grateful to still have my soul and sanity intact.

The End.

[edit on 4/7/10 by shamus78]

posted on Jul, 4 2010 @ 04:11 AM
This is the cottage in question:

And here's the view from the back porch:

I should add, I still live at that cottage, but will be moving next week to be closer to my job

It's been a lovely place to relax and contemplate the world.

[edit on 4/7/10 by shamus78]

posted on Jul, 4 2010 @ 06:09 AM
This is actually the first prose that I've read on ATS and I've got to say (for what it's worth, me not exactly being a particularly notable literary critic) that you're quite the author. I'm reminded of Poe.

This unreasoning dread seems fairly consistent with many similar stories of creatures that seem to lurk in wooded areas, watching people at night(mothman, among others).
Several years ago, I found myself driving fifty kilometers into town at 2am, after camping in a spot that became more and the night wore on.


All this said, these are hard experiences to use as evidence of any sort. Theoretically, it is possible to misinterpret a mundane event and watch it explode into a full blown sense of mortal dread. Not saying that's what happened to you of course, but it is possible.

posted on Jul, 4 2010 @ 08:29 AM
I can see why a part of you doesn't want to leave there. It looks like a quiet place to heal, if that's what one needs.

Excellent account of both an internal and an external event.

posted on Oct, 13 2010 @ 06:06 AM
This is an excellent story, and one that made me want to become active in ATS. My skin crawled in some parts!

You seem to have a gift for writing.


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