Like a opening of a horror novel!

This happened about three minutes ago. I was on the couch when I heard the garage door opening beneath me.

One Kiddo is out at her friend’s house; she’s not due back yet, so I figured it can’t be her. I also thought I heard a car motor, so my Patient Husband perhaps? But again, it’s the middle of the day. Bomb threat at his building? Was he ill?

But when no one came up the stairs, I went down to see who had come in. Instead I found the garage empty, the garage door down but the light on. That light meant the door had just been active; it had gone down instead of up.

My minivan sat in its spot, and one of the doors was open.

A really noisy fly circled me endlessly.

I thought, “This would be the great opening for a horror novel!” The stillness. The mysterious door-opening. The buzzing fly in orbit around my head. The sliding door of the minivan, inexplicably open. And above all, that eerie stilless of a garage with nobody in it. Well, nobody except me.

It’s a good thing I don’t spook easily. I shut the minivan door (Kiddo3 had gone down earlier to find something in the car, and it’s a revelation to him that doors shut) and then returned upstairs to find my knitting bag where Kiddo4 and Kiddo3 were playing. I checked in the bag, and sure enough, there’s the remote, right next to a ball of yarn. So it’s easy to reconstruct: one of the kids leaned on the bag, put down the door Kiddo2 left up when she went to her friend’s house, and so on.

But really, it’s not about facts; it’s about mood. It’s about the assumptions you carry with you when you head into the basement and find nothing as you expected, or rather, no people where you expected people to be.

Keep that in mind when you start your horror novel. And let me know if you call it The Half-Open Door.


  1. diinzumo

    I had a similar feeling when my burglar alarm woke me at 1:30am Saturday. My brother had posted my address on Craigslist stating we had furniture to give away from the granny flat, and that was the first thing that crossed my mind. The second (which turned out to be true) was that the alarm was malfunctioning. That appeared to be the case. Still, that didn’t keep me from lying awake for a couple of hours with my pulse pounding in my ears.

    1. philangelus

      Yikes! That would scare me to death.

      We’ve had the carbon monoxide detector just…go off. Saying hi to us. When nothing is burning, nothing is making CO, all the windows are open. And then you try to go back to sleep wondering if you’ll ever wake up again.

      There’s that meme on memebase, “Let me sing for you the song of my people.” Alarms should not do that. :-b

  2. Normandie

    I can always count on you, Jane, to enliven my day, one way or the other. This time it was “the other” — I always wonder about the folk who go to investigate noises. The woman who picks up the candle and disappears into the basement …

    Nope. I’d get the kids together and lock us in another room. Or maybe get one of them to stand at the top of the stairs with the phone, ready to dial 911, if I so much as shriek.

    Horror stories? Not happening here! I still haven’t recovered from The Twilight Zone.

    1. philangelus

      Hahaha! Yeah, I”m the one saying to the TV screen, “Get out of the house. Get. Out. Now.” Maybe I’ve ust been lulled into a sense of security living out here in the swamp. The stink bugs don’t usually put down garage doors. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Karen Williams

    i think (know) I would like to have you beside me in an emergency! Thanks for the reminder to have a cool head.
    Karen W.

    1. philangelus

      I dunno. It’s my mom’s opinion that I keep my head in a crisis, but I’m not so sure that’s true. This time it was pretty easy to put together what was actually happening — and of course, there was no crisis. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. MysteryNurse

    I don’t know what this says about me, but I think that all the time! I’ve never yet written one, but I think my muse is trying to get me to.

    1. philangelus

      Go for it! ๐Ÿ™‚ Remember to put in that silence, though, whatever horrible situation your character gets into.

  5. Ken Rolph

    Really Jane, and you a writer! Anyone knows that active verbs in titles are more gripping than static nouns.

    The Door Opens . . .

    1. philangelus

      You can ask my agent and she’ll tell you: I stink at titles. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      1. Ken Rolph

        And just think: any old painter can slap some paint on a canvas, title it Untitled #473 and get a squillion bucks for it. I’m calling my next novel Untitled #93. Bids, anyone?

        1. philangelus

          Actually, you probably saw pictures of that fresco so painstakingly “restored” in Spain…? Yeah, anyone can do it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But if you make the inside of your book unwritten as well, then it’s a metaphor for life and you can make a squillion bucks times two. Go for it!

  6. Amy Deardon

    Great story! Glad you were able to find a reasonable explanation — it would have been disquieting to think there’s PROBABLY a good reason this happened, but always be wondering… I would have started to question if I’d been carrying a hidden spy who needed a place to hide, or… melodramatic stuff. This is a funny story, thank you.

  7. Loriendil

    I am definitely going to save this blog post for future muse!

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