Ambi & Anspi and Other Stories
By Lochlan Bloom
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© Lochlan Bloom 2015

Published by Philistine Press

Edited by Frank Burton

Sample story (text and audio)

The Hole 

soilYou find it below the sink. The hole. It is a dark space behind the U-bend.  Your life these days.  You need to clear up more. The cleaning stuff has sat there untouched for months in that little cupboard.  The mess in here. You're used to it now.  How long ago did you lose your job? 

A pang of terror stabs you. You should have done better. That's why she left. The job. The mess. You, it was you that messed this up. But no, thatís not right, she had already gone. She left two months before you lost the job. That had nothing to do with it. You stare back at the sink. The hole. The word subterranean crawls into your mind. Where does this hole lead?

There is a wind-up torch underneath the hall stairs. You try to get a good view down the hole. It goes on a long way, down into the earth. The torch is low on power and it winds with a high pitched buzz. Like an insect. Could something be living down there? It's impossible to make anything out from your angle. The torch is weak. You move the cleaning stuff out the way and pull at the MDF boards beneath the sink. Two of them come out easily but the other is wedged in tightly. You get a hammer.

How did you never notice this hole before? Now that you have cleared the MDF you see it is quite extensive. The light from the kitchen leaks down the hole but still you cannot make out much detail. It is cavernous. There is a sound, a dull sound, coming from the hole, the sound of dullness. No, not so much dullness as an absence of surprises, a place where surprises can't reach you.  Sharks never kill you on dry land.

You reach a hand down hesitantly. What are you expecting? This is the middle of the city. How big could this hole be? Cavernous. Why would you use a word like that? Creatures do not live in lairs, underneath houses, in the centre of the city. What are you imagining? You have lived here long enough - would you not have noticed something alive down there?

You feel earth. Cold, wearying earth against your fingers. There is something, metal, small. It pricks you. You let out a terrified noise. Your fingers are covered in dirt, a globule of blood stands out on your index finger. Get a hold of yourself. There is nothing down there.

You pull it out. It is an earring. You cannot tell if it is expensive or not. It doesn't look like the sort she wore but you can't be sure. Could it have fallen from the sink? You feel around some more but there is only cold earth. You squeeze the dirt in your hand. It feels loamy, pregnant. What sort of thing could grow down there?

You try to remember her ears but nothing comes to mind, you cannot visualize anything.  Is it possible for life to flourish, underground, away from the light? Does God exist in such places? You throw the earring back into the hole and put the MDF boards back in place. 

You will leave the hole alone in future. 



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