Please help ID this short horror story
September 8, 2019 4:59 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to find a short story collection I read in the last 10 years, mostly horror I think, one story in particular sticks in my memory.

This was kind of a twist on the traditional haunted house story in that, if I remember right, it was more about haunted house as doorway to somewhere else, where people would go in and vanish, drawn in by some kind of compulsion. There was also the idea of more than one doorway, like at one point another house was a doorway to the same place (or maybe the doorway moved). It's told from the perspective of one of a group of friends and their mutual concern about another friend in danger. Possible this was epistolary, I feel like at least part of it might have been correspondence between one of the group and the family of the endangered friend. There was also some creepiness derived from the concept that this wasn't any kind of grand Gothic edifice, just an anonymous tract house in an anonymous suburb.

I read this around the same time as Stephen King's Just After Sunset, and it's possible I'm conflating it somewhat with a story in that collection. In particular a story called N. has some of the same elements -- cosmic horror and a character's growing obsession with a place, told at one or two removes in epistolary format. The story I'm looking for feels a lot like King, but I've been through his short fiction bibliography and couldn't find a match.

Any ideas? Feel free to share other recommendations for modern takes on haunted houses or cosmic horror as well, just trying to put this particular one to rest so I can stop thinking about it. Thanks.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape to Writing & Language (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
House of Leaves?
posted by hollyholly at 5:40 PM on September 8, 2019

(not a short story collection but otherwise it fits)
posted by hollyholly at 5:41 PM on September 8, 2019

Probably not the story you're looking for, but in King's "The Breathing Method" from Different Seasons, The Club is described similarly:

"... and when the wind rose in another wild whoop, I felt momentarily sure that the front door would blow open, revealing not 35th Street but an insane Clark Ashton Smith landscape where the bitter shapes of twisted trees stoos silhouetted on a sterile horizon below which double suns were setting in a gruesome red glare. [...] I opened my mouth. And the question that came out was: 'Are there many more rooms upstairs?' 'Oh, yes, sir,' he said, his eyes never leaving mine. 'A great many. A man could become lost. In fact, men have become lost. Sometimes it seems to me that they go on for miles. Rooms and corridors.' 'And entrances and exits?' His eyebrows went up slightly. 'Oh yes. Entrances and exits.'" "

General consensus is that The Club is a level of the Dark Tower.

So it's likely something from the Kingverse but I'm not sure what neighborhood.
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 5:49 PM on September 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

In Stephen King's Dark Tower series, The Drawing Of The Three definitely has moving doors, which open on modern-day NYC (1980s, 1970s, and 1960s) to bring Eddie and Susannah into Gilead.

The comic series Locke and Key also has young friends going through moving doors.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 6:07 PM on September 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

This sounds like Dionea House though as far as I know it was only ever a web series / early creepypasta.
posted by nakedmolerats at 7:32 PM on September 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

It is not David Mitchell's Slade House but you might like it.
posted by babelfish at 7:41 PM on September 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

China Miéville’s “Reports of Certain Events in London” feels very similar to what you describe, but it’s streets rather than houses that eat people. It’s in the collection “Looking for Jake”.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 10:29 PM on September 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Hey thanks for the ideas everybody. nakemolerats has it I think, just read through the Dionea House stuff and it seems a lot like what I was remembering (accounting for a little conflation with other stuff I was reading at the time). Shame it never made it through movie development hell, that could have been interesting. Apart from whatever it is that lives in the houses (or that the houses actually are), there's something really eerie about the idea of exactly the same house in multiple places, especially an otherwise anonymous house you wouldn't think twice about. That seems like an idea worth exploring further.

Re other suggestions: hollyholly I have read and enjoyed House of Leaves, creepy and fascinating, wish there was more stuff like it. Thanks for the heads up on "The Breathing Method" esmerelda_jenkins, I remember the inner story but had forgotten about the framing about the Club. Read and enjoyed the Dark Tower books but have not read Locke and Key, looks interesting, thanks. Just recently (finally) finished Perdido Street Station and could definitely go for some more China Miéville, so I'll look for that collection. And babelfish, thanks, big fan of David Mitchell but that one is still unread on my Kindle, I'll move it up the list.

Marking solved but if anyone else has more stuff to recommend along these lines, please feel free to add it, cheers.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 11:07 PM on September 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you’re open to television, check out the No-End House season of Channel Zero.
posted by ejs at 5:29 AM on September 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

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