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The Party in Room Four was the fourth story in The Panda Book of Horror anthology. It was written by Simon Guerrier.


After a restless night, Frank comes downstairs in the inn he's staying at, and Gavin, the owner of the inn, makes him breakfast. In the lounge, Frank thinks back to when he was a kid, when his friend Andy Lang had bought fake IDs so that they could drink at the inn.

Gavin gives Frank his breakfast, and Frank tells him that he was kept up all night by the party in room four, but Gavin says there weren't any guests staying in that room.

Frank leaves the inn, going on a walk over the hill, where he's ambushed by reporters, and he walks past them, ignoring them. He receives a phone call from his friend Jane, but he's distracted when he sees a double decker bus in a meadow, with what appears to be a marquee and tents erected around the bus. He sees a elderly lady dancing around, and he shouts at her, but she and the other people don't hear him and keep dancing. He walks towards them, but when he reaches the meadow they all disappear. He contemplates calling Jane, and he decides against the notion. He walks off, and then it starts raining, but this doesn't deter Frank - to the contrary - it refreshes him.

On the way back to the inn, Frank avoids the crater where the village once stood, and when he's approached by the journalists, he tells them to leave the remaining villagers alone, so that that he and them can deal with it in their own ways.

Back at the inn, Father McGrath introduces himself to Frank, and Frank barely acknowledges McGrath, and Frank heads into the lounge for a steak and ale pie. He overhears a posh sounding man talking to Gavin out of eyeshot, who's called Panda. Frank looks to his side, shocked to see Gavin standing there. He asks Gavin about the posh man, but Gavin says he doesn't know what Frank is talking about.

That night, he looks yearningly at a framed photograph of his deceased family. Hours later, he awakes to the sound of Iris laughing, and he hears thst in the room next to him, there's another party. He leaves his room, and just as he's about to enter room four he hears a droning voice, which makes Frank hate him. He hears his daughter's voice, and he opens the door to the room, but it's empty. Tears in his eyes, he heads back to bed.

Early the next morning, the remaining villagers walk solemnly around the miles wide crater to the mass funeral held at the remains of the church, and Frank weeps.

At the inn, Frank tells Gavin he's going to temporarily live with Jane, and he tells Gavin that he could make a fortune with the inn when the tourists come, but Gavin tells Frank that he's going to sell the inn.

Around midnight, he heads off to his room, drunk. He knew he drank so much to take the edge off his pain, and he props his ear against the wall to hear the party next door. He listens to his family for a while, before falling asleep.

He dreams about about how Iris and Panda had bought a bottle of bubble mixture, and how they had blown bubbles around the village. A sort of storm brews above the village, and Iris exclaimed that she wouldn't "let this sod win!".

The next morning, Frank has breakfast in the lounge, and on the television, there's a news channel in the background. He watches an woman in a crowd reporting on the tragedy that destroyed his village, when a man with a nasal voice, the man he had hated for not joining in on the parties he had heard in room four, tells the the crowd to leave the remaining villagers alone.

He realises that that man is him.


(In flashbacks only)



  • Iris Wildthyme and Panda have little input in the story, being little more than extended cameos.