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The narrow passage twisted every so often, sometimes creating
a blind spot untouched by the gaslight. Several times he
crashed into the tunnel wall, tumbled to the hard-packed dirt
floor, and staggered back to his feet. Every time he got up
the monsters seemed just a little bit closer than they were
before. Their frenzied, hungry cries filled his ears and made
his stomach clench with fear. Soon, he supposed, he would
feel their hot breath on the back of his neck.
And then it would be too late.
He arrived at a place where the tunnel branched off in two
directions. He came to a sudden stop, risked a glance behind
him, and listened to the sound of his pursuers drawing still
closer. His gaze snapped back to the maddening intersection
and the unwanted complications it created. He experienced a
long moment of panicky ndecision that threatened to paralyze
him. He saw himself rooted to this spot until fangs pierced
his flesh and tore him apart.
The passage to his left glowed with a brighter light than that
cast by the lamps.
Somewhere down that length of tunnel, perhaps just around the
next bend, lurked lights powered by electricity. The notion
of electricity was alluring, with its hints ofthings sane, of
things created by men from the world of his former life. The
passage to the right was darker by far. He detected a faint
flicker of gaslight from that direction. So, he had a
choice-on the one hand, more of the same; on the other, a slim
possibility of deliverance from this land of madness.
He listened a moment longer to the heavy thud of dozens of
dreadful creatures careening down the tunnel behind him.
His once comfortable head start was dwindling by the
His only choice was forward motion.
He turned toward the light and started running again.
The tunnel continued in a straight line for a few moments, and
the light-its source still unseen-grew steadily brighter.
Eddie then reached another bend in the tunnel, the last he
would encounter. The hard-packed dirt of the tunnel floor
gave way to a short expanse of cracked tile bordered by
cinderblock walls. A bank of florescent lights hummed quietly
from the ceiling. An unlatched metal door at the center of
the wall directly opposite him beckoned like a street corner
whore in stiletto heels and a microskirt.
"What the hell ...?"
A goddamn open door. The fleeting thought that maybe he was
being herded rather than chased flashed through his mind like
a comet. The implications were dreadful, but there was no
time to contemplate this new layer of mystery. No time at
all. He would be monster dinner if he lingered any longer.
He bolted toward the door, crossed the expanse
of tile quicker than Carl Owens on crack, yanked the door
open, stepped through the opening, and slammed it shut. He
threw the latch home, turned a crank that secured it, and
stepped back to catch his breath and gather his wits.
Something large and powerful struck the other side of the
wall. Eddie flinched, but he thought he was safe for the
moment. Another creature struck the door and its hinges
groaned a bit. Eddie gulped. Maybe he wasn't so safe. He
remained certain the door would hold a little longer, but he
had to concede it would eventually yield to the furious
assault it was enduring. Which was cool, since he meant to be
long gone from here by then.
The idea of freedom bloomed in his brain like a spring
flower-it was intoxicating, the prospect of again being able
to breathe fresh air. To see the sun again. To go anywhere
his heart desired. To watch pay-per-view porn at his leisure.
Mostly, it would be nice to again live in a world uninhabited
by monsters and crazy people. Okay, there were crazy people
in the surface world, too, but that was a pedestrian kind of
crazy by comparison.
He would rather come face to face with Jeffrey Dahmer's long
lost, meaner brother than spend one more second in this
Speaking of that, wasn't it high time he got his ass in gear
The door hinges groaned a little louder.
He whirled around, staggered forward a foot or two, and came
to an abrupt halt.
"Oh my God ..." he breathed.
He was in a cramped, dimly lit room that appeared to be some
sort of security office or checkpoint. A large,
paper-cluttered metal desk occupied much of the room. Above
it a bank of black and white monitors flickered quietly.
Several seemed to show various empty tunnels. Or perhaps
these were just different portions of the same tunnel. The
tunnel-or tunnels-closely resembled the place he'd just left
behind. Funny, he hadn't noticed anything even remotely
resembling a camera. He supposed they'd been obscured in some
fashion, an easy enough proposition in all that darkness. The
top row of screens was devoted to several angles of a
deceptively normal-looking house. How innocuous it seemed.
How normal. How safe. Well, how else would the entrance to
hell ensnare its victims? Other monitors revealed places he'd
become all too familiar with over these last several months.
Looking at these scenes made him anxious to get on with his
flight from the howling terror behind him.
And he fully intended to do just that.
He needed another moment, however, to recover from the shock
of seeing the dead people. He wasn't too bothered by the
death aspect. Up close encounters with death occurred with
regularity down here. He'd become almost blase about death.
As a concept applied to other people, that is. The notion of
his own death did still disturb him.
Okay, it wigged him out. Still, he'd seen plenty of death
down here, so much so death as phenomenon had lost its ability
to shock him. Then again, maybe not, because there was
something about what he was seeing now that was more
disturbing than the things he'd seen before.
