John pulled out a new box of white papers from the shelf and placed a bunch into the copy machine. The tray was already half full but those sheets didn’t have that nice company logo John liked. He pressed the green button and the machine got to work, spitting out one paper at the time, stacking them neatly on the other side.
“They’ve got you doing copies again?” His coworker and cubicle neighbor Mark said as he entered the undersized room.
John stared down at the copy machine; 79 copies to go. “I think I have a black hole in my basement,” he said without turning away from the copy machine.
Behind him, Mark had begun rattling around some heavy boxes on the floor. “I know exactly what you mean. The way things just disappear. Like, the other day I bought a new drill, a really big one, but my wife doesn’t like it, too heavy or something. So I went down in the basement to look for the old one but I couldn’t find it. Maybe it was angry at me for buying a new one or something. Anyhow it’s gone, just like that. So now I’m stuck with putting up the shelves myself.”
“No I mean I have a black hole in my basement.”
“You mean like a mouse hole?” Mark stepped away from the boxes.
“No, a black hole, you know like a collapsing star but this one is way smaller, like a micro black hole. It’s been there I while. What do you think I should do?”
“For a while? Have you called a scientist, the space center, NASA, someone?”
“I can’t do that. How am I supposed to live there with scientist hanging around my house? It’s not like they can take it with them.”
“Well,” Mark said and pondered for a while. “I know, let’s drop something in it. Like a note.”
“Now that’s just stupid,” John said and glanced over at the copy machine; 21 copies left.
“No, I really think we should do it.”
“But it’s not like we could get one back. I mean, it only goes one way.”
“Just write your address down.”
“Why? Do you really think they’ll find this place? How about sending them some kind of information, about this planet and stuff?” The copy machine turned quiet and John grabbed on to the stack of papers and headed back to his cubicle.
“Isn’t that like betraying your country?” Mark said and followed. From inside his own space he leaned over the grey wall, “so I guess your place tonight, seven o’clock, I’ll bring the beer.”
John looked up at him. “Well sure why not. You know the address?”
“Of course, Palm Street right?”
“Right,” John said surprised over the fact that Mark knew where he lived, but then again, that kind of information was accessible to anyone.
That evening, with a beer bottle in his hand, John opened the basement door and Mark followed him downstairs with great eager. “So it’s true, all evil hides in the basement.”
“It’s only a hole,” John said and hit the switch and the fluorescent ceiling light began to flicker until fully lit.
“Wow that’s tiny,” Mark said as he saw the smallest of black holes suspended mid air in the inner corner. The spherical dimmed illumination spiraled inward, encircling the centre where a one-way surface was displayed; a perfect blackbody, the presence of the invisible interior only revealed through the dust particles that were pulled towards it.
“All your stuff is still here?” Mark said as he observed the interior of the basement. On the shelves tin cans, bicycle parts, boxes and Christmas decorations were neatly tucked away. Not even the slightest of draught was noticeable. “I thought black holes sucked everything in?”
“What do you expect, it’s a small hole,” John said and took a sip from the beer, “all it does is clean this place up.”
“That’s nice,” Mark said as he turned away and looked around. The basement was quite big with an old sofa in the back corner. Mark walked over to it, sat down, sipped the last remains of his beer and placed the bottle on the concrete floor. “So how can you sleep at night with that thing down here?”
John sat down next to Mark. “It’s okay, as long as I shut the door,” he said and reached for a shelf next to him, tearing of a piece of paper from a stack of wrapping material and reached it to Mark. “So what do you suggest we write on this thing?”
Mark ignored the paper; his stare was aimed towards the black hole in front of them. “Kind of creepy, what if something were to come out while you’re sleeping?”
“Like what?” John said. He hadn’t thought about that. “Besides, it’s too small for a monster,” he continued and chuckled but ceased, though he was afraid it would make him seem nervous.
“Who says monsters have to be big. What about nasty alien bugs?”
“I think we’re getting of the subject,” John said and looked around for a pencil.
“You’re right.” Mark pulled out a pen from his pocket and held the note against the arm of the couch. “So what do you want me to write?”
John scratched the back of his head, trying to think of something clever. “Well, how about hello?”
“Hello? That’s all you can come up with. We’re about to make the first contact with another dimension, an alien civilization, and all you have to say is hello?”
“Just for starters, why do you have something better?” John got up on his feet and while sipping the beer he observed the black hole.
“Okay, let’s start with hello,” Mark said and scribbled down the words.
The rest was easier and when done, they stared down at the note while Mark began to read it out loud.
This is Mark Green and John Douglas, we live on Palmer Street, Orlando in the United States of America, at the galaxy Milky Way…
“But you don’t live here?” John cut in.
“They don’t know that. Anyhow, it doesn’t matter this is where the black hole is.”
“But what if they think you and I – you know?”
Mark looked up at him. “What are you talking about? They’re aliens, they don’t know squat. Now let me read.”
…We found a black hole in the basement, and we think…
“We didn’t find it, I did,” John interrupted once again.
“Do you mind?” Mark said and continued.
…we think it might be a wormhole between our world and yours. We wish you no harm…
John hawked, and Mark gave him a look.
…and we would very much like to hear from you.
“This is stupid.” John put down his beer bottle next to the sofa and grabbed the note.
“Hey, you wanna call the scientist or should I?” Mark said and pulled the note from his hand, folded it and walked up to the black infinity that gasped at him, silently waiting in the corner. Carefully Mark reached out his hand, note between the tip of his fingers, closer and closer; he could almost feel the thin paper flitter in his hand.
