The House Shook Gently / Sample Chapter

The House Shook Gently / Sample Chapter



An otherworldly tale of unexpected romance and unyielding domestic possession. The usually uneventful lives of three unadventurous teens are thrust into a flurry of paranormal experiences, in an attempt by an unrestful spirit to understand her own story of an untimely and horrendous end.

The House Shook Gently is a culmination of years of dreams and visions of the most disturbing kind, brought into the light for the first time to form what could be seen as an inside look into a very real supernatural occurrence

The following is a sample chapter for ‘The House Shook Gently” a horror Novel by Benjamin Arandjelovic-Vaughan. The full manuscript is available upon request and all text remains the copyright of Benjamin Arandjelovic-Vaughan and should not be used unless prior consent is given by the author.

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Chapter 1 – Alone in my Room doing Homework


The house shook gently; the pen in my glass began to quiver.

These kind of tremors normally happen in my neck of the woods.

I stop my pen, stop my procrastination and carry on writing.


‘Bb, Cm/Gb, umm…’


‘Bb, Cm/Gb, umm…’


“Bb, Cm/…Emaj…Yes…”


I hate you Bartók.


The movement grew;

My scraps of cereal jetting around like fireworks.

This was different.


My eyes wander cautiously out the window; ten to twelve cars badly parked, Mrs Daniels from number 52 putting the bins out (wow, that’s a lot of rubbish, why wasn’t I invited to the party?).

Everything normal.


Fiona…she’s out late, her dress ruffled, a staggered walk. Falling into that bush will hardly cover up your drunk demeanour. Yes…that’s right, pick yourself up, look around, nobody saw you. Yes, your skirt was tucked in to your underwear, nobody saw that either. My mouth gapes lightly. Bartók…a distant melody, chords, orchestration…Damn. Keep going.




Nothing is shaking on the outside, why? Hmm? WHY??…do birds, suddenly appear? I cough. I focus. Trees blowing in the wind: slow-motion wind filter. Big gust…skirt over face, maybe I’ll let her in?


The tremor fades to a low hum. I think it is… yes. Upon reaching into my open desk drawer I pick up the tuning fork. I strike it on the rotted windowsill. An Ab…



“Bb, Cm/Emaj, Abm9…” Thank you earthquake country.


The hum changed pitch, lower and lower it groaned. It flattened and gained momentum. “What the hell?” Like a thick bubble it expanded around me. “What’s happening?” I am enveloped. Inner scream, loud, overwhelming depths.


Silence,                                                           sudden vacuum.


I imagined it? Too many coffees. My wind chime, still; my mandolin, ringing out a nice Fm chord. What? How?

Heart races,


breath weary,

legs, they carry me.

Ear, close to strings.


Head, shook, Listen again. My mandolin…




I must get out more. My Bartók score that was flung on my floor is regretfully picked up and I swivel my chair back into the right position.


*Slump*, the cushions wheeze.


I could have gone out partying with Fiona tonight, why am I always looking after that brother of mine? Such a boring kid. Not interesting like me.


Talking of interesting…






Cheeky glance, she’s stopped by my house, she’s stopped by…my house! A fated chance? School uniform? Fancy dress? Get in! Role-play! Yess! My mouth gawps heavily until my bottom lip is no longer supported.


She turns, hair flicks,


dead eyes…


holy shit! Swipe curtains. She saw me?


…Bugger. Peek through…”NO LEFT HAND! (don’t peek.)”

Right hand index finger to ajar mouth “Shhh.”


*Under breath* Wait…Stop…Listen…Look Left…Look right…Cross the road…


I really must get out more.


Hold on…*brain cogs turn*. I’ve missed something…“dead eyes”? Is she really that ill?


Dramatic pause.


Why am I scared?


I saw:

Matted hair,

Stabbing glance,

Broken bottle in hand,

Blood dripping down her unbuttoned front.


Did I see that? Unbuttoned front…ha, take a peek, no don’t peek, I told you once left hand.


This better not be the fucking start of ‘28 Days Later’.


Out of my left eye I see “The Idiot’s Guide to Survive a Zombie Attack.”


I reach for it.


No, what’s wrong with you?


Too many coffee’s need to get ouT MORE AHH, To Bartók!!


(Spoken out loud) “Abm9 for some reason traverses the regions of…”


The mandolin strums, thank you imaginary mandolin.


“…Fm…9th. The reason being…”


I think.

  1. HE had a keen interest in Jazz?

I think more.

  1. He played sax on occasion?
  2. He invented…


  1. “He invented Jazz.”


A little bit of an exaggeration but will give ‘Teach’ something to talk about.


*Brain pause*


Silence…then footsteps from outside. Coming closer. Dare I look?


Lets dare.


I look.


Fiona passes. Footsteps move on.


