There’s a vacuum under my bed.
I’m not talking about a Hoover or a Bissell either. No. This is a black hole, a swirling vortex, the kind of vacuum that sucks things into it.
Nothing ever comes back out.
It’s not a big hole – maybe the size of a softball – but it can stretch when it’s got something it really wants. Something like Fifi.
Stupid ugly dog.
He was playing fetch with her in the hallway. My bedroom sits at the end of the hall, my bed right there at the end of a perfect straight line. Brian tossed the ball. Fifi chased it. I gave it an extra tap as it sailed past me, Fifi in close pursuit. The ball rolled under the bed and whoosh, it was gone. Fifi followed.
She didn’t go so quickly.
Her head went in first. I guess she didn’t have the smarts or the instinct to avoid a slurping black hole in the floor. She jammed her head in after the ball and her body started twitching. The hole made a sound like a groan. It wasn’t Fifi that made the sound - that much I know. It groaned. It pulled. It sucked. It churned. And then it stretched like a tight rubber band expanding to swallow her in.
I didn’t expect the ball to roll under the bed like that. Not really. And Fifi? Well, geez, who would have expected that? Maybe I could have stopped her. I didn’t.
Brian tried to grab her by her back feet but I stopped him. If it could pull Fifi in, then it might be able to expand and pull him in. I might be able to explain Fifi’s disappearance, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to explain Brian’s vanishing act to my parents.
Brian thinks the hole is cool. He's a boy. He likes all kinds of crap that's weird.
It was easy to convince him not to tell.
Mom and Dad weren’t home from work yet, so we had time to come up with a believable story. It didn’t take much of an effort. We agreed to say Fifi had slipped out the open door. Brian even volunteered to be the scapegoat if they asked who left the door open. It was his fault she was gone after all.
I felt bad about the dog. Honestly. Well, mostly. Stupid yappy little thing. But at least I didn’t have to worry about her peeing all over stuff I left on the floor anymore. And done is done. She was gone. There was no getting her back.
I don’t think Brian felt bad at all. He seemed almost relieved. But then again, he was the one that had to walk her every day and I know he got teased about it. The boys in the neighborhood call him names. A fat boy walking a pink poodle is easy to tease. If they called me names like that, I would have probably made Fifi disappear any way I could.
Without her around, he does’t have to do the daily walks and pooper scooping. He can hang out on his bedroom computer and concentrate on playing Halo.
I suppose you’re wondering why we don’t tell our parents about the vacuum. That’s easy. Adults don’t believe in things like monsters and magic and black holes under beds. They’d just think we were making stuff up. Even if they looked, I don’t think they’d see it. Adults are blind like that.
Now you’re wondering how can I be sure that adults can’t see the vacuums. I’d argue that it’s not like it’s the only vacuum I’ve ever seen. They’re everywhere, especially in places that attract large crowds – schools, grocery stores, malls. Most aren’t much bigger than the hole under my bed. They suck in receipts, barrettes, earrings, keys, candies – stupid things people lose every day. No one misses that stuff. And if you don’t notice the lost stuff, you aren’t going to notice the holes eating the lost stuff.
Oblivious. That’s what most people are.
Some vortexes are big enough to swallow a car.
I think the Bermuda Triangle might be one of them.
I learned about that in school. Scientists think its electromagnetic fields or gigantic gas pockets. I’m betting it’s a huge vacuum. For that reason alone, when I’m an adult, I’ll never fly or sail near that area. A vortex that can suck up a squadron of planes is not something to mess around with.
My black hole has sucked up everything from shoes to toys, from tennis balls to homework, from spiders to Fifi. It even sucked up the china doll my great-aunt Mabel gave me. She was an antique – the doll, not Aunt Mabel – made of porcelain, with sleepy eyes and an open mouth. She had real human hair, too, and a pretty black dress.
I stuffed her in the hole because she wouldn’t stop staring at me. Doll’s eyes are creepy, especially the really old dolls. And her mouth? It was one of those special dolls where there was actually a hole into the doll’s head. A spider crawled out of it once. Yuck. Aunt Mabel thought she was pretty. I just thought she was evil.
I think it’s growing – my vacuum. After it ate Fifi, it shrunk right back down to size and didn’t eat anything for a week. I guess Fifi must have been filling. I can’t imagine why, though. She was mostly all that puffy hair with skinny bones and not much meat. Maybe black holes aren’t too picky.
Once it started eating again, I fed it things. I like feeding it things. I like the sounds it makes as it crushes things; the way things get sucked down in as if they're being tugged.
It’ s... interesting.
And it eats everything I give it – old sneakers, cooked spinach smuggled from my dinner plate, the ugly dress my mom bought me for Easter. I hated that dress. It was all ruffly and itchy, with big pink flowers on the skirt and something called crinoline. I called it torture.
