There’s nothing more alarming than walking down the street minding ones own business only to find oneself caught in the middle of a hole-storm. I huddled in the doorway of a dingy looking greengrocer and shivered as millions of tiny holes hurtled earthward, making little popping noises as they winked out of existence on the grimy pavement.
To add insult to injury, peering through a particularly slow-moving hole revealed that it opened out into a rather pleasant looking meadow, furnished with long, waving, grass and glowing with yellow sunlight.
As I waited for the shower to pass, I drifted into my usual daydream – of building a machine – a Machiavellian arrangement of gears and magnets – to collect the holes together before they popped in order to make a gateway to somewhere – anywhere – better than this.
It was during a particularly pleasant part of this daydream – the part with the girl – that I noticed that one of the tiny holes hadn’t popped. It simply sat there, on the pavement, looking at me.
“Oho!” I thought, hardly daring to hope. Another hole fell beside the first and the two coalesced into one slightly larger hole.
“OHO!” I cried. More and more holes fell, bouncing and skipping onto the pavement instead of popping. Little silvery rivers flowing inwards, seemingly drawn towards what was rapidly become a swirling whirlpool to somewhere else.
I peeked my head as far forward as I dared – trust me, you really don’t want a hole in the back of your head – and gazed into the swirling eye. The view beyond the coruscating wheel of liquid glass was idyllic to say the least – the sun setting in a brazen sky sending lances of orange fire across rolling hills covered in the greenest grass I’d ever seen. Multi-coloured birds fluttered and swooped and their muted cries drifted up to me as though from the memory of a beautiful dream.
The deluge was slowing when the outermost surface of the spiral began to foam and effervesce.
“Oh bugger!” I cried, realising with horror that – if I delayed – the portal would be gone forever. I tensed, ready to spring into a new life in another world, when the dingy door behind me flew open and a grizzled looking old chap in a dusty floral print dress appeared behind me.
“Away we ye, ye stupid bloody things!” he bellowed, and sloshed a bucketful of dirty water and potato peelings across the pavement. The portal fizzed and spat violently then vanished, the energy of its passing casting peelings and grime skyward.
I gazed blankly at the stinking heap of peelings with a heavy heart, and imagined their slimy counterparts descending from the clear sky and soiling the meadow in that other place.
“What have you done?” I whispered.
The old man hiked up his tights. “Stupid bloody holes. Leave sticky bits all over the path. Shouldn’t be allowed.”