by Walter G. Willaert © 2002

After my divorce I was so lucky to get my hands on the apartment. The landlady gone, I was alone and standing in the living room full of great stuff, a combination of modern and antique and compared to my former apartment something like a palace. I had a certain urge and stepped towards the bathroom. I switched the light on.

The first sign of a presence was revealed by what I’d describe the sound of a thousands mosquito’s fighting over bite-size chunks. Then I felt a chill. It was an ill sort of coldness; I wasn’t able to put it in better words.

There was something wrong with the air too: I could hardly breathe and it made my head spin as if it was pulling out oxygen from the room. Something was pulling my shirt, trying to direct me towards the tub. I took my first glimpse at the thing.

Then I yielded. A strong feeling of fear grabbed me by the throat. I hadn’t seen this before in my life. It was something I would describe as a three-dimensional pear-shaped funnel with no ending. At least, that was the impression I had: the thing had no ending. It seemed to fall back in an endless contracting pit. The sound it made was that of a grinding mill at ultrahigh speed.

I recoiled in horror, trying to find the door behind my back, but a weird thing happened. The creature seemed to grow; it seemed to grow closer in my direction.

I gasped for air, started to panic, sweat pouring out of every pore, my hair stood on end and my limbs were trembling and shaking in a wild dance. My mouth was bone-dray and I saw photons dancing before my eyes. Then a terrific thing happened.

With all my power I took a semi-turn, reached for the door and raced out of the bathroom.

From then on, my mind went blank.

I regained conscience about an hour later, in my own apartment, lying on my coach. An aged, intellectual type of man bent over to me with a searching glance.

He didn’t talk, but started a quick examination on me, took my heartbeat and temperature, pointed a light into my eyes and asked me if I could see well.

‘I do,’ I replied, still upset. ‘My head’s still pounding like hell.’

‘That’s because you’ve experienced deficiency of oxygen.’ He sounded weighty.

‘The creature… it’s growing…’ I was still numb with fear and at the same time I felt I sounded silly.

‘It’s gone, don’t worry,’ he replied in a soothing voice that calmed me down.

I managed to rise to my feet without his help and felt better then. The thing or creature or whatever had caused me to loose my head, had gone and this was the normal world again.

‘Why don’t we have a drink over it,’ I proposed, as I could use one right now. He agreed and I walked to my kitchenette, took two clean bulbous drinking glasses and two Belgian beers from the fridge along.

He drank half of his pint, licked his lips and told me what had happened to me. I listened carefully.

‘You see, a bathroom is the room in your house where you wash off whatever you’d brought in from outside. Maybe the residents had picked up some radioactive material that stuck to their shoes or hands. In some way this radiation had emerged, had found a host, and started to reanimate, like a nuclear fusion putting all its mass into energy until it burns up.’

He drank the rest of his beer and continued.

‘What you have actually discovered was a mini black hole. New York is full of them, but we can’t see them, because they’re so tiny a pinhead can house a million of them. They’re harmless until they’re activated and start what they’re supposed to do: absorbing light and sending out waves instead. By the way, this is great beer.’

I’d get the message and went to fetch him another great Belgian beer.

‘It happens all the time and in any place. We have written evidence from the Middle Ages, where mini black holes were described as fallen angels. In latter ages, the phenomena where being transformed to poltergeists or spirits of the doomed deceased. And in modern times they’re objects from outer space.’

‘So you’re saying it’s a complete natural thing,’ I said, a bit disappointed, as I had more or less expected having met the devil in person.

‘That’s it, but still rare and uncommon. We have no exact figures about it. We only know they exists, on this planet, in this galaxy and as far as we know, in deep space. I’d say once in a thousand years you might expect some revival of mini black holes, but that’s our guess, more or less.’

‘Are they any dangerous?’

‘We have no recollection of any casualties, except for the frightening experience itself. People run away because of it, so we have no written accounts from the early times. These mini holes cause nothing but minor physical discomfort, and they disappear within the hour, when all radiation has been sucked up.’

He rose and looked down on me in a curious way.

‘One last question, before I go, you had some delirious moments before you wake up. You repeatedly said something in a foreign tongue. Do you have any reminiscence on this?’

"I’m sorry," I lied, realizing. I didn’t know who he mysterious guy was, though it didn’t matter anymore.

After he had left, I finished my beer and closed my eyes. I saw the black hole before me, and that infinite blackness that spun to nowhere. It wasn’t a hole where it went in. It was something else, something so horrible that a shiver ran down my spine.

I now knew what I had been saying over and over again, and I saw the words come clearly: ‘I’ve seen time.’

x x x

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