We’re having a heat wave

It’s been in the 100 out here in Southern California.  And despite having lived in hotter areas, I’m miserable.  I was trying to write the next part of The Hole in the Wall, and realize it wasn’t making much sense.

So it’s about 9:30 and still 90 degrees.  I’ve been waiting an hour for whoever has been in the shower, just so I can pee.  My cats are sprawled out on the floor giving me pitiful eyes.  And I need to be asleep in 30 minutes or I’ll be exhausted when I have to wake up at 5 am.

I’m calling this bad timing, and I’ll come back with the next episode.

P.S. The featured image is because I feel like I’m melting, not angry.

thinking, ponder, ponderous, Archemides

The Hole in the Wall 11

The power went out leaving them all in the darkness.

“What the hell is happening?”  The man nearly shouted.  “What are you doing?”

“It’s not me,” April said.  “It’s Brutus…  It’s complicated, but I think he wants to kill you.  We have to get out of here.”

“No one is moving,” the man snapped.  “Don’t move, I’m calling the police.”

“Okay fine,” April said.  “Grab your cellphone and let’s go outside.”

“Cellphone?”  The man asked confused.  He and April stared at each other for a moment.

And in the silence came a faint noise.

“Wait, shhh,” the woman said.  Her ears perked and focused on a sound she found familiar.

Straining, they all began to hear it.  “What’s your name?  …  Polly…  I live here.”

“Oh god, the children,” the woman said.  She ran past April and straight for the children’s bedroom door.  No matter how hard she gripped or pulled, the door wouldn’t budge.  “Polly.  Jaime.  Open the door.  Please sweetie, open the door.”

April and the man joined her at the door, but the man hit it full force with his shoulder.  It still didn’t open.  He hit it again, with no effect.

“Open the door now,” the man shouted.

“Brutus,” April pleaded, “please stop.”

“I’m calling the police,” the man said and ran back into the living room.

The woman was sobbing uncontrollably, still trying the doorknob to no avail.

“Brutus, Brutus, please talk to me,” April said.  “You need to stop.”

And then the door popped open.  The two woman stood stock still, their breath stuck in their lungs.  Suddenly the desperation to get into the room turned to dread.  The woman pushed gently at the door and it opened further.

“Polly.  Jaime,” she called out.

April found herself and opened the door completely.  The room was empty.  She didn’t have to check to know it as fact, but the woman did anyway.

“Polly.  Jaime,” she called as she looked under the bed.  “Polly.  Jaime,” she slid open the closet.  “Harold,” she shouted.  “Harold, the children are gone.  Harold.”

The woman had begun frantically tearing the room apart while shouting for her husband.  April backed out of the room and peered down the hall, but it was useless in the dark.  And with his wife shrieking his name, it was pointless to call after him.  And their shouldn’t have been any reason to speculate why he wasn’t responding.  What had happened to him?  What had Brutus done to him?  What had Brutus done with the children?

There on the floor of the living room was something wet, reflecting the moonlight.  April stepped gently around it, willing her mind to not recognize it for what it really was.  It was pooled around the end table and then spread across the floor.  April followed the trail as it led to the wall.  The wall she and Brutus had come from.  She stood there staring at it, wondering if Brutus was the only one who could open it.  April put her hand on the wall, hoping something would happen.

The electricity snapped on.

“Harold,” the woman screamed from the behind April.

In the light, April could see that the blood was spread over the wall and her hand was resting in it.  The woman came charging across the room grabbing April by the throat.

“You killed him,” she shouted and spat in her face.  “You killed him.”

They slipped on the slick blood, falling to the ground.  April’s head bounced on the hard floor spinning her head to the verge of unconsciousness.  The woman put both hands around her neck, squeezing harder.

thinking, ponder, ponderous, Archemides

The Hole in the Wall 10

“Hello,” a man called out from the hallway.  His voice was hushed and shaky.  “You should know, I have a gun.”

April looked down at Brutus, who smiled and giggled to himself.  There was a closet adjacent to the hall, and he pulled her toward it.  Instead of using the knob, Brutus pushed and the door rotated open.

April paused at the sound of the man’s voice.  “Go now, and nothing will happen.”

“Please, we have children,” a woman’s voice added.

