A hole in the night appeared.
Aha, a new topic, Thanks Ann!
A hole in the night appeared
Ellie loved her adventure play time as she walked, and sometimes crawled, about the pine trees and the junipers which surrounded her home. The fruity scent of the junipers tickled her nose as she breathed in their fragrance. The pines reached skyward like a battalion of raised umbrellas shielding her from the light of the sun during the day, and at night, from the moon, the stars and the planets. Except for that one light that seemed to follow her, wherever she went.
Her father often tried to explain the difference between stars and planets, and the composition of the cosmos as well. Ellie would look to this star and that planet as her father told her their name and their formations. She recalled the whimsical poem of her childhood, “Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight…” and remembered the other children who gathered together on a summer’s evening, laying on a blanket in the yard, eyes straining skyward to be the one to spot the twinkle of the evening’s first visible star. She didn’t remember the first time she saw the point of light that no one else could see.
Daddy, what is that large star, the one right over the top of the chimney?”
“Why, Ellie, there is no star there.”
“Yes Daddy, it’s right there, it’s big.”
“Oh Ellie, you’re just making things up, you silly girl. Trying to trick your father again? Now run inside and get ready for bed, you have school tomorrow.”
Ellie shook her head side to side, “Why won’t anyone believe me,” she asked herself.
After taking her bath, dressing in her paisley footed pajamas, and brushing her teeth, six-year old Ellie crawled under the covers of her bed. Her Chihuahua, Sammie, snuggled with her under the covers. Ellie glanced out the window.
Ellie almost cried out. The point of light was glowing outside her window. Now it was the size of a flashlight, but it cast no beam. It simply hovered as if it were looking at her, calling her, calling with a voice of silence. Ellie rolled off her bed and crawled to her closet. Sammie followed her and found his way to her lap. She quietly pulled the door closed. Ellie felt the total darkness of her closet comfort her fear. A quiver ran the length of her young body as she tried to forget the intrusive light. Ellie grabbed a pullover shirt hanging above her, wrapped it around her head and eyes. As she curled her body in tight of a ball as she tried to fall asleep, she could still see that light.
The next night Ellie timidly got into her bed with Sammie and pulled the covers around her, her pillow over her head. Don’t look at the window she told herself. But she could feel it watching her.
No matter how she tried not to look, she felt compelled to take just a peek. “Ohhh” she cried out to herself, it was there, looking at her again. This time it was the size of her basketball.
Ellie was frightened, she wanted to run to her father’s room and tell him about the light. She wished her mother was still alive, “She’d believe me, she would see it” she told herself. She wished her older sister JoAnn was still alive as well, she certainly would see it. Her sister had perished in the waters of the White River along with her mother.
It was though Ellie heard the light calling her name. Or so she thought. Ellie slipped out from beneath the covers, walked through her doorway, down the hall and to the front door. Sammie followed at her heels. Ellie’s footed pajamas were silent as they brushed over the carpeted floor. Her small hands trembled as she twisted the dead bolt and turned the doorknob. She pulled the door open just a couple of inches and looked out.
The light was there, hovering over the center of the walkway to her porch. Now it was the size of a tire on her father’s car. Swallowing her fear, Ellie opened the door and stepped out into the night. A chorus of crickets chirped their welcome to her. Overhead the nearly full moon lighted the ground as she walked toward her light. She glanced up at the moon and the tricky light leaped up and covered the moon, it was nearly three times its size.
Ellie looked toward the grove of pines and began to run to her hiding place beneath the huge juniper where she played fairies and elves. Sammy scampered after her. A few pine needles stuck in the fleece fabric around the ankles of her pajama legs. She ran to the opening of the trees, jumped over the fallen tree trunk, and scurried like a bunny through the opening of the juniper to her spot. Her eyes were wet with her fear, she rubbed them with the palms of her hands, the light continued to grow in size.
As if from the light she heard a voice call to her, “Ellie, darling Ellie?”
She recognized the voice she had not heard in over a year. “Momma, Momma, is that you?’ Her tears renewed their flow.
“Yes Ellie, it’s Momma, and Joann is here too.”
“Hi Ellie” a second voice softly cried, “I’m here with Momma.”
Ellie looked toward the voices, the light had grown to the size of her daddy’s car. But it did not shine a light or cast shadows around her. It was just a white spot, a hole in the darkness, and it continued to grow.
“We’ve come for you Ellie,” her mother called out, “JoAnn and I miss you so much, and now you can come with us.”
“Come with us Ellie,” her sister pleaded, “Lets go play together, forever. I am so sorry I had to leave you.”
As the white hole continued to grow, Ellie crawled out from her sanctuary and tried to run toward the voices. The low hanging boughs of the pines scraped across her face, and she stumbled over small bushes she could not clearly see.
