The Room That Swallows People

Author: G. Jefferies



“What are you doing in my house?”

The words stirred Amelie Hamilton from a dream about a dog she had grown up with as a child. Griff, a golden retriever and long walks in fields where it always seemed to be sunny and cool at the same time. One of those memories where hay-fever didn’t exist, it was sunny but not sweltering and being an adult was a long way off.

“Excuse me” she managed trying to shake off a mind groggy with sleep.

“I said, what are you doing in my house?”

Amelie sat up. How strange, not the sort of thing a burglar would confront you with she thought. It was dark and her alarm clock revealed it was 12.01 a.m., barely into the next day.

“This happens to be my house thank you very much so what are you doing in it?” She was speaking to an empty room which was even more curious.

Just to make sure she switched on the bedside lamp. The darkness retreated leaving peripheral shadows. Definitely no-one in the room. She blinked and got out of the bed. Slowly, she turned around, just to be sure.

“Is there anybody there?” Rather clichΓ©d, she thought, just knock once for yes, twice for no.

There was no response. Her light went out.

She cursed and muttered under her breath, “Another damn power cut.”

From under her door there was a flickering orange glow and voices.

The woman spoke again but sounded far more distressed.

“What are you doing in my house?”

Amelie paused. She wasn’t talking to her at all and it appeared there was more than one person in her house and downstairs. Creeping back to the bedside table she picked up her mobile. No signal.


Returning to the door she opened it and moved towards the top of the stairs to peek over than bannister rail. Things looked different. Her modernized Victorian semi-detached house was no longer modernized and the wall that made it a semi was missing. In fact the stairs she was at the top of were absolutely not hers at all. They were central for a start and far more in keeping with the original Victorian manse later split in two.

No wonder the voices carried.

The under the door glow was coming from gas lighting that ran at intervals down the landing. Panic was setting in. She stepped backwards and into her room and then came out again; my house, not my house. Her palms were getting clammy and she was trying to control her breathing.

Long slow breaths, stay calm this must be a very bad dream. She returned to the top of the stairs but held back out of sight.

“But I love you Elisabeth.” A man’s voice, desperate and pleading.

She heard a chair move. The woman, Elisabeth was more urgent.

“Jonathan, you can’t be seen here…my husband will be home soon.”

The man spoke again, his voice cracked. Amelie imagined he was crying.

“But you are carrying my child.”

Elisabeth grew angry and insistent.

“Never say that.” The words were spat out with vehemence. “Get out now and never come back.”

Amelie felt there was a degree of horror in the tone.

“Or I shall call for the Peelers.”

There was a thump as something hit the table;Β Jonathan’s fist perhaps, she thought.

“Very well” he said, “but I shall not be held accountable for my actions.”

A door slammed and Amelie could hear crying. She returned to her room and sat on the bed shaking. This time the door was left slightly ajar so she could see if things outside reverted to normal. They did not. Settling back she felt her own baby move; third trimester, she was agitated too. Her own husband was at a conference in Holland presenting a paper on something to do with particle physics. She was never quite sure what that meant at the best of times. CERN was just a word meaning big vacuum tube thing where things you couldn’t see flew round in circles crashing into other invisible things that were even smaller. Did her head in, although a scatty memory and interrupted sleep wasn’t helping and made dealing with things you could see tricky at the best of times.

Downstairs she heard a different male voice.

“My apologies for being so late Torrie, the meeting ran over slightly.”

“Not to worry Alfred, these things happen”

She lies well thought Amelie.

There was the sound of breaking glass and a scream. Amelie moved back to her vantage point, this time daring to look over the bannister. What she saw made her heart beat a shade bit faster.

Flames were expanding from drapes that were drawn across two windows to the left of the front door opposite the base of the staircase. Glass was strewn across a tiled mosaic floor and the curtains flapped in a breeze from outside fanning the flames which were now spreading.

Alfred was moving toward the door but staggered away as he opened it falling backwards onto the floor, his head covered in blood. Jonathan stepped through, a hammer in his left hand; it was stained red and dripping leaving a trail of bloodied drops.

