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A Knock at the Door



Estimated reading time — < 1 minute

On the 25th of November, 1941, my Great Uncle was killed when the HMS Barham blew up like a powder keg after being torpedoed by a German Submarine. The event was captured on film and is an horrific sight, as the men serving on the ship scrambled for their lives on the capsized hull, before the main magazine caught fire and exploded. When word got back to my gran, she was heartbroken having lost her dear brother.

Sifting through the memories of their love, she sat not long after, reading the letters my Great Uncle Frank had sent her while on the ship. As she wept inconsolably, she just could not let go of the pain. Surrounded by the letters like tombstones, anguished reminders of what had been lost, suddenly someone knocked at the front door. Yet there was no-one there, just an empty street at night. When my gran returned to the room where she had been crying for hours, something strange had happened – all the letters were gone, save for one, which my father now possesses.

I don’t know how true the story is, for grief can make illusions of the world, but I have read the letter, many times in fact. There is something curious about it, because it was signed twice by my Great Uncle. The second signature is undoubtedly his handwriting, and reads: “Don’t cry, sis. Always with you. – December 12th, 1941”, the same night someone came knocking at the door.

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22 thoughts on “A Knock at the Door”

  1. Every time I come across one of Michael Whitehouse’s pastas, I notice a very old-fashioned quality to the writing. Most of the time it lends a Lovecraftian feel to the story, but here it gives off the impression of being something from “The Big Book of Victorian Ghost Stories.” Kind of bland.

    Still, if you’re looking into pastas for the first time around here, definitely check out more by this author.

  2. Grammatical rules change and there are many, many grey areas. If you don’t know that then I’m afraid it is you who is ignorant. I’ve deliberately placed a grammatical ambiguity in that last sentence to highlight this. Language is fluid, it changes with time. Meaning is everything, form is not.

  3. Either you don’t edit your writing (likely) or you don’t have a mastery of English grammar (more likely). Casual writing is shameful.

  4. Grammatical error, you don’t say “the HMS” you say “HMS”. It stands for Her/his Majesty’s Ship. so “The Her Majesty’s Ship Barham” doesn’t work.

    1. Hey :) Thanks for pointing that out, however, it’s a bit of a grey area. Abbreviations are tricky, for example you would say “I’m having a magnetic resonance imaging scan”, but you wouldn’t say “I’m having a MRI scan”, it would be “an”. There’s a lot of debate about how abbreviations should be handled, I tend to go with “the” in front of HMS, because that is how it is often said where I come from and in the literature. You’ll find numerous examples with “the” included and omitted. Once you have an abbreviation the HMS becomes part of the name. That’s why “the” can be argued to be correct. I stress “can”, because grammatical experts have different opinions on this issue. It’s a tricky one. Technically, it’s both right and wrong. A kind of grammatical Twilight Zone :p But again, thanks for keeping me on my toes :)

  5. This is a nice story. However, it’s fully built on clichés and is generally unoriginal. On top of that, it’s not all that scary. I’m torn between giving a 6 and a 7 because of this.

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