Blow Your House Down

a Modern by Bill_Ingersoll

Commended by mizal on 8/16/2020 2:00:18 PM

Player Rating6.55/8

"#121 overall, #4 for 2020"
based on 62 ratings since 08/11/2020
played 1,232 times (finished 77)

Story Difficulty3/8

"trek through the forest"

Play Length7/8

"It keeps going and going"

Maturity Level6/8

"I'll need to see some identification"
Some material may be inappropriate for persons under age 16. If this were a movie, it would probably between PG-13 and R.

Blow TitleYou are alone in your remote cabin, located on a dead-end road in the Adirondack Mountains. A powerful hurricane has switched directions and is now bearing down on your wilderness retreat, bringing with it strong winds and heavy rains. Your shelter is old and completely off the grid; the nearest cell signal is many miles away.

Sitting by the woodstove while the wind howls and rain pelts the tin roof, you are startled by the sound of someone knocking at the door. Who could possibly be out at this location, in these conditions? It is a young couple, claiming their car has broken down. They have been drawn to the light in your window like moths to a flame.

Naturally you are inclined to offer hospitality. But it soon becomes apparent that your new guests may not be who they seem.

Important Stats:

  • Entry in the Break! contest
  • 24 endings spread out across 85 total pages
  • Individual storypath lengths range from 7 to 15 pages


"Sometimes things happen that have no explanation, Al. What do you make of that?"

© 2020 Bill Ingersoll

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Player Comments

Spoilers ahead! I really enjoyed this story. I really appreciate the extremely well-polished feel of the story with impeccable grammar and writing; it definitely reads like a final draft. I love how your writing descriptions enhance the mood, e.g., "the saw feels feral in your hands", "twin moons punching through the trees like parallel searchlights", and my favorite "Christ, everything is out of joint tonight, with both man and nature deviating from their lanes." There are some great lines throughout this work. (I loved the philosophical musings about the honey trap, and its function as a hint.)

Some things that did not groove for me about this story are the following. On page (29) or (27), Al mentions something about not allowing "these two murderous lunatics to run free." However, in this thread it seems to me that although Al has suspicions that both the Gordy and Charlei are not what they appear, he so far only has evidence that Gordy is a murderous lunatic; thus, the above remark seems an out-of-place carry-over from other threads.

Second, I don't find Al's niceness believable in all of the threads; maybe it is just me but there were times where I was ready to run Gordy over in the truck, but instead Al let Gordy climb into the passenger seat. To me, it seemed that there were times in the story where the niceness of Al and the survival response of Al showed up in the story in a somewhat contradictory manner. Related, in the thread where Al throws the kerosene lantern at Gordy, afterwards the ensuing conversation between Al, Charlei, and Gordy reads too calmly for what has just taken place. Why is Al not running out of there?!

Third, stemming from two of the main branches is the thread where Charlei and Al "escape" to the trailer, Charlei tries to "seduce" Al, and Gordy walks in. I appreciate the different dialogue going into both of these, but I was a bit bored by the repetitive plot line. Though I recognize this may be a fault of the reader reading too many threads rather than the writer.

Lastly, I was initially annoyed by the lack of conclusion when Charlei and Gordy escape (in the thread where Al gets rescued by the park ranger); how did they make their way past the fallen trees? And, why in the world did Charlei jump in the river after her hubby to join him bobbing down the Honndega? More satisfaction came with "sometimes things happen that have no explanation, Al. What do you make of that?" My personal theory is that they are two devils conjured up from the storm intent on tormenting Al.

Thanks for writing making your story available; it was an enjoyable read!
-- zombi_killer on 2/16/2021 12:23:00 AM with a score of 6
I got the ending waiting things out in the school bus. I don't know if the main character will even survive unless he can get back to the cabin on his own, and it might be a long time till anyone finds him. It's such a good way to do an ambiguous ending that stick with you that I almost feel like going back to find a win will be a letdown.
-- Starbourne on 11/27/2020 10:16:51 AM with a score of 14
Tremendous. Despite Bill arriving to the site with several galaxy-sized SciFi stories, I'm really enjoying his modern stuff. This and Woban Island are by far my favorites.

Knowing a little about Bill, his expertise and personal taste shows through stories such as this. The setting, a place that he obviously knows a great deal about. The style, weaved with Pearl Jam lyrics, beer drinking, and disapproving looks at the youth -- one of Bill's favorite pastimes...kidding. The seamless way that these relatable and recognizable details are placed in the story is incredible. So immersive. The conversation flows naturally, and you get a sense of the upcoming doom (whether from the strangers or Bob), your survival instinct getting its workout for the day. All in all, great story and great contribution to the site, not that that's surprising in the least.
-- ninjapitka on 8/22/2020 11:24:47 AM with a score of 14

I made sure to play Pearl Jam's "Do the Evolution" when the Gordy started singing it. I got to say I was shocked at how much like the more alternative rock style grunge bands it sounded like. I never would have thought Pearl Jam would ever have a Nirvana-y sounding tune. Lots of near screaming.

The story has a believable background, and you'd be forgiven for thinking the protagonist was Clint Eastwood yelling about getting off his lawn. But the protagonist gets a lesson in judging someone based upon their generation or appearance: every time the character makes assumptions about any number of superficial identifiers, he ends up dead.

My personal preference would be a setting with Western United States mountains, because they're just bigger and better, but this particular setting had a lot of character and was very believable.

But the best part of all is the murderous intent of the strangers. It's an interesting scenario where I found myself exploring several branches to see how things ended. I'll have to read it again, because I think my initial choices limited me. I kept ending up dead, but at least in the most recent play through, my survival was up in the air, and Gordy definitely died.

Anyway, this is well written and interesting. I didn't find any grievous, distracting errors, and the execution of the story is good enough to make you want to read through a few different endings.

Definitely recommended.
-- Fluxion on 8/18/2020 5:54:39 AM with a score of 14
That'll do, boomer. That'll do.
-- SpartacustheGreat on 8/11/2020 7:46:35 PM with a score of 19
I liked all the different paths in both the ending where you spend the night and when you jumped the truck, and I would like to see a few different sequels based on a few of the good endings where you either could or will be rescued; it would be interesting to see how Heather would fit in to these. I also liked all the different head games which seem against you but also the fake tention between the couple. However, it didn't make sence why Gordan could use the gun but Al couldn't, andI would like to know where Gordan had gotten back from that had caused him stress in the path where Al was jumping the car and Al followed the girl and they were talking. I would also like to know if there was any truth to this. It would have been nice to have at least one epilog where the reader could learn the history of the couple, their thoughts, and their weird logic. Overall, a pretty good game.
-- Future1 on 8/11/2020 5:09:52 PM with a score of 23
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