Brian gives it bugs, dirt and other boy stuff. He tried to feed it mom’s leftover meatloaf, but the vortex didn’t touch it. The stuff just kind of swirled over the top and didn’t go down. I don’t blame it. Neither one of us wanted to eat that stupid meatloaf either. Its always too greasy and sometimes it has hard lumps in it. I’d rather eat Fifi.
Sometimes it makes sounds - soft moans and whispers. Like maybe something is on the other side trying to find a way out. When that happens, I talk to it. I tell it secrets. It eats those, too. Like how I saw Myles, the next door neighbor and some girl doing it in his bedroom. Or how I stole Lucy Jordan’s favorite Barbie the time she stayed over. Of course, it probably knew about that anyway because I fed that dumb Barbie to it, too. I’m not stupid. If I’d been caught with it, I would have been in big trouble. I didn’t want it anyway. I just didn’t want her to have it anymore.
Tonight, it’s making loud sucking noises. I think something is happening with it. But my lights are off and there’s no way I’m going to go turn on the light so that I can look. Something about it sounds dangerous. Hungry. Starving maybe.
I’ve already tossed my pillow under there. And my comforter. I won’t miss them. The comforter was pink and mint green flowers and ponies on it, and the pillow was just lumpy. I don’t know how I’m going to explain those disappearances to my mom, but I’ll come up with something. I can’t say the dog ate it. We don’t have a dog anymore.
Maybe its clogged or something. If I had a flashlight, I could check. The comforter was pretty bulky. But I don’t have my flashlight anymore. The vacuum ate it last night. It likes flashlights a lot. It’s eaten every single one in the house. Dad keeps replacing them, and he’s pretty mad about it. He doesn’t blame me, though. He thinks Brian is swiping them and losing them in the woods.
Brian’s grounded right now because of it.
He threatened to tell mom and dad about the vacuum because he’s tired of getting in trouble for things disappearing. I would’t mind getting in trouble for all of our missing stuff because I didn’t like most of it and I’m just glad it’s gone. Even Fifi. Smelly dog.
Brian’s been kind of a jerk lately anyway. He’s fourteen. He thinks he knows everything. For instance, he thinks the vacuum under the bed goes to Hell. Like the devil would put a vortex in my bedroom. I mean, come on. What would Hell need with a bunch of paper clips?
I wonder whether Brian’s sleeping. He went to bed right after dinner as part of being grounded. No TV for him. No computer either. That sucks. Me, I’d watched American Idol and wished I could stuff some of those singers in the vortex. I don’t know why some of them think they can sing. Bet no one would miss them.
I wonder how long it would take the hole to get hungry after eating a person. I mean, if it was full for a week after Fifi, would someone Brian’s size feed it for a month? A year? Longer?
Doesn’t matter. It probably couldn’t stretch that wide anyway. Brian is pretty fat. He probably should have walked Fifi more.
I peek over the edge of the bed to see if I can tell what was going on with the hole. It's really dark under there, but I can just see it if I concentrate hard on the spot. A small piece of my comforter is still sticking out of it. Geez, I hope all that fluff didn’t give it indigestion. If it's still making that awful sound in the morning, I’ll feed it some Tums or something.
Or maybe Brian.
That thought makes me giggle. Would he scream as it pulled him in? Or would he be too shocked to do anything? Would it hurt? If the way Fifi had twitched and fought was any indication, it probably doesn’t feel good. Maybe I can convince him to come in and try to pull my comforter back out of the vacuum. See what happens.
Would he do it? Probably not. He's too chicken.
Maybe I could tell him I heard Fifi barking down in there. He felt bad when mom cried about that ugly pink dog going missing. Not bad enough to tell her where Fifi had gone, but still. Would he stick his hand in if he thought he could be a big hero and rescue that stupid dog? Maybe.
But I wouldn’t really do that, would I?
The vacuum seems to be laughing a little bit as if it can hear what I'm thinking about. It is pretty funny. I can imagine Brian getting pulled in. His feet kicking. His eyes all buggy. Would he be too fat to fit?
I could tell mom and dad he ran away. They would believe it. They fight all the time about things going missing. I know they;re worried he was selling stuff to pay for drugs. I've heard them talking about it late at night. They might even think he sold Fifi for drugs.
If he disappeared, they would believe he ran away. And I’d have them all to myself. No stupid fat brother to embarrass me anymore.
Maybe I'll try it tomorrow. See what happens. Brian probably won’t go for. He’s started wearing a cross to protect him from whatever's in there. Stupid.
It isn’t a hole to Hell. I’d know.
The vacuum lets out a huge slurp and I know my comforter is gone. Just like everything else I hate.
Tomorrow, while Mom and Dad are gone to work, it will be Brian.
Hope you enjoyed my little Halloween horror story! Karen