Brutus yanked April forward and she emerged into the kitchen through the pantry door.  Again, she was struck by the fact that it was her house, but the things were different.  The refrigerator was white instead of brushed steel; the floor linoleum, the center island missing and her beautiful oven gone.

“Hello?”  The man called out again.

Brutus snickered as the lights came on in the living room.

“I don’t see anyone,” the man said.

“But we heard them,” the woman replied.

Crawling to the nearby cabinet, Brutus pushed it open.  “Come on, come on,” he urged April on.

Not wanting to be found, April crouched down and got herself through the small opening.  This time she entered the bathroom, from under the sink.  Flipping around to sit on the hard floor, April ignored the impossibility of what was happening and let the actuality sink in.  Brutus came crawling out from behind her, possibly like something he’s done before, or has always done.  Was he in this house when she lived her?  Watching?  Doing who knows what?

“Should we call the police?”  The woman’s voice came faintly from the living room.

“Do you like your house?”  Brutus asked quietly.

“I liked my house,” April answered.  “This is someone else’s house now.  We should go.”

“This will be your house now,” Brutus said.  “I got it for you.  For us.  We live here now.”

“No, they live here now,” April said sternly.

“No,” Brutus whined like a petulant child.  From behind him he revealed a knife that he must have taken from the kitchen.

“What are you doing?”  April asked knowing the answer but hoping she was wrong.

Brutus opened his mouth and no words came out.  The buzz from inside his throat pierced the air as he bared his jagged teeth.  Swiftly he spun around, back below the sink, closing the door behind him.  April picked herself up off the floor, her heart hammering in her chest.  She peeked out into the hallway and saw the couple still standing in the living room.

“Don’t shoot,” she said in the calmest voice she could muster.  Whatever the two were talking about, they stopped immediately.  “Don’t shoot,” April said again, this time putting her hands out.  Cautiously she stepped out of the bathroom.  The man was pointing a gun at her, yet she willed herself forward, hoping they’d see she wasn’t a threat.  When she reached the end of the hall, and came out into the light, she saw that the hole in the wall was gone.  It would make explaining things that much harder.  “We have to get out of the house,” April told them.  “There’s someone else here, someone bad.”

The woman instinctively tried to go to her children, but the man stopped her with one hand.

“She’s crazy, baby,” the man said.  “Be careful.”

Just then there was a noise from the kitchen.  The couple spun, suddenly startled, and then looked back at April.

“Brutus is coming,” April whispered.

The Hole in the Wall 9

Brutus guided the boat toward a cave that looked small from a distance, but grew to be large enough to fit a cruise ship.  The water broke and slapped at the cave walls making it impossible to hear anything else.  But April wanted most of all to know where she was.  It had begun to dawn on her that she wasn’t thinking clearly.  She had almost forgotten the door, that her husband had fallen through and she had gone after him.  Waking up in that field had seemed so normal, even Brutus and this island of ice felt perfectly normal.

As they reached the back of the cave, the water began to settle and quiet.

“Is this where you live?”  April asked.

“Yup,” Brutus replied.  He was distracted as he brought the boat alongside a wooden dock.  The small boy leapt out and onto the wooden planks to tie off the boat.  “Come on, I want you to see something.”

“It’s too cold here, Brutus,” April said.  “I can’t…”

“I know, that’s why we need to go,” Brutus explained.

April climbed out of the boat, but everything she touched was covered in a layer of ice, freezing her skin and speeding up the cold creeping into her chest.  Once again Brutus led the way.  First into a narrow cavern and then up a set of icy stairs.  April noticed that the walls of ice produced their own light, glowing magically.

The stairs were steep, and April’s legs were beginning to burn, but it was at least keeping it warm.

“How much further?”  April asked.

“Sorry,” Brutus apologized quickly.  “I’m not done building it.  But when I am, it’ll be better.  I’m gonna have secret passages and maybe an elevator that shoots you all the way to the top really fast.”

“Sounds fun,” April said politely, not knowing if he actually meant it or imagined it.  “But for now, how far?”

“All the way to the top,” Brutus said.  “You can see everything from up there.”

