Tuesdays are the worst.
I know everyone gives Mondays shit, because of a cartoon cat and the fact we’re still coming down from the weekend high, but Tuesdays are the real deal, the puppeteers behind true misery. It’s a day that feels the furthest away from either side of the weekend, a culmination of everything I hate about my week smashed into one unpleasant day. Why, last Tuesday I knocked my alarm under my bed and overslept by half an hour, spilled my cereal box all over the kitchen, and by lunchtime turned my boss into a black hole.
I can remember everything. It was lunch, we were in the break-room on the fourth floor same as always, he shook my head; but our hands were thick with static electricity. I could feel it crackle in my pal, but before I knew it, his body was twisting and convulsing, like a plastic wrapper in a hurricane. I heard him try to scream, but it was absorbed by the void that now existed between the fridge and the coffee machine. You’ve never seen such blackness. Pure and absolute. An orb no bigger than a basketball, swirling and hungry. The air was overwritten by a scream, a squeal, a high-pitched whistling that bores itself into your very bones. The room was swirling, and the orb consumed everything that wasn’t nailed down. Then it got larger, and even the stuff nailed down began to lean towards its infinite maw. I didn’t know what to do, so I did what anyone would do. I ran. I mean I fucking sprinted. I got the hell out of there.
I was so sure at that moment that if I didn’t, I would die, although now I’m not so sure.
I booked it towards the door as the world swirled behind me. The mugs, plates, rubbish from the bins. Everything flew towards it and disappeared into the void. Then the light started to drift towards it. Darkness grew over the fourth floor in a matter of minutes like ink dropped onto a painting of the office. I sprinted towards the stairway before anyone noticed anything had happened. Steven from the Marketing team watched me, perplexed, as he made his way towards the kettle. I didn’t look at him, I didn’t say anything. We never really spoke, and I hated his passive-aggressive emails, but I didn’t ignore him out of malice. I didn’t say anything because there was a fucking black-hole in the breakroom and I didn’t want to die.
I pushed through the door and ran as fast down the stairs as I could. As always, Mandy and Gillian were taking the stairway, talking about some nonsense and getting in everyone’s way, but I was running down the stairs so fast, they didn’t even register me until I was almost there, and I had to squeeze between them. They called after me, but I didn’t hear anything. I pushed past more people on the stairs and got to reception. I could see people staring at me in confusion. I dread to think what they might have thought. Maybe they thought I had diarrhoea, and for once I wish that was the case. As I pushed through the revolving doors, I could hear faint screaming; men and women. Then the fire alarm started blaring. I rushed through into daylight, the noon sun breaking through a grey day. The city around me hustled and then they bustled, occasionally throwing a glance to the office building see what all the ruckus was about.
I stood, bending slightly, trying to catch my breath, trying to catch a thought, but I couldn’t seem to find either. People began to slowly meander out, looking either relieved or annoyed that they were away from their desks. Then people began to run out, and continue running until they got to the opposite side of the street. The screams increased, louder, more blood-curdling. The crowd grew, people from the streets began to converge behind us, all staring towards the tall building in horror as the windows on the fourth floor began to crack. Through the glass we saw the chaos unfurling; papers, monitors, pens, chairs; all were flying through. Not just on the fourth floor, but the third and fifth too. Suddenly the windows shattered and we yelled out as a group as glass hailed down on the world below, and the whistling returned. I swear I have never heard such a dreadful sound. People began to gasp and point, on the sixth and seventh floor were workers, banging on the window, pleading for help as the offices behind them collapsed into a hurricane. The darkness from the fourth floor began to spread like a ethereal mould. Suddenly nobody was screaming anymore, we were all just watching. I slowly began to back out of the crowd.
