The Black Spot
The size of a quarter, that was where it started, at least when Jessica noticed it at any rate. A black spot on her white wall, she didn’t know where it came from. The spot started in the corner, behind the TV stand. She only noticed it when she shifted the TV to dust. She expected her mother at any time, and George wouldn’t lift a finger to clean, that was a given.
She scrubbed it with a green scrubby and cleanser, but it persisted. It didn’t spread, at least not like an ink spot might if it ran when scrubbed. It did grow though. The spot itself had expanded to double its original size within the day of her notice.
She tried to scrub it away again a little while ago and it bit her. Wait, maybe that wasn’t the right way of saying it. The rubber gloves she wore for cleaning, their tips melted away. She felt a strange heat from the spot when she dried the wall with a kitchen towel. Not one of her good ones, she needed those for her mother’s visit. She used one of the old ratty ones that she liked to give to George for him to use in the garage. They were too threadbare to be much good in the kitchen anyway.
The towel burned, no it hadn’t caught on fire, but it singed all the same. That wretched smell that fills the air when a potholder is left on the stove top and a burner is still on. Smoke fills the air and sets off the fire alarm. There wasn’t any smoke but the towel had turned black in several spots and the fabric had gone ashy. She threw it into the sink and ran cold water over before she threw it in the trash. No sense starting a real fire.
The spot had grown larger than George’s hand as he splayed his fingers out to measure it’s growth. The heat had become a problem. The plastic on the back of their TV had begun to warp. It didn’t interrupt their cable, George could still catch the game no problem. They moved the TV further along the wall. Couldn’t mistake the spot though.
That growing black spot throbbed, only way Jessica could describe it. As big as George’s head now, she couldn’t ignore it. She wanted to call some cleaners in to check it out and get an estimate but George, he could be so stubborn, he wanted to see what he could do about it himself. She told him that he needed to be careful. Chemicals would probably make it worse, and she didn’t want to start a fire with how hot the spot was. She lit a cigarette a bit ago. It flamed right up. She couldn’t taste anything weird as she smoked it down.
George grabbed his hammer from the garage. His hammer and a chisel, tools to rip through the drywall and see what was going on behind there. Couldn’t see nothing on the outside of the house, not at all. The thing, size of George’s upper body, was only on the inside of the house. Sweat stains covered his body as he tapped at the spot with the hammer and chisel. Thing had grown hot enough that the whole house could feel it.
He musta hit something too hard. The chisel chipped away a section of the wall. An empty black hole, dark like an abyss, had been behind it. He hammered out more of the spot and called Jessica over to look at it with him. The area he cleaned out opened into a deep black hole. They should have seen the outer wall, but it went way beyond that. George felt a pull as he dug at it with his hammer and chisel, when he opened a gap big enough for his hands to fit in, a force ripped the chisel from his hands. They heard nothing as it fell into the abyss.
George grabbed the sledgehammer from the garage. He meant business this time. The spot had grown larger than him, the whole in the spot opened up like a mouth ready to gobble up the space around them. Every now and then a paper or maybe a pen would lift up and fly into the whole. Jessica made it a point to put lighter objects into the desk drawers or in cupboards. George took a clean whack at the wall and knocked plaster and spot into the hole. He took another swing, a big wind up, and the hammer stuck into the black spot. He pulled and pulled but it wouldn’t budge. He stuck a foot to the wall and pulled again, but the wall pulled back. His foot sunk into the black dot and he couldn’t pull it away.
George stopped screaming around the time he had sunk up to his waist in the hole/spot. Jessica thought that was for the best since his throat had grown horse after he sunk in to his knees. She couldn’t bear to listen to him bellerin’. She hung a hat on his head before he slipped the rest of the way inside. At least the hat looked better than that expression on his face. She couldn’t bear to look upon that grimace much longer.
She awoke and stretched. Hard to believe the good nights sleep she could get without George in the bed. Something of a special treat to lay in the bed all naked and comfortable. Aside from the cozy feeling something wasn’t quite right. She felt a small pinch of heat at her chest, like a magnifying glass focusing the sun to fry ants. The black spot on her chest was only the size of a penny, but the heat was already intense.