It was perfectly circular, three feet in diameter and completely black. It was almost like a hole from a cartoon, a solid, black thing with seemingly no bottom and no end. It had appeared three days before, or at least, Patrick noticed it for the first time three days before. He had never realised that he avoided that area of the room, that it was sparsely decorated and that the lamp was placed too far to the right, rather than being centred, which would place it squarely where the hole was. The only reason he even noticed the hole now was because he had stumbled and dropped a glass. The glass had been flung outwards, and he watched it arc through the air, water tumbling out, before it landed in the centre of the hole and vanished. He had a theory that many of the things he had lost in the house had actually fallen and rolled into the hole and he just happened to miss it. It would explain what had happened to the three remotes he had to replace, his watch which he knew had been on the arm of the couch, and a ring that had fallen off a finger during the only party he had ever hosted in the house.
Since his discovery he had been fascinated with the hole and had taken to dropping objects in. Nothing very large or expensive, just little bits, pens, pieces of paper, even half a sandwich. So far everything had fallen through with ease, but nothing had come back. That didn’t surprise him in and of itself, but he did wonder what was happening on the other side of it. Where did it come out? Was it on earth, in space? Was someone sitting in their living room wondering where the hell half a sandwich had come from?
As he idly dropped a battery through an idea struck, he could tie a rope around what ever he dropped next and see if he could pull it back through. It might even give him some clues as to where the hole lead. First thing to go through would be an old glass thermometer, he had no real use for it and it would tell him something about the other side of the hole, even if it was something small. With the string tied tightly around it he gently dropped it through, after it had gone through the hole he unspooled the string carefully, if there was any kind of hard surface on the other side he didn’t want the thermometer to smash. Once he had unspooled a few feet he stopped and held it as steadily as he could, then started the timer on his phone. As he waited he tried to make sense of what he was seeing. The string just stopped once it touched the hole, there was no sign of anything on the other side, no indication that it was attached to anything else.
Five minutes later his alarm went off and he started to pull the thermometer back. The entire time he held the string it didn’t move or shake, he wasn’t sure, but he thought that it suggested that there was little to no wind on the other side, and that there was nothing tugging at the thermometer. He wasn’t entirely sure it would come back until he started pulling the string, which moved through the hole with ease. Proving that it wasn’t just one way. When the thermometer came back through he noted down the temperature, there was only one degree of difference between his room and what ever was on the other side. So either it was inside, or outside in a very temperate and balmy climate.
After testing a few other items, he decided to use a lantern, all he needed was a candle and he’d know if there was oxygen on the other side. It didn’t take him long to find a suitable lantern in the local home ware shop and within half an hour he was back at the hole, tying the string around the handle of the lantern. He lit the candle and lowered it through the hole. He waited for five minutes then he pulled it back through. The candle was still lit. It had worked! Next he needed to get an idea of what was on the other side and for that he needed a camera and a long stick. This one would be simple, he knew that electronics still worked after going in and coming out after testing the remote control.
With the camera tied to a stick he lowered it into the hole and started to rotate the stick slowly, he counted ten slow turns then pulled it back through. With shaking hands he stopped the recording and played it back. The screen was black. He smacked his forehead, why didn’t he think that it could be dark on the other side? He ran to the drawers in the hall and dug out a torch, after testing it he tied to the stick and put the camera back through.
This time the light showed piles of things all around the hole, he spotted the sandwich that he had put through, there were piles of junk, a sword or two and even a full set of armour, though he wasn’t sure if it was empty or not. How long had this hole been around? He knew now that it must move around, there had never been anything close to a knight in the area. Unless there were more holes and they all came out in the one place.
As the days went on he tested bigger things, until there was nothing left. Well, he knew exactly what was next, but he wasn’t sure if he could bring himself to do it. Next thing he needed to test was something living. On television they always used mice, rats or rabbits for that kind of testing. There was no guarantee that what ever went through would come back alive. After all, most of his tests consisted of grabbing something close to hand and putting it through to see what would happen. The answer to which seemed to be not much at all. He knew that there was oxygen on the other side, but what if there wasn’t enough for a living thing to breathe? What if there were creatures, just watching and waiting that would pounce when they saw something living?
The mouse. It was time for the final test. There was food and water in the cage and it would only be a short trip for it. He tied the camera to the top of the cage so he could see what the mouse was doing on its trip. He lowered the cage into the hole and set the timer.
After thirty seconds he pulled it back through. The mouse seemed fine, it wasn’t scared or choking. He unstrapped the camera from the cage and played back the video. The mouse was fine, it didn’t choke or gasp, nothing tried to attack it. It was able to breathe and move around feely inside the cage. He repeated the test, leaving the mouse in for longer and longer periods. The longest being an hour and each time the mouse was fine.
Patrick took a deep breath, he was potentially the first person to ever go through this thing, the only person to see what was on the other side. He would make it a short trip, just a quick in and out to have a look around, maybe take a souvenir. Once he had made the trip once or twice he’d start to let other people know. He double checked that the harness was secure, along with the climbing ropes, which were tied to his banisters, he took one more breath to calm himself, then he stepped forward and into the hole.
Jessica let herself into the house, she hadn’t heard from Patrick in a few days and she and their parents were starting to get a little worried. She stepped into the hall, calling out a “hello!” and stopped, there was a rope tied around the banisters. Weird. She followed the rope into the sitting room where it just ended. She picked it up and looked at the end of the rope, what had possessed him to do something like that? Sitting beside it was a mouse in a cage. Shrugging, Jessica dropped the rope and quickly checked to see that it had enough food and water. Once done she turned and left the sitting room, still calling out, to check the rest of the house.