There were hundreds of people staring and pointing, but I didn’t look back as I pushed through them all, towards the back-street beyond. I felt sick, numb. My teeth chattered; my body was drenched in sweat. I couldn’t think, I just swayed and walked. I walked until I reached the nearest bar, where I wordlessly ordered a beer and gave the bartender all of my money with shaking hands. They were trembling so much, it took me almost a minute to just take a single sip, and I sighed as I did, trying to release everything. It was only when I began to relax that I even noticed my ears were ringing. Then I heard the sirens. A lot of sirens. More screaming. People ran past the pub in blind panic, and shortly after, I began to hear that damn whistling again. The bartender looked confused, and ventured outside to watch what was happening. After a few minutes, he began to run too. I stared in disbelief before finishing my beer, then leaning over the bar to pour myself another. If anyone wanted to prosecute me for that, they would have to do so before I died. After I poured it, I carefully began to reach it past the taps and towards me, when I could feel something in my hand. That feeling of static again. It reacted physically as I passed the brass taps, a short spark and crackle, causing me to yell out and drop my glass. I rubbed my palm sympathetically, and smaller sparks began to appear under my digits. I shook my hand, and I swear I could feel something. A physical shape, still crackling and fizzling like static, but condensed into the shape of an orb, like I was holding a ball. I stared at it, and could almost see the light shimmering around it. I tried to close my hand into a fist, but something resisted. It was then I knew what I had to do.
As I exited the bar, the massive crowd was streaming towards me. Some were sprinting and pushing, some tried to keep their dignity and walk with purpose, but their stolen glances betrayed their bravery. I looked towards the sky, and the black-hole had grown, a massive sphere in the sky, and debris and clutter began to float towards it. I swear I could see some shapes that looked almost human. It was blacker than darkness, moving and hungry. It bit at the sky and devoured the light, and I walked to it with purpose. The crowds grew more panicky the closer I got, and soon I saw a wall of police and firemen, trying desperately to get people and themselves off of the streets. I strode towards them, butt he wall pushed me back. I tried to keep my balance, but I was losing ground. Before I could trip and fall, I raised my palm until it was aligned with the sphere, eclipsing it from my view. Then I finally closed my fist.
The silence that followed was remarkable. The whistling, the sounds of objects flying through the atmosphere, then the screams and running. The abyss that hung in the sky began to dissolve and dissipate, a drop of ink in an ocean and suddenly the sky was blue. Even the grey curtain of clouds had disappeared, and the sun began to spill through to the people who cheered desperately, hugging each other and crying. The police and firemen patted each other on the back and held one another. For now, everything was right with the world. I sunk to the floor, and leaned back on to my hands. I gently raised my hand to look at it, and for a second I could swear I saw a black mark on my palm, but that might have just been dirt from the ground.
I stayed there for a few minutes before a kind old man offered to help me up. I continued to stare forward.
“Funny old thing, weren’t it?” He asked. I didn’t look back at him.
“Yeah. It just…it just vanished.” I could see in my peripherals he was staring at me intently.
“What you reckon it was?” He asked, curiously. I tried to reply, but the words were glue in my throat. I tried to clear it, but no syllable would form, just a croak and a gargle of nonsense. He nodded sympathetically and patted me on the shoulder, squeezing it slightly, before heading off. I continued to stared at the spot where the black hole was. Where my building was. Now less than a hole remained in the ground. The surrounding buildings looked like they had survived a bombardment, and the roads were decayed too. I slowly steered my gaze back down to my palm, I opened and closed it. No static now. It was empty.
I kept all the lights off that night. The only illumination in the entirety of my flat was the TV in the corner. Every news outlet in the world seemed to be on it. The mysterious black-hole over London that appeared and disappeared. After a while I stopped listening to it. I just sat with my back to it, as it played independently. I had reached into the liquor cabinet and grabbed whatever felt heaviest. It was an Irish Whisky, I think, and I’d soon gotten through half of it. Forty-four dead or missing. I stared at my palm, flexing and closing it intermittently. I didn’t feel the static anymore, I didn’t feel anything, although maybe that was the whisky. I tried to run the events over and over again in my head. Just a coincidence, sure. Just an anomaly that appeared in the exact place I placed my hand at the exact time I shook my boss’s hand, and disappeared exactly as I willed it to afterwards. These things happen. Crazy, I know, but they happen. Except they don’t, and I had to figure out what the hell just happened, for forty-four sakes.