A nude fat man weighed down a swivel chair in front of the
desk. A nude woman straddled him. The fat man had a large
bald spot and a wedge of now-displaced combed-over hair. The
woman was thinner and not bad-looking. She looked as if she'd
been roughed up some time prior to her union with the fat
security guard, and she bore the mark of a slave girl on her
neck. Her head hung limply over the fat man's shoulder and
her glassy eyes stared at nothing at all. They'd been run
through with an ornate sword-its bloody tip pierced the back
of the swivel chair.
He tried to imagine a human being strong enough to put that
thing through two people-one of whom had been very large-and
the back of a chair. His mind couldn't comprehend such a
thing. But the solution to the puzzle was obvious-a human
being hadn't done it.
Nor had one of those monsters out there.
Who probably lacked the ability to effectively wield swords
and didn't really need them, anyway.
No, this could only have been done by the owner of the house.
The thing that feigned the appearance of an ordinary man. A
mortal man. A creature worse by far than the fearsome things
that had hounded him through the tunnels.
The monster to end all monsters.
Eddie's internal terror barometer shot past the red zone. The
only thing he wanted to deal with less than the tunnel
creatures was that ... thing. He cast his gaze about the rest
of the room, which was otherwise nondescript. There was a
single tall filing cabinet, beside it an overflowing waste
basket. A doorway revealed a tiny room with a dirty toilet.
There was another door next to the bank of monitors. It stood
slightly open, letting in a sliver of yellow light.
The closed metal door behind him rattled louder than ever.
He could hear the scrape of tortured hinges pulling slowly
free of concrete moorings.
Still, he didn't move.
He stared at the sliver of light, his body quaking like that
of a man in the grip of a small seizure. He was moments away
from being eaten alive. But it was possible an even worse
fate awaited him through that open door.
He heard the heaviest thud yet from the tunnel.
The door came loose from the wall and fell heavily to the
floor beneath the weight of the surging creatures. There was
no more time to think. No more time to weigh one fate against
another. Eddie moved. And slid for a microsecond on the pool
of blood that surrounded the chair. But he righted himself
immediately, slipped through the open door, and pulled it
Setting aside decades of ingrained agnosticism, he muttered a
prayer and entered the devil's home.
Excerpted from House of Blood
by Bryan Smith
Copyright © 2004 by Bryan Smith .
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted June 28, 2013
the author is good but sometimes he is just get over board with the sex, with the swearing, i mean torture...way over board on that...this had it all...the writing was ok not the greatest...boxes at each sentence when someone spoke...you could not tell when some talked...this is another reason i stopped reading it..
i do not mind sex in books or even torture but this one went too overboard...but if its ur cup of tea then enjoy
Posted December 25, 2006
This is the first book I read by this Author, I wasn't sure if I was reading an 'adult' book if you get my drift or a horror. and once I finally got into some of the horror it was just poorly written, hard to follow and very hard to visualize what he was writing aboutWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 22, 2005
Later, the ones left alive would agree they never should have turned off that dark stretch of Tennessee interstate. They were tired and tense, two guys and three girls arguing over a vacation gone bad. But things were about to get worse for the five young friends. Much, much worse. In fact, most of them would never see the highway again. The woods were dark and forbidding, filled with unseen dangers and inhuman sounds. The light in the distance promised sanctuary from the grasping terrors. Instead, the light lured the travelers to the very heart of evil, a house at the endtrance of Hell, a house that held only torture, depravity and - for the lucky ones -death. When the front door closes, the screaming begins! This book was a lot different than I thought it would be. I thought it was creative. I liked some of the magic and supernatural stuff. If this were to happen in real life, I bet this authors description of Below would be true, every person for themselves, do what you have to do to survive.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 28, 2005
I really enjoyed House of Blood. I got a whole lot more than I expected from it. It was truly a pleasure to read. The story starts off fast and never lets up. I loved the pace of this book. I found myself flying through it, and I was sad to see it end. I was really wrapped in the story. I thought that the characters were very well developed, and I didn't find any of them wooden or stale. I found myself falling in love with some, and loathing others. I think the character development was one of the strongest aspects of this story. The part I think I loved most though was the story itself. It is a whole lot deeper than I expected to be. I realized about a hundred pages in that I was going to be getting a whole lot more than I bargained for. It is very original. I think the cover was very deceiving on this one. I highly recommend House of Blood to anyone who loves a good Horror Novel with a twist. I think if you give it a try you will like it as much as me. Five StarsWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 7, 2005
Posted February 6, 2005
Posted December 12, 2004
It took me about a week to read this book, and it was pretty good. Full of suprises, horror, and violence, Bryan Smith keeps your attention all the way through. This book stays at a steady pace and doesn't bore you. A good horror book!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 27, 2004
You won't read a better horror novel this year! After reading House of Blood I was blown away that this was a first novel--it sure didn't read like a debut, but it IS a debut by horror author Bryan Smith. If Stephen King fans are a little dissapointed with his writing lately--then look no further: House of Blood maybe the book that you need to read then. Bryan Smith reminds me of an younger King in his prime. I think Smith will bring back an edge that the horror genre has been missing as of late. Read House of Blood for yourself and feel the magic of a new novelist in the horror genre.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 17, 2008
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