The void above

February 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

She only notices it when she is lying in bed, rubbing her feet against the hot water bottle to warm them up. She’s rolled over towards the door and there it is – a dark shape in the white of the space above her.

In all the years she’s lain here, whether alone or with company, that hatch has always been closed. She’s known it was there, alright, but it was just a rectangle marked out from the rest of the paneled-and-papered ceiling by a pale frame.

All those times when her brother came round and said ‘what’s up there?’, their mutual desire to overturn every secret rooted for him far more in the physical, she’d always fobbed him off, said she didn’t have a ladder long enough to reach, when really they both knew that a chair, tiptoes, outstretched arms would be all it would take.

But now it is open and there is nobody else here to slide it back into place. Without her glasses, the edges are blurred; she cannot see the dark mute horrors that she imagines must populate the space beneath the rafters, though she half expects a sudden movement out of the corner of her eye – a spider seizing an opportunity to make its move, perhaps.

The workmen must have moved it earlier. She tells herself that it is fine and that she’ll just have to mention it in the morning, that this hole above her bed won’t do. In the mean time she must somehow try to sleep. She rolls over and away from the hole, as if by turning her back on it she can forget about the freshly unsealed dark space above.


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