When Ellie could no longer see anything in her peripheral vision, and when her mind could no longer tolerate what it could not understand, everything went black. Ellie sank to the bed of pine needles covering the ground, her eyes now a blank stare, her last breath taken. Sammie licked the fallen tears from Ellie’s face and curled up next to her.
Sammie’s barking that morning drew Ellie’s father to her fallen form. He cradled Ellie in his arms and carried her to their house and laid her in her bed. He dialed nine-one-one.
At Ellie’s funeral, as he looked at his child’s beautiful face in the small coffin, he remembered the nights they spent looking at the stars. He lamented not believing Ellie and her story about the star he couldn’t see. Perhaps if he had only believed her, he could have found out about the tumor in Ellie’s brain that made her see what no one else could. “If only your momma and your sister could be here with you,” he whispered as he kissed her cheek one final time.
Interesting story, Jeff. Very sad but captivating.
Cranberrylodge- Thank you, captivating is a good word to hear!
You write well, Jeff, but beware of the “deux ex machina” of things like brain tumors that easily explain what was an intriguing mystery. Lousy deal for the dad too! Nobody wins here.
Hi Ann, well I wrote like a madman for an hour, started with a glimmer of an idea, turned the internal editor to warp speed, and ploughed on. I agree the ending was a cop out, and I didn’t get around to establishing a relationship with the father. The ending with him finding her was abrupt and cold. But I ran out of time and steam. It was a fun but intense writing project.
Wow how sad to loose so many of the loved ones. So Sad a story.
You really took me for a ride here. I really liked fearing light instead of dark angle you took but the end is too sad. Good job with the surprise ending.
Wanda was ticked off. Life just was NOT fair. She’d gone to college and studied hard. She’d married a fine man and had the requisite two kids. She worked hard both in the home and outside it, bringing home a good paycheck and keeping the house running smoothly. The kids had gone on to good colleges, and there was even money saved for their tuition.
But now things were falling apart. Her mom was dying of lung cancer. Her father was not only drinking too much, but it was finally clear from his ranting that he had Alzheimer’s Disease. Her one sister was getting divorced. Her husband had decided that he was gay after all, but wanted to “keep the family together.” Who knew what that meant?
Alone in the dark of her family room after work, Wanda stretched out on the sofa in front of the TV, her computer in her lap, fantasizing her way through World of Warcraft while she watched a rerun of The Philadelphia Story that she had Tivo’d from the week before. Her smart phone tinged, sending her a funny text message from a friend in Thailand she’d known since college. “Wish you were here.” Wanda minimized WoW and Googled the weather in Thailand. 70 degrees. Clicked on Google images of Thailand: oooooo.
Dang. She’d missed her favorite part of the movie. She used her remote to flip back a few scenes so she could hear Katherine Hepburn say, “I’m one unholy mess of a girl,” in that great East Coast Brahmin accent. Wanda sighed.
“What is the airfare from Denver to Thailand?” Wanda asked her phone.
“$1300 and up round trip, depending on the airline and date of departure,” said Siri, in her Smart Phone voice.
Wanda rested her head against the arm of the sofa, the computer hot on her lap. She considered all her gadgets. She could communicate with someone on the other side of the world. She could rewind a rerun that had aired a week earlier. She could ask her phone for answers or Google them on her computer. She could go off to fantasy lands. How come she couldn’t rewind her life?
Wanda took the sugarless gum out of her mouth and wrapped it in an empty candy wrapper. She tapped the “clock” option on her phone. It showed the local time, a picture of the world, and gave the title, “World Clock.” Licking her lips, she pressed the face of the phone into the middle of her laptop screen. With her other hand, she hit the “Esc” button on her keyboard. Suddenly a hole in the night appeared where the TV screen had been. Her eye on that hole, Wanda reached over and clicked the “Back” button.
And off she went.
Bob could stand it no longer. The announcer on TV had burrowed into that part of him that was vulnerable.
He stood up from his chair, walked around the coffee table a couple times, and sat on the edge of couch. He wouldn’t look directly at his wife, but he knew she was watching him.
“What’s the matter, Bob?” she asked. She stood and approached him. “Is something wrong?”
Is something wrong, thought Bob. That’s an understatement. There are wild animals in the front yard, his crew is waiting outside for him, and that blasted announcer confirmed exactly what he had suspected all along.
“Bob? Come back and watch TV with me,” she said.
He stood and confronted her. “I want to know exactly how much money we have.”
“Sure,” she said. “Let’s go to the office and I’ll show you.” He followed her to the computer room.
