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Bryn Tilly's picture

The Bitter Grain Of Loneliness

By Bryn Tilly in Scare Us

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A bitter middle-aged man, alone on Christmas evening, discovers that the house he lives in has reached the end of its lonely tether. 


Caleb Aaron Dobbs's picture
Caleb Aaron Dobbs from Sallisaw, Oklahoma is reading A Game of Thrones July 28, 2012 - 1:00pm

It was pretty good stuff. Felt really long, but I don't mind that. One thing, and this was purely form, would be to spice up the paragraph format. Most of it felt uniform.


Love the house description. I filled in lots of my own gaps, which I assume you left on purpose.


Maybe don't repeat the address so wasn't all that cool sounding to me. It was fine, of course, but got tedious at times.

Brandy Batz's picture
Brandy Batz from Los Angeles is reading The Instructions By Adam Levin July 28, 2012 - 3:23pm

You really convey that the house is evil.  At times a bit too much. I get that the house is alive and menacing. Perhaps cut some of the house detail out, some of the metaphors could go. Keep it simpler. 

This story very much reminded me of The Amityville Horror film or even American Horror Story. 

I liked your introduction. It got me interested without too much detail.

Have you read House of Leaves? It is an excellent novel about a house as a living evil entity.  

Emma C's picture
Class Facilitator
Emma C from Los Angeles is reading Black Spire by Delilah Dawson July 28, 2012 - 4:40pm


I like your angry house but wish I knew why it was angry. At first I thought it was punishing bad people- burning Graham in the same manner as his parents were burned (perhaps even because of him?) but in the end it just seems like it's out to get everyone.  

I'm not crazy about the vignettes you use to tell the story, shifting between Graham, the boy and his dog, the Albertsons, and Chas. It's a short enough piece that you can't give each the space it needs. What about telling from the house's POV? That way you could cover everything without jumping around, and you could provide a motive or even more backstory. Just my thoughts. 

Chas' portion feels almost like an epilogue; when Graham died that's what felt like the ending to me. 

All in all, I did enjoy it and your writing is solid other than a handful of minor grammatical issues. 

Dino Parenti's picture
Dino Parenti from Los Angeles is reading Everything He Gets His Hands On July 31, 2012 - 10:05pm

I liked very much the concept of house as monster or presence--very The Shining. I also really loved how you described the house in conjunction with the old man. It felt visceral--both rotting from the inside out. Some of your descriptions and analogies were great. One that stuck with me was "It hissed like a sea of angry cats."

A couple of things I wonder about. Was there a particular reason the house chose this moment to ingest Graham? Is it a just a Christmas ritual? Unless I missed it, is there a way to instill motive? Perhaps the house specifically absorbing the sins of its inhabitants? Or maybe getting back at humans who don't use their bodies (temples) with respect? I think the old man's general bitterness is a kind of physical abuse of one's "home." Not to make it some overly moral allegory, but I feel the house/monster needs that one extra dimension to it. It did feel a little arbitrary that it started to lure and kill basically anyone that happened by after taking out Graham without any reason.

That said, I think you have a really cool style--strong and present and uncomprimising.


Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from Danville Virginia--now living outside of Albuquerque/in Minneapolis is reading Kindred, by Octavia Butler August 3, 2012 - 11:49pm

This story jumped around too much for me. Just as I was trying to figure out the situation of the person I thought must be the main character, the story shifted to a different set of characters, and then back, and later on, to several more sets of characters. I don't think such a short space can handle all of these characters and situations.