Tag Archives: Horrible Noise

Report 6: The Door in the Mountain

The mountain door is open again, and I cannot sleep.

How do they stand it? The locals, I mean. How can they bear lying in bed, night after night, that obscene white light flooding their windows, keeping them awake? They must see it. They have to see it. How could they not see it? Are they blind? Are they cowards? Are they its acolytes?

No. No, that’s not it. They must be mad. Driven out of their minds by the endless light and lack of sleep. Edna with her deadly biscuits, the snake-kissed Melmoths, bold gruff kind Sheriff Patton, John Cheveyo with his bland acceptance of the strange and his cryptic owl notes. Mad, all of them, mad, and I’ll soon be mad, too, if I don’t do something about that door.

So out again, out into the dark of the Opa Lodge, where the horrible low squeal screeches in my ears, and the kitchen door fairly vibrates with the noise. There’s a chopping, too, the chopping of a monstrous blade severing bone and flesh, thunk thunk thunk into the wood of the cutting board, that carnivorous evergreen altar. The Continental Breakfast is in progress, and suddenly I am filled with a desire to see how the sausages are made.

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There is a door in the mountain. There is a door, and someone has left it open.

The light from it shines in my window, keeping me awake. I get up to close the curtains. That’s when I see it. It’s a white door. Old, indescribably old, but still white. New coat of paint, I suppose. New coat of paint to cover the blood. Someone should close it. No telling what might get in.

And that’s how I find myself padding through the Opa Lodge in the dark. A low, screeching squeal escapes the kitchen, though whatever makes it does not. The sound seeps in at the edge of my hearing, sneaks up on me in the dark. I’m not sure that I’m really hearing it, then I am. I stop, staring long and hard at the kitchen door, wanting to go in, not daring to go in, wondering what manner of thing could be making that horrible noise, wondering if I’ve already eaten it. Slowly, it subsides, trailing off in a terrible croak before fading away completely, and I’m left staring at a door that suddenly is just a door.

But it’s the wrong door. The door in the mountain is still open. I can’t see it, but I can feel its light pouring out into my head, and it seems more imperative now that I close it. So out. Out the front door into the cold Pannawau night. And there it is again, standing out stark white on the mountain, indecent in its exposure, embarrassing and uncomfortable. I feel a swelling in my head as I look at it, so far away and so high. So high up on the mountain.

How will I reach it? The face of Mount Pannawau is hoary and perilous, and I am small and weak. Helplessness washes over me, and panic, and the light. Always the light. My head pounds with the pressure of it, each heartbeat echoing painfully through my brain, and the phone is ringing. The phone is ringing. The phone is ringing.

It’s the Sheriff, telling me that the Melmoth family has received a ransom demand for the return of Alexandra, and asking me to meet him at Melmoth House asap. I put down the receiver, and pray to wake in time.