Elisabeth’s mouth opened and closed as she stumbled against a table that offered temporary support. Her face was white. She spoke in a terrified whisper;

“What the hell are you doing Jonathan?”

He just glared back, eyes filled with the red mist and staggering with the gait of a mad man riddled with liquor wielding a raging slur,

“If I cannot have you then no-one will.”

He moved toward the table; Elisabeth backed off. The flames were moving down the room and behind her. She turned too fast and tripped, crashing her head against the corner of the table before landing on the mosaic. A pool of red liquid grew from her hair.

Jonathan dropped the hammer and fled.

Amelie could feel the heat as her own escape route was cut off. Thick smoke was driving up the stairs forcing her to retreat back into the room. The window was jammed shut and smoke began crawling underneath the door. In desperation she smashed the glass. The ground was a long way off and 30 weeks pregnant was not making things easier. She began to cough and the smoke made the decision. Her world went black as she slumped to the floor.


Across the road, and most definitely in the present, Allan and Joseph Carmichael were surfing the web looking out at the old Hamilton place, as they had done for the five years since Amelie Hamilton had gone missing. Both sides of the semi-detached large Victorian house were boarded up and had been for three years. James Hamilton had originally bought them both hoping to renovate the house back to it’s original state prior to the fire in 1875.

Being paranormal hobbyists they were renting this particular house on the basis the local population believed the Victorian place opposite was either haunted or possessed. Urban myth had it logged as a place people went into and sometimes never came out again. They said it woke up every five years and wanted feeding. To date the brothers had found numerous accounts of missing persons that either owned or visited the place. Evidence was less numerous; the police had been unable to trace any of the absent inhabitants and had even held James Hamilton in custody whilst exploring the possibility he may have disposed of his wife.

Eventually they let him go, whereupon he was admitted to a psychiatric ward for treatment. The Carmichael’s had managed to interview him but retrieved very little apart from a series of notes from a disturbed mind.

“The place is possessed by the devil.”

“There is a room that swallows people.”

“It’s alive with ghosts of the dead.”

A year later, James gave up and had the place boarded. Some say he boarded it from the inside and was never seen again. Certainly after the interview Allan had been unable to locate him and since the police had received no missing persons reports little help came from that direction.

Allan was currently staring at the house opposite. The more he looked the more unsettled he became.

“Who’s watching whom?” He was talking to himself.

His brother startled him from the reverie.

“Al, look at this.”

Joseph stared into the screen displaying an archive for local news relating to the fire. “Amelie Hamilton was pregnant!”

Local businessman Jonathan Webster was, today, accused of setting a fire with intent to incapacitate and murder Albert and Elisabeth Beechworth and their unborn child. In addition the remains of an unknown female, also with child, were discovered in an upstairs room. Being of unsound mind the accused was spared the hangman’s noose and admitted to an asylum for the remainder of his days. When inquisition as to motive was applied by the prosecution the only words uttered by Mr. Webster were

“Get out of my house.”


Β© G Jefferies and Fictionisfood, 2016. All rights reserved.


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    • Thank you kindly Sarah…this was never originally meant to go anywhere. Alas it be she two short stories dabbing in a vague idea and then three and…. It’s not my best writing I don’t think, but often I find I hate my own work depending on what time of day it is 😊😱
      Thanks again and by return I shall be visiting you shortly 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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    • Thank you Dany, it’s one of my earlier ones. Originally a short story one off type of thing that grew. Now it’s shaping into a series that I’m currently blogging and may even give me enough material for a book…obviously reworking these posts a but 😊 Next one is An Absent Child Revisited, part two if you like 😁

      Thanks so much for the visit πŸ™ƒ


  6. Pingback: An Absent Child Revisted | Fiction is Food

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    • That is a most generous comment indeed. This was done quite a while ago as a dabble into fiction writing. My genre is horror / dark fantasy fiction althoug on here there are two memoirs that are dedicated to a departed school friend. The second part in this series is fleshed out in An Absent Child revisited (revisited because it was just an exert first time and readers requested the full piece). Dead Man Walking ones are from a book chapter, anything under The Bequest is from another I’m working on and the rest are similarly taken from books.