“I must be hearing and seeing things” was muttered by the drunk lady now by the window of my brother’s room.


Big room, small bed, got the old 32 inch TV. Always been a bit jealous of that.


I focus…no broken bottle in hand, obviously. Greasy, long, beautiful ponytail. Blonde, fair, highlighted?


No blood dripping from mouth, a lipstick nightmare explains my thoughts.

More staggering. Warm evening, pavement looking more comfy by the minute. My front door, the perfect bed for this slender drunk. A bit cheeky, she will have a shock when I open the door. Maybe she’ll want my bed. I can watch her sleep.


What’s the time?


01:36:28 AM


That also explains my strange thoughts. At least the work has completed itself. Huh? The full chord sequence and instructive write up, of course it modulates to D. When did I finish all that? Oh well.


Eyes shutting, they flutter, they shut, they shutter, they…shit.

Heavy head has hit desk.


Well, that woke me back up; I rub the sore spot. My hands are rough: eczema. Pick up something soft: A sock – it will do.


A few plucks on the imaginary mandolin etch away in my brain cells.


Thoughts of last Monday’s trip to that car boot sale over the road.


POP, goes something from downstairs, small cracks and plops proceed.


That brother of mine is washing up. Good boy, finally doing something of use, not just larking around being a pessimist. He’s only 14 for god’s sake. And he’s also awake at 1:36 in the morning.


Now 1:38. Crap.


“Bro, what on the earth are you doing? You were sent to bed hours ago!”


Come to think of it I should also be in the land of nod. What if the ‘rents find out he’s still awake at this time? My hearing heightens, waiting for the all-important excuse, he always comes up with something interesting. I began writing them down once, at the same time he began writing an ‘Intrusions into my personal space’ diary. Now he has plans to conglomerate them into his collection of stories aptly named ‘Thought Provoking Issues of a Troubled Child’, which he hopes in the future would turn into a best-seller and get my parents and I jailed for abuse. In matter of a fact, he’s just a weird child. My parents brought me up well. I am interesting, innovative, scared, handsome (so says my Nan), inventive, horny, courageous, musical, under the table, terrified. STOP?!


Why am I under the table? Why did those words pop in to that sentence?

My brother has failed to answer…has he become a zombie too? I jump from the table, hit my head, rub it with a sock, peek out the window, there lies the unbuttoned one. I jive to my bedroom door, ear to the door, cue mandolin…PRING!! Brother not answering, he’s fine, gone back to bed, must have. I jiggle my arse left and right, backing up to the repositioned chair. *SLUMP*, *WHEEZE*…*CHING*. I throw the pen back into the glass…it settles.


I breathe out; I breathe in slowl…gasp! I cough. The pen has not settled.

Another tremor?


Mandolin, struck, F#m(maj)7, heavily? What? My hair flicks. Mandolin now on bed. Flute dropped into bin. High G soars like tinnitus from its metallic, cold, breathless body. I peek, Fiona’s hair flicks,


dead eyes,


holy shit! Swipe curtains. Open again. Stare each other out.


She shoots me with her bloodshot glance.


I pretend to die and fall back onto the bed. I hurt. My mandolin getting me back for my bad playing? Did she shoot me? On further inspection the uncut, new strings sliced a little gash in my side. “FUCK”. I jump up. She turns. We look. She needs help.


“What’s going on up there? Why is your house shaking?” She notices her over exposed chest and preoccupies herself by buttoning-up.


Orange mist… ORANGE MIST…wow, I’m getting tired.


My eyes deceive me.





There goes a contact lens.


The mist is still there? A FIRE!? No.

The groan begins…my flute, it sings and my mandolin dances on the floor.

Deeper and darker the sound negotiates my heart-string-tightrope.


From under the door the thick orange mist travels. It clings to the wall like a bat to its abode. On the floor it decides to travel green.


I move towards the door, now my wardrobe trembles.


Growing deeper, louder than darkness now.



I weaken.

I cannot speak. Violent shaking walls.


A trophy falls and injures my leg, I kneel to the floor as if being knighted. My brother screams, breaking plates, horrific crackle, and the bubbling viscous sound returns in full expansion.


Tremors stop…




Instantaneously the world contracts to a singularity.


Reality warps.






Deathly wind thrusts my door open.

Rage swoops me off my feet.


Every object in my room lifts from the floor and my body’s time jolts into defence mode.


The world warps around me.


I’m out of time but I begin to realise my situation. I’m horizontal now. My desk, as if it were paper, blows into me. The crack of my spine and twisted lower half knocks me off course.


The glass on my desk is thrown at me with such force that it smashes on my right shoulder.


Breaking.             Falling.             Flying.


Just as I crash through the window and my neck snaps on the frame, I catch a glimpse of Fiona in a similar situation.


Her skirt has blown up over her face…


Nice arse…



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