She laid out their books, showed him their check book and savings account passbook. She explained the latest statements from their broker and CD account.
“Is that okay, Bob? Anything thing else you want to know?” He didn’t know whether to believe her or not. She had a funny tone in her voice. Out on the front deck a moose was trying to break through the big picture window with its antlers. His crew was yelling for him. The room was starting to spin around.
“I just want to know how much money the people on TV are making you spend!” The words flew from his mouth and whirled around the room, but his mind didn’t follow them. His arm jerked backward ferociously of its own accord and his knees buckled.
“What happened then?” asked the doctor.
“I saw him close down. I led him to the bedroom, undressed him, gave him his evening meds, and put him to bed. I didn’t know what else to do. He’d seemed so normal for a brief time and then he was gone again.”
“They’re called windows,” said the doctor. “They open and they close, just like real windows. Their duration can be momentary or sometimes last for hours, even days. That’s the heart-breaking thing about Alzheimer’s, particularly for the caregiver.”
“I think I’ve been making a terrible mistake,” she said. “All these years, I looked at the windows as where he really was in the progression of this disease, that the hallucinations and delusions were the anomaly. Now I understand that the hallucinations are the norm and the windows are the anomaly. That’s why I feel like I’m always behind and can never catch up, why each new low point knocks me for a loop.”
She left the neurologist’s office and sat in her car for a long time, dreading what was ahead. Finally she noticed the time and knew she had to head for home. Her allotted eight hours of weekly respite care would be up soon and she had to relieve the respite worker.
Thoughts of what awaited her sat on her shoulders like cement as she drove. She felt gravity pull at her soul, her heart, her very being. Then she thought about what she’d told the doctor, about the mistake she’d being making all along in caring for her husband. It explained everything, she thought.
She realized she had found a hole in the nightmare of Alzheimer’s care. This time, though, she’d found a tiny light in that black hole.
What a heartbreaker, Gullie. Yet it’s not all emotion; it’s reflection, ideas, and a look forward too. A small light in the darkness. I guess that’s what we’re all hoping for. You’ve told it well. Thank you.
I have the coolest idea for a story based on this line. It might take me a little while, but it’ll be worth it in the end! 🙂 I can’t wait to share it with you and the others.
We’ll be here!
Hole In The Night.
They erroneously refer to it as a “Sleep Study” test. Why erroneously…because during the test, sleep is last thing achieved. This is the test given to people suffering from sleep disorders such as apnea.
The test is conducted in a controlled environment. In my case, the location was our local hospital. As instructed, I checked into the facility at 7:00 pm and taken up to the 3rd floor Sleep Study Lab. My technician, Jennifer gave me a pile of forms to complete and said she would return in a few minutes to “Get me ready.”
One of the forms contained 30 questions about my normal sleep habits and my frame of mind after a full night of sleep. The problem with these questions is that I rarely, if ever, get a full night of sleep…hence the reason I am taking a Sleep Study Test. The questions were…
Do you feel sleepy while listening to a lack-luster sermon in a hot chapel two hours after you have had a big breakfast?
Do you have trouble staying awake while doing a mind-numbing task at work?
Do you get sleepy riding in the back seat of a chauffeur driven up-scale car, on an Autumn evening, snuggled in your favorite sweater, with your loving puppy sleeping on your lap and classical music playing softly in the background while on a trip across Kansas?
WELL SHOOT…..EVEN HEALTHY SLEEPERS WOULD FALL ASLEEP UNDER THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES!!!
Jennifer, returned as promised and began to glue 32 electrodes all over my head. She also rigged me up with a 12 lead EKG set of wires and a microphone taped to my right cheek (face cheek that is). She then told me I could watch TV or read until I was ready to go to bed and sleep.
At home, I sleep with my beloved puppy Zoey at my side, the TV on the History Channel or C-Span, five puffy pillows and my favorite fluffy Blue Blanky…non of which was allowed during the study. The possibility of sleep that night was as likely as Donald Trump needing an Assertiveness Training Course.
At 11:00 pm, I informed Jennifer that I might as well try to go to bed. She came in, held all the wires in place as I slid beneath the sheets and placed a mask over my mouth and nose for the CPAP machine. If you’ve never seen this contraption, it is the human equivalent of an elephant’s trunk. Jenny informed me that she and two other technicians would be monitoring me all night through the wiring, the microphone and three cameras. Then she turned out the lights and wished me a good night.
At that moment, I wished, with all my might, that a hole in the night would appear and that I could magically fly through it back to my humble little home and my precious Zoey.
Once again you have found a way to make something very clinical sound funny! I loved the picture of the elephant’s trunk.
May all your wishes come true, Peanut.
It was a dark and holey night.
