I feel like I am cheating a little by counting A Sincere Warning about the Entity in Your Home by Jason Arnopp in the 746 countdown as I didn’t realise until I went to read it that it is a mere 38 pages long! So, it is less of a book and more of a short story, but in its defence, it packs more creepy atmosphere into its brief pages than many full length books!
Most successful horror writing comes from a simple idea executed believably and that is what Arnopp does here in A Sincere Warning about the Entity in Your Home. The story is a letter, addressed to you, the reader, sent from the previous resident of your house, warning you of the horrors that await.
This is no chain letter, hoax or prank.
It is a sincere warning about your home and the entity which dwells within.
Your house has been haunted for some time now.
The letter writer (we never learn their name or sex) explains how they moved in to the house with their beloved partner Tom and details the terrifying events which happened to them in your home, a curse into which you have unwittingly stepped. The letter writer starts by explaining the innocuous manner in which the haunting starts. After a few months in the house, the couple find themselves unable to sleep.
Mundane enough, many people suffer from broken sleep after the stress of a house move, but this soon becomes debilitating. Even when they feel like they have slept, the pair awake feeling exhausted, hungover when they haven’t had a drink and drained. Their exhaustion begins to take a toll on their ability to work, but the letter writer soon finds out that their inability to feel rested has a much more sinister explanation.
Wondering why I felt so apprehensive, I studied the room cautiously. Then I saw it. The small dark figure. Little more than a silhouette. The silhouette of what resembled a small child, perched on the foot of the bed with its back to me.
What follows is a terrifying short tale of possession and death and the desperate measures that you will have to go through to get rid of this entity in your home.
A Sincere Warning about the Entity in Your Home is incredibly well structured and executed. The epistolary nature of the story gives it an immediacy and Arnopp leaves descriptions of the house and the letter writer vague, allowing you, the reader to imagine the nightmare taking place in your own home, adding to the unsettling atmosphere. Many ghost stories suffer from simply not being frightening, but this one is – anchoring the reader’s fear in the mundane and the everyday – in our inability to sleep, or to feel comfortable in a new home. In this way, the supernatural element becomes all the more believable and as such, all the more disquieting.
The story also plays on the idea of ‘survivor’s guilt’ – our letter writer has lost everything and done a desperate thing in order to rid himself of this entity, but still feels the need to warn the next in line what they will face and the strength they will require if they are to overcome it, as he has done.
There is hope in this story, but it comes at such a cost, you will wonder if it was worth it…
This short atmospheric story is a real treat and is still available for Kindle for under a quid – a perfect creepy interlude coming up to Halloween. Rather brilliantly, Arnopp has also set up a website – Scary Letter – where you can pay to have the story tailored to your, or someone else’s home, and received a typed copy in the post.
Now that would be one very creepy letter to receive!
read on: kindle
number read: 280
number remaining: 466
I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!