The top was another hour away, or at least that’s what it felt to April.  Brutus pushed open a metal hatch letting in a stream of blinding light.  He stepped out, followed by April, onto a massive plateau.  But Brutus was right, it was an amazing view.  It look out over the dense fog that encircled the island.  April could make out the beach where they had set off, and if she squinted, even the field where she had first woken.

Brutus took her hand in his and guided April to the other side of what was an enormous glacier.  The view here was of mostly water.  The ocean went out as far as the eye could see.  It danced like fire as the sun shone down on it.  Directly below them was some sort of lake, cut off from the ocean by more ice.

“There,” Brutus pointed.  “Do you see?”

He was point into the air and so at first April thought to look for some bird or cloud.  When she saw nothing, April’s eyes refocused and spotted what he was trying to show her.

“We’re not going on that are we?”  April asked about the rope bridge.  It went out from the edge of the ice into what looked like, to April, nothing.

“We have to,” Brutus said.  “Please, please.  If you don’t I’ll…”  He didn’t finish the sentence, instead the buzzing in his throat grew louder.  The veins in his face and arms throbbed.

“Okay, okay,” April agreed in the hopes of stopping a tantrum.

Brutus opened his mouth in a disturbing smile.  He ran off toward the bridge, and April tried to keep pace.  When they arrived, April thought that it didn’t look to bad.  It was newly constructed and as she hit it with her foot, it hardly swayed.  Brutus didn’t give her much more time than that before he darted along the wood and rope.  April took a slower approach.

Every few yards or so, Brutus would stop to urge her forward, until they came closer to the end.  There was a door there, floating in mid-air.  Brutus waited with his hand on the door knob, looking like he was going to pee his pants.  And almost before she was at the end, he flung the door open and dragged her through.

They came out into cave that was too narrow to walk abreast, so that they had to scoot through sideways.  The cave came to an abrupt stop and April stepped out into a living room.  She looked back to see that she’d come from a large crack in the wall.  In the house most of the lights were off, except one or two that provide just enough light to see by.

Directly across from them was the front door, to their left a sliding glass door.  There was a hallway that would lead to the three bedrooms and a bathroom.  The kitchen was at the front of the house, along with the dining room.

“This is my house,” April said.

“I know, I got it for you,” Brutus replied.

It was definitely April’s house, but, “This isn’t my furniture.”

From the hallway came a noise.  A light flicked on and the silhouette of two people was cast across the wall.

The Hole in the Wall 8

“Brutus?  Brutus,”  April stammered to keep from over reacting.

The small boy watched her.  He was wearing shorts and a T-shirt like any other child might.  But Brutus didn’t blink, his dark black eyes were motionless, and somewhere from deep in his throat he made a buzzing sound.

Something swished through the grass startling them both.

“We have to go,” Brutus said, “before Jacob finds us.”

“Who’s Jacob?”  April asked.

Brutus grabbed her by the hand and started to tug.  “Please,” he begged.  “Jacob is bad.  We have to go.”

Thinking it best to argue later, April let Brutus lead the way.  He seemed to know exactly where he was heading, though they couldn’t see past the grass.  The two of them emerged onto a  beach with the sun high over head.  Brutus let go of April and ran across the sand.  He reached a large piece of driftwood, that turned out to be a boat.  The boy had incredible strength, flipping  the entire thing over and dragging it into the water.

“Eg, eg,” Brutus grunted and pointed to the paddles still laying on the beach.

April obliged, grabbing the paddles and tossing them into the boat.  She tried to help push the boat further along, but a wave lifted it along with her.  Rather than fall into the water, April threw herself into the boat, head over heels.  When she regained her orientation, lying on her back, Brutus sat over her watching.

“We’ll be safe when we get to my fort,” Brutus said.  “Jacob isn’t allowed inside or else.”

“Why is Jacob so bad?”  April asked.

“He just is,” Brutus replied.  “Trust me.  If he knew you were here, he’d take you away.”

“Away to where?”  April asked.  “Somewhere bad?”

“Don’t worry,” Brutus said.  “We’re almost there.”

Brutus had been rowing this entire time, and now April noticed they were going at a disturbingly fast pace.  Ahead of them, the approached a thick fog.  The little boat whisked into the mist.  The temperature dropped and April started to shiver.  Then suddenly a massive wall of ice appeared in front of them.  It stretched in all directions beyond the eye could see.