I cleared a space in my living room, and slapped at my cheeks, taking deep breaths, and whistling them through my mouth. I jumped on the space, preparing to be ready. I clapped my hands and told myself it was time to go, and I pushed my open palm forward like I was in Street Fighter. For a while, not a lot happened, except my face grew a bit crimson from the effort. Then, without warning, I began to feel the electricity again, it grew, until it was a ball shaping in my hand again. Then it was there. The whistling returned. I winced and cried out, as the orb of pure darkness appeared in my living room for a second; and that’s all it needed to turn my room into a calamity. The tv was thrown off of the stand, papers, books, socks- they all went flying until I closed my fist again, and the black-hole vanished, as if the debris was due to a particularly pissed-off poltergeist. Once the cacophony had finished, my living room was a mess, and I could hear multiple dogs barking from below. I began to smile, that kind of smile when something so terrible, so terribly confusing occurs, you don’t know if you should be happy or scream and rip your face off. I chose the former, but trust me I did consider the other option.
I tried to look up Black-holes, and discover their true nature. I knew they were something about stars, implosions, and no-one really knew what happened inside one, but my head was spinning. Whisky and power, a real maelstrom of a mindset. I stared at my palm again. I had a power. One power, it seemed. To kill, destroy, maim and ruin. What was I supposed to do with this? Why was I given this? What the fuck is the point of being able to do this? I’d read a lot of stupid comics when I was a teenager with stupid characters having stupid powers; like someone who could control squirrels, or gained super-powers from being fat or sniffing cocaine, but there was a reason none I knew of could summon a black-hole at will. This isn’t a power, it’s a plague, and it’s bound to the palm of my hand. I had to learn to control it. Even if I vowed never to use it again, it could come out unexpectedly. The last time I used it, here in my flat, I could feel that ball of electricity, yet both times when the ball appeared, the ball of electricity in my palm felt different, like it was seeping through my fingers. I was sure if I could change the shape in my hand, I might be able to control it differently, but I couldn’t do it here. I left immediately, so excited I nearly jumped straight in my car, but I was far too pissed. I walked, almost a run, to the nearest carpark which happened to be under an overpass. I knew this was central for drugs and what-not, but not on a Tuesday thankfully. I stood there, alone, only with a few streetlights standing behind me supportively. I unleashed the black-hole, and clenched hard when I heard the whistling noises. The wind blew around me, and I held my ground; I had no idea what the properties of this were, just because I summoned it, there was no reason why I couldn’t be sucked in too, and then there would be no-one to close it. With my other hand I tried to shape the ball, but like a magnet it pushed against me. I yelled out, until my hands came together; a perfect, invisible sphere between my hands and the world quieted. The black-hole was a complete sphere, smooth, swirling, silent. When I separated my hands, it too vanished, and I had learned how to control it. I laughed and I shouted until a home-less man told me to be quiet and go home.
I slept until noon the next day, and panicked as I realised I was three hours late for work, until I realised I had turned our office into a black-hole. I sank back into my bed with heavy relief until 3 or so. That was when the guilt set in. So I did what anyone would do when they accidentally caused forty-four deaths and millions of pounds worth of damage and weren’t held accountable for it yet. I got drunk. I started on the whisky at 3:15 and continued until the evening, until the walls began to close in on me. All over the sounds of the television I could hear screaming, tearing metal and that fucking whistling sound. I pleaded to whatever divine force had bestowed this upon me to stop but it didn’t, so I went out.
The evening was hot and heavy, humidity draped over my shoulders like a clingy lover. I hit up a few bars and sat by myself, pouring my weeks wages into amber liquid that I swallowed up too quick. I left my phone behind, didn’t even unlock it. I had no idea what was happening in the world outside of my head, if anyone was worried or even suspicious. I couldn’t look. I couldn’t check. By midnight I had stumbled across a nightclub that seemed to be weirdly busy for a Wednesday night, so I stumbled on through, past the solemn bouncers and into the dank space, populated by dozens of young-looking dancers, many of which looked too drunk already, not that I could judge at this point. I ordered a double vodka Redbull, and when I threw my change across the bar, I vowed that was probably my last one for the evening. I found a corner of the bar that was empty and leaned upon it, trying to sip my disgusting drink as the excitable kids behind me kept bumping into me, threatening to force me to throw my drink over the bar too. They would laugh and scream behind me, but it was almost entirely eclipsed by the droning music behind me. I thought it was fucking terrible, but at least it drowned out the screams and whistling.
