The House on the Borderland HTML version

15. The Noise In The Night
"AND NOW, I come to the strangest of all the strange happenings that have befallen me
in this house of mysteries. It occurred quite lately--within the month; and I have little
doubt, but that, what I saw, was, in reality, the end of all things. However, to my story. "I
do not know how it is; but, up to the present, I have never been able to write these things
down, directly they happened. It is as though I have to wait a time, recovering my just
balance, and digesting--as it were--the things I have heard or seen. No doubt, this is as it
should be; for, by waiting, I see the incidents more truly, and write of them in a calmer
and more judicial frame of mind. This by the way.
"It is now the end of November. My story relates to what happened in the first week of
the month.
"It was night, about eleven o'clock. Pepper and I kept one another company in the study--
that great, old room of mine, where I read and work. I was reading, curiously enough, the
Bible. I have begun, in these later days, to take a growing interest in that great and
ancient book. Suddenly, a distinct tremor shook the house, and there came a faint and
distant, whirring buzz, that grew rapidly into a far, muffled screaming. It reminded me, in
a queer, gigantic way, of the noise that a clock makes, when the catch is released, and it is
allowed to run down. The sound appeared to come from some remote height--somewhere
up in the night. There was no repetition of the shock. I looked across at Pepper. He was
sleeping peacefully.
"Gradually, the whirring noise decreased, and there came a long silence.
"All at once, a glow lit up the end window, which protrudes far out from the side of the
house, so that, from it, one may look both East and West. I felt puzzled, and, after a
moment's hesitation, walked across the room, and pulled aside the blind. As I did so, I
saw the Sun rise, from behind the horizon. It rose with a steady, perceptible movement. I
could see it travel upwards. In a minute, it seemed, it had reached the tops of the trees,
through which I had watched it. Up, up--It was broad daylight now. Behind me, I was
conscious of a sharp, mosquito-like buzzing. I glanced round, and knew that it came from
the clock. Even as I looked, it marked off an hour. The minute-hand was moving round
the dial, faster than an ordinary second-hand. The hour-hand moved quickly from space
to space. I had a numb sense of astonishment. A moment later, so it seemed, the two
candles went out, almost together. I turned swiftly back to the window; for I had seen the
shadow of the window-frames, travelling along the floor towards me, as though a great
lamp had been carried up past the window.
"I saw now, that the sun had risen high into the heavens, and was still visibly moving. It
passed above the house, with an extraordinary sailing kind of motion. As the window
came into shadow, I saw another extraordinary thing. The fine-weather clouds were not
passing, easily, across the sky--they were scampering, as though a hundred-mile-an-hour
wind blew. As they passed, they changed their shapes a thousand times a minute, as