So he decided to self-publish his dopey novel as an e-book for Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00991SMHY.
And according to the fine print that he couldn’t be bothered reading properly, it could be downloaded free between September 22 and 26 if you had some kind of special Amazon membership.
Hmm, he thought. Self-publishing – what kind of sexual activity would that be the literary equivalent of?
Well, it’s now on my Kindle. I’m looking forward to acerbic wit. Better be worth it after I spent a small, and I do mean SMALL, fortune on it. What’s your share? 15 cents?
I’ll read it while passaging Drake Passage and being confined to my stateroom.
Not only very little money in it, Gully, but it seems I’ll have to wait for a zillion sales before there’s enough to warrant Amazon sending me a check because they don’t have any arrangement for e-banking to Australia. In any case, it’s not about the money – I just figured after writing it and not finding a publisher, someone should read it other than just me and the feminist d’une certain rage. Hope it doesn’t let you down.
Loved the cover! Pure Fig. Congrats on taking this meaningful step forward. Thanks for sharing the site! This is a good spot to share your work.
Not to take any fanfare from FigMince, but I recently was published, too. In a real book. Just a short piece in an anthology, but still, a publishing credit is a publishing credit.
And Fig, I read the first few lines. I might not be able to wait until Drake Passage before I read it.
A hole in the night appeared. Enlightenment splashed through grey-black clouds, a ray of light. Connected paper hearts floated down through the ray, and she placed the strand of hearts around her neck. Reminiscence and paper hearts became the map she used to travel back in time and touch again that which she loved.
I’d like to go back in time too, so I’ll keep my eye out for that hole in the night. Thanks PT
A hole in the night appeared,
and I sat and wondered why.
Staring through the hole at the floor below,
I believe I nearly cried
Gone are the faithful;
gone are the true.
Gone are the friends,
that carried me through.
A hole in the night appeared,
and I sat there and moaned.
A hole in the night appeared,
in the best pair of socks I ever owned.
For a seccond I thought you’d turned over a gooey new leaf, Waldo! Nope. Always enjoy the ride.
It began as a gentle breath. Barely perceptible, warm, and annoying. The pressure intensified. Light taps on my back. I smile to myself. Allen is going to have to do a lot more if he wants to wake me up. I can sleep through pretty much anything and he knows it.
Tap. Tap. Tap. Annoyed, I pull up the blanket to protect myself from this stubborn husband of mine. But the tapping continued. I open my eyes. The room is empty and I am covered. What is happening to my back? The tapping intensifies and my skin is on fire. Then, all at once, the burning stops. I breath a sigh of relief, maybe now I can—
Moving. Something is moving in my back. My breath quickens. I want to scream, but there’s no air. I want to move, but my body is paralyzed. Hot liquid is dripping from my back. Am I bleeding? There’s a hole in my back. I am bleeding. I will my hands to move, but nothing happens, so I continue to lie there, waiting.
And then I feel it. The wound is moving. I feel a slow languid movement. Something solid and slimy is crawling out. I will my hand to move, and it finally obeys. My fingers trace the slime, and then I feel it. A worm. There’s a worm on my back. I scream for what feels like eternity.
My eyes fly open. I am sweating and my chest is heaving. The pain is gone and so is the blood. My fingers brush my back. It’s blessedly whole. I breath deeply, willing my frantic heart to calm down. A dream. It was only a dream.
Hole in the Sky for Ween.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Ween sat on the back steps watching the night sky. To his wonderment a hole opened and a light appeared calling him home. He had been sick for a while and the pain was just starting to get bad. Mr. B had taken care of him lovingly for many years.
But Ween felt he wanted to stay and watch over Mr. B and Miss M. So he asked if he could stay in a sprit form and watch over them. They both had loved him so much. Now it was time for him to protect them in anyway he could.
New Orleans had a few spirits wondering around what would one more be. Well He got permission to watch over them. So He stayed.
He found a nice spot in the yard and curled up and went to sleep.
The next day he watched Mr. B walk around the house looking sad. Ween knew he was missed. If there was only a way he could let Mr. B know he was here watching him.
” I’ll do what I always did, mess up his art work. That may remind him of me. Mr. B might think of the good times we had”.
I wish I could leave ghostly paw prints but that is one thing I can’t do.
Just messing up the tiles may be enough. He would remember me walking over the mosaics he had started.
“I always felt a few pieces would be better off where I put them. But Mr. B didn’t.”
He had his own idea of where they should go. Not that I minded, he is the artist anyway.
Well I’ll be here to look after Mr. B and Miss M for a while. I hope they feel protected.
” I’ll curl up in the window like always and sleep for a while.
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by Ann Linquist
Available in paperback or on Kindle