As I reached the ice in the my drink, swirling it around idly hoping it would summon the energy to wander home, I noticed a young lady, and we caught each other’s eyes. I smiled, trying to show warmth, but that was the last thing I felt. The corner of her mouth twitched, but I don’t think she was trying to smile. I could see a hand creep it’s way up her shoulder. She tried to shrug it off, but it persisted. It belonged to a kid, no older than twenty. When he felt her resist he tried to hold her back with his other hand, until she pushed away at his chest. I watched, trying not to stare. I could tell she was deeply uncomfortable, slowly backing away from him, but trying to talk to her friends, but every time she moved away, he moved himself closer. I decided to stay for one more drink and watch how this whole situation played out, but the club was filling up further. I tried to drunkenly flag down a bartender, but they were swamped. I threw glances towards their way, and saw him trying to kiss her, and she retracted her head back as far as it would go, before pushing against at him one final time and leaving. I watched him, standing still, eyes trailing behind her. He pretended to return to the conversation with the others, but soon he was finishing his drink and following her. He walked with purpose, pushing his way past the new excitable wave. I trailed him with my eyes, and soon I was following him too.
I pushed past the new horde of people, heart hammering at my chest. I entered the London night, now a chilly darkness, nodding at the bouncers as I left. There were a group of people outside smoking, but as I scanned the area, I couldn’t see the girl or the boy . I breathed heavily, and went to the wall of the building to lean, alert. I didn’t even have my phone on me to look nonchalant, but as I shifted my weight to the wall, I could feel my head beginning to spin again. A wave of disbelief hit me. I guess I miscalculated. Two strangers in a situation I didn’t understand. What was I even going to do?
“Hey you, stop touching her or I’ll turn you into an imploding star”? I scoffed at myself. This wasn’t a power. I’m not a hero. I shook my head a little and started to walk off.
I didn’t sleep well that night. I kept playing the situation out in my head. I imagined catching them both in an alley, him attempting to force himself upon her. I would step out of the shadows, strike a heroes pose. “Hey, you.” I would call out. He would look at me with abject terror and surprise, she would look at me with relief and adoration. “Get the fuck off of her.” I would say. He would push her to the ground and pull out a knife, his beady little rat eyes betraying his true fear. He would approach me with trembling legs and shaking hands, seconds away from pissing himself. With a swift flick of my hand, I would conjure the black-hole on the wall behind him. He would glance back in existential terror, as his sense of reality would tear, the whistling ringing in his ears. I would clench my fist and turn it into the orb, and the sounds would stop. He looks at me confused. “Know what happens when you go through a black-hole?” I step closer. He looked back to me. He knows this is the end. “No.” I say with finality. “No-one does.” I swiftly but strongly kick him in the sternum, sending him flying into the orb. His body stretches out horrifically into the void. He tries to scream but the void takes that too. The last thing he sees is the girl, kindly flipping him off as he is absorbed into nothingness. With another swish of my hand, the black-hole vanishes, leaving no trace of his existence behind. I breathe heavily. She thanks me. We kiss. We get married. I’m a hero. Over and over I play that scenario in my head, until the birds begin singing and dawn creeps its way through the windows, and I can only hope and plead to a godless void that she’s safe.
I didn’t leave the house much later that week. I snuck out a couple of times in the night to practise controlling it. Almost got caught by a late-night jogger, but I think I’m good. I’ve been thinking about how to use it. I can control it now. A black orb of destruction. Absorbing everything around it, even light and sound. Then it goes. Where the absorbed matter and energy go afterwards, I don’t think I’ll ever know. How it’s all affected after I make it disappear as well haunts my thoughts. It’s a vacuum, one with no end. Pure destruction. I’m so sure I was given this power for a reason, but all it can do is take. I’m not nihilistic enough to believe I was given this to destroy the Earth, but the thought persists. I could just unleash a black-hole, let it lie, let it take the world. Give the universe a do-over. It could be. However, I’m thinking small-potatoes. Controlled bursts. Attack the root of the problem, and there are a million problems on this planet.
I will start from the top. I’ll work my way down the rotten staircase until I get to the pitch-black bottom, but first I need to get those who work in the light. The weak-willed, cowardly politicians and manipulating billionaires. I may not be a hero, this may not be a power, but what I have is control. Control over something that literally defies the laws and purposes of reality. I could use it. I could. Of course I’m aware that if you remove the core, even if it’s rotten, the apple collapses. Maybe I’ll just have to destroy the apple. That might not be so bad, I think. Clear our mess away from existence for good. I’ll see how I get on.