      Be warned though, I’ve side tracked into challenges too πŸ™ƒ They are not creepy horror !!

      Thanks for take the time to read and comment though 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    • I feel your angst….my head is clearly suffering similar strangeness…more so by having several weeks of not writing fiction….antagonists are now knocking. Once my last kindness challenge post is up this weekend then I’m hoping to get back on track with the stories 😊 Thank you so much for taking the time to read this 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow this is creepy good!! I love all things paranormal so this is right up my alley. It really drew me in and I could imagine it in my mind. Your writing is excellent. Pardon me for saying, but I think there is a mix up in names a couple of times, once Amelie turns into Emily and another when Jonathan hits his fist on the table, is it not Amelie that thinks that’s what it was not Elisabeth? Or am I wrong?
    That picture is magnificent!!
    OH I can’t wait to read more of your stories!!! I’m off to the next one.. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Many thanks firstly, for taking the time to read and comment. I really appreciate that more than people might imagine 😊

    Next, thank you so much for the generous comments too. In this series the room is one of several locations that have, shall we call them, issues πŸ™ƒ

    I think I’ve got about seven in total so far. Still needs working to completion but I might serialise it on here if folk are interested 😊


  10. ‘An Absent Child’ post has led me here! What a brilliance!! Both the posts!! The detailed description of the room, the mystery, the ‘What-next??’ kind of feeling you get when you dwell yourself into a book written by a professional, or the visual imagination that erupts out of engrossed reading–>This was how I felt!! Great work Gary! I’m so pleased to meet such a talent! Each one here in the blogosphere is special in their own way, but I haven’t really come across anyone, so close to intrigued writing, that keeps me hooked!! πŸ™‚ Can’t wait for your books! How are things shaping up?

    P.S: Have you started blogging in 2014? But bounced back this year? Glad you are! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • OMG…that’s made my day for sure…too kind methinks…proof is due back end of June so that’s when the next phase on that one can start. In the meantime I will put up the fuller Absent Child piece and see if folk still feel the same πŸ€” But thank you so much for the postive comment…I find it terribly hard to think of myself as any good…a while ago I decided it’s up to readers to judge me. I expect it may not be everyone’s tastes in genre but if people like you feel it’s engrossing then that’s about the best compliment I can get…and hooked too…I don’t get that everyday 😊

      Yes to blogging…I set it up in 2014, posted RTSP and had a massive loss of self esteem so ran away and wrote two books, this series and started two more….gradually wading through them editing wise now. In January I was pursuaded to hit social media again and get over the esteem crisis. I revamped here, set up a Facebook author page and am trying to get a handle on Twitter and Google Plus… It’s all quite daunting still…but here…I am so pleased I tried again because everybody is so friendly and helpful. I’ve met some awesome people….like you 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh, Gary…this is soooooo great…sooooo intriguing and wonderfully imaginative and it makes me sooooo curious to find out what happened….then and now…two mysteries in one…you are a fantastic and gifted writer…I thoroughly enjoyed this…I am going to read the other excerpts you kindly mentioned the other day (probably after work tomorrow)…. enjoy your Sunday πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it could be better….but it is part of a series as I said. The first in fact…well, at present….this is set in time before Theatre of Dreams which is a different book. The third brother never appears in these…might be Joe Stringer was right πŸ€”

      Thank you for reading once more…you are too kind πŸ™ƒ


  12. Pingback: The Room That Swallows People | Fiction is Food

  13. Hi Mary, I totally agree with you. Gary is such a good writer and I am so happy I’ve become friends with him via a creative writing course; which we did at the same time. All of his stories he has shared with me are great πŸ™‚ We will both be posting here on our fictionisfood blog πŸ™‚

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