“Are you sure we should do this?” John said and grabbed hold of Mark’s arm, keeping it only a few inches from the opening.
“Don’t you want to know what’s on the other side?”
“I’m not sure anymore.”
“Well you can’t just leave it like this. I think you are just as eager as I am, otherwise you never would have told me about it.”
“I just have this feeling that we better not. Maybe we should just forget about it.”
Then the force of the black hole took hold of the note, pulling it out of Mark’s hand and gently towards the opening, taking an infinite time to reach it. Then with a whisper it vanished.
The next day Mark sat at his desk, waiting for John to come to work and let him know how the night had proceeded. But John never came and when the clock turned ten and his desk was still empty, Mark picked up his phone and dialed. He could hear someone pick up. “Are you there John? It’s me, Mark.”
“Could you come over?” John said from the other side of the line with a discrete voice.
“Why, did something happen, are you okay?”
The line went dead and Mark didn’t want to waste any time with announcing his departure to anyone, so he left in haste.
As he went up the stairs leading to Johns front door he observed the exterior before he rang the bell, but there was nothing out of the ordinary except the closed curtains that concealed the interior.
The doorbell rang and Mark could here footsteps but they went silent on the other side of the door. “It’s me Mark, open up.”
John peeked through the curtains and shortly the front door opened.
“Are you okay?” Mark said as he observed John hiding behind the door waving at him to enter and the door slammed shut behind him. “So what’s going on, does this have to do with your hole?” Mark peeked over at the open door leading to the basement where nothing but an eerie stillness could be noticed.
But as he’s on his way towards the door John stepped up in front of him. “Don’t go down there, it’s not safe.”
“Why? I just want to see.”
“Please don’t, we need to call someone.”
“What are you talking about?”
“It’s not safe,” John said and placed his hand on Marks shoulder.
“You didn’t just call me over here so we could give this up now, lets me see what’s going on.”
John let go of Mark and followed him down the dark stairs. But as Mark’s eyes was accustom to the dark he had a hard time believing what he now saw.
“It’s bigger,” he said astonished of the size the black hole had now reached, big as half the basement itself. All the junk on the shelves was gone, swallowed by the darkness. “When did this happen?”
“Told you we shouldn’t have dropped that note.”
“Oh that couldn’t possibly have caused this.”
“That do you suggest we do now?”
“You’re asking me? It’s your hole.”
All of a sudden the sofa began to drag along the hard floor being pulled towards the hole and vanished.
They decide to take a minute to figure things out and heads up to the kitchen where John makes a fresh pot of coffee.
Then suddenly a cracking sound appeared making John choke on his coffee. “What the hell was that?”
They got up on their feet and rushed over to the staircase. “The basement door, it took it, just like that.”
Then the floor under their feet roared as if nature had sent them a tornado in the very next room, making the floor panels bend.
“It’s going to eat this entire house,” John shouted and pushed Mark into the kitchen and grabbed on to the radiator by the window. Lamps, books, even the living room carpet along with the kitchen appliances began to swirl towards the hall and down the hole that now covered most of the floor, disappearing into the enormous black hole beneath.
“We need to get out of here,” John shouted.
“No not yet.”
“What do you mean, not yet?”
“Don’t you understand, it will only get bigger, it’s not going to satisfy with your house, it will swallow everything.” The sound of furniture being pulled and glass shattering from the kitchen cupboards was overwhelming. The entire house began to tremble violently as the force got stronger for each meal it got, almost pulling them up from the floor.
Desperately they grabbed on to the radiator, feet suspended in the air. “What do you expect me to do?” John said.
“The black hole is yours, it’s your basement, and you’re the one who has to regain control over it.”
“But I never had control.”
“Sure you did, you said you’d had that hole for some time and it’s always been small, right? So why now?”
A pair of books came flying, one hitting Mark in the head and he lost his grip. But just as he’s about to be pulled into the hall John grabbed on to his hand.
“It’s you,” John said, Mark’s safety in his own grip. “It’s always been you. It got bigger as soon as I told you about it.”
“You can’t make me forget you told me.”
“You’re right I can’t make me telling you go away, so you need to.”
“I need to what?”
“Are you crazy, I’m not leaving you here,” then Mark could feel John’s grip of his hand loosen. “What are you doing?”
“I’m sorry it’s my fault I never should have told you.”
“You don’t have to do this, we can make it all right, we can figure something out, just don’t let go.”
John stared into Mark’s pleading eyes. “You let them know that I never meant for any of this. You tell them that the secret is safe with me.”
John fastened his grip to the rail even harder while pulling away his fingers from Mark’s hand, making him slither out of his grip. And with his feet first he was sucked away and disappeared through the floor, engulfed by the hole.
Then John could feel the intense force and was no longer able to keep his grip and was sucked towards the hole himself but was able to cling to the beam sticking out from the edges of the hole in the floor.
And then there was silence. Flying objects was scattered on the floor of the hall and John laid face down, listening to the calmness the house now surrounded. Dripping water from broken pipes, even the wallpapers had been pulled of the walls.
John sat up and looked over at where the basement used to be. There in the corner, a circle of a thin tread of light illuminated the miniature black hole, back to its original size. Harmless.
John looked down at his hand; there all crumbled and wet was the note.
This is John Douglas, I live on Palmer Street, Orlando in the United States of America, at the galaxy Milky Way. I found a black hole in my basement and I think it might be a wormhole between my world and yours…
Written by Alex Backstrom
Year of Creation: 2010