The world around you slows, as if time itself holds in its breath, and the shadows around you deepen, almost becoming solid things, angular and vicious. The unnatural silence is broken only by the steady cracks and pops of the hearth fire. You more feel than hear a tumultuous crash and the door to the manor shudders, small splinters forming near the handles and hinges. You blink once and struggle to control your quickening breath. The timber-splitting impact resounds around you once again, every nerve quickening, preparing your flight from the room, for whatever thing lies in wait upon the other side of the suddenly too-thin oaken door must be neither earthly nor wholesome.
Your palms are slick with sweat; your head is throbbing, blood pressing against the backs of your eyes. You feel it threatening to escape, but you dare not blink or turn your gaze from the heavy door. The tingling skin of your fingertips barely rests upon the handle before