“What is it?”
“I don’t know.”
Tony walked closer to it, Christy grabbed his hand, “Don’t, it mightn’t be safe.”
Somewhere in the trees a bird squawked, Christy jumped and gripped his hand tighter. A slight breeze blew through the trees, the rustling of the leaves sounded like whispering. When the breeze died there was silence.
“Wait, I can’t hear the stream anymore. This is freaking me out, let’s go back.” Christy turned and took a few steps back the way they came, Tony stood still, she tried to pull him after her for a second then stopped. “Just hang on for a sec ok? We could be the first people to ever see something like this, can you imagine? We’ll be famous, known around the world.”
“How? No one will remember us, we’ll just be a footnote in a dusty book somewhere. Look, we’ve seen it, we’ll just head back and then we’ll figure out who to call to deal with it ok?”
“Just give me a few more minutes.” Tony bent and grabbed a stone, he paused for a second, then threw it at the large black disk. The disk was suspended in the air about four feet off the ground and completely black. The stone hit the black disk and vanished without a sound. “Did you hear it drop on the other side?”
“No, I didn’t, you shouldn’t be throwing stuff at this thing, what if it makes it bigger or something?”
Tony took a step forward, “Don’t be stupid, what could possibly happen?”
“I don’t know because I don’t know what the hell that thing is and neither do you. Stop! Don’t get any closer to it, what if it sucks you in!?”
Tony reached out slowly, “I don’t feel anything, there isn’t a pull, I don’t think it’s going to suck me in.”
Christy looked up at the trees, “I’m really freaking out here, why is it so quiet? There’s no animal noises, nothing. That always means something bad is going to happen in the movies. What ever this thing is it isn’t right, it isn’t natural and it shouldn’t be here.”
Tony waved one hand behind himself, “If you want to go, go ahead, I’m not going to stop you but I’m going to stay here for a bit longer.”
Christy stayed where she was, she wanted to go but she knew if something happened to Tony she wouldn’t forgive herself.
“Ok, I’m going to give you two minutes and then we go agreed?”
“Fine, fine.” Tony took a step closer, then took a step to the left, carefully he moved around it in a circle, “You have to see this, it just disappears from the side and it isn’t there from the back.”
“What? How is that even possible, that makes no sense.”
“I know but seriously, once you get to the side of it it just disappears. Poof. One second it’s there the next it’s just trees again.”
He went behind it and grabbed another stone, he tossed it where he thought the circle was “Anything?”
“I threw a stone through it from this side.”
“Jesus Christ, no there was nothing. I swear to God I’m going to leave without you.”
“Maybe that isn’t a bad idea.”
“Well one of us could stay here to make sure we find it again, I mean we weren’t exactly walking along a path or anything, it was just random chance, how big is that thing? Maybe two feet across, two and a half at the most? Would we be able to find it again? We didn’t even notice it until we were almost right on top of it.”
Christy threw her arms into the air, “Right, fine, you stay here and get eaten or killed or sucked into a black hole or what ever other stupid thing is going to happen to you. I’m going back to the others.” Christy turned and started walking back the way they came.
Tony moved to the front of the disk again, what ever it was it was fascinating. It felt so weird looking at it, like his eyes were telling him there was nothing there, that he wasn’t seeing anything. He had only ever seen one other thing like it and that was a bust covered in some special paint, it looked like someone had taken a scissors and simply cut out the outline of it in black paper. He had the strangest feeling that if he reached out and touched it it would feel like cold velvet. He picked up another rock and tossed it at the disk again. Behind him there was the sound of rustling bushes, “I knew you’d come back.”
“What?” Christy looked around, “No, this isn’t right, I didn’t come back, I must have gotten turned around or something.”
“I’m being serious.” She turned and started walking again, this time she made sure she was going in a roughly straight line, she moved from tree to tree. As she moved through the trees she noticed again how quiet it was and she still couldn’t hear the stream. She took another step then found herself back in the small clearing, Tony still studying the disk.
“Tony, seriously something is wrong, I keep ending up back here, I can’t get back. I swear I went in a straight line this time.”
Tony turned and looked at her, she looked like she was on the verge of tears, “Ok we’ll head back, I didn’t know you’d get this upset over it, it wasn’t like I was going to do anything stupid like try and jump through it.” Christy shook her head but didn’t say anything.
Together they left the clearing, as they went Tony was babbling about landmarks and who they should contact first, he pushed his way through some bushes and stopped. “Wait how did we get turned around.”
“But we walked in a straight line. Lets go this way.”
They left the clearing again and again they ended up back at it a few moments later.
It felt like hours later but the sunlight hadn’t changed, Tony had been walking from the clearing for however long they had been here and every time he ended up back at it. Christy had given up after the first few attempts, she sat on a small outcropping of rocks keeping a wary eye on the disk. What ever was happening to them she knew it was the fault of that thing. Tony emerged from some trees and walked over to her, he was panting and hard large sweat patches on his t-shirt, his face was covered in a slick sheen of sweat. He sat down on the ground beside her. “It’s impossible, completely impossible but I can’t find a way away from here.”
Christy didn’t say anything, she just shook her head.
“It’s not my fault ok? What ever happened probably happened the moment we saw it. I didn’t know that we would get stuck here.”
The silence hung heavily between them, Tony sighed, “look, we’ll figure this out, we will.”
Christy looked up at the sky, “How long do you think we’ve been here?”
“I dunno, maybe three or four hours?”
“The sun hasn’t moved, are you thirsty at all? Or hungry?”
“No, I’m not.”
“What do you think it means?”
“I don’t know.” Christy had a sudden, terrible thought, “What if we’re dead and this is like the afterlife? Like maybe we got lost or fell or got bitten by poisonous insects?”
Tony shook his head, “No, I don’t think so. Everyone always talks about bright lights and tunnels, I’ve never heard of a floating black hole before.”
Tony picked up a rock and flung it at the hole again, “Goddamned Frank and his leave your phones in the tent bullshit. If not for him we could have called for help, or at least tried to.”
“I get the feeling phones wont work here either. I mean have you heard any animals? Or the trees rustling? Or anything at all?”
Tony was silent for a moment, “No, not that I can remember…maybe the only way out is through the hole? I mean we know rocks can go through it, maybe we can too?”
“Oh my god what the hell is wrong with you? How is that in anyway a good idea?”
“I don’t know, I can’t think of anything else, but if you can think of something better lets here it, c’mon.”
Christy shrugged, “We could just wait.”
“Wait? For how long? We could be trapped here forever, there’s no one coming for us. They’d have to have noticed we’re gone by now and we’re still here alone.”
Christy wrapped her arms around her knees, “If you want to try it go ahead, I’m not going to stop you from doing something stupid.”
Tony stood and approached the disk, slowly he reached out, his fingertips brushed against the darkness, he could feel something there, it felt like running his fingers across thin strands of fabric, if it was sticky he’d have thought of a spider web, it was slightly warm to the touch. He pushed his fingers through and that slight warmth enveloped them, it felt like his hand was cocooned, he pulled it out and carefully examined his fingers. They seemed fine. “It didn’t hurt or anything, nothing tried to pull me in, it’s kinda warm, feels almost like putting your hand into a pile of hanging threads or something.”
“Oh cos that doesn’t sound creepy and dangerous.”
“I’m going for it. If it works I’ll come back for you.”
“How can you come back? We don’t even know how we got here!”
“I’ll find a way, don’t worry.”
And before she could say anything else he reached further into the disk and a second after that he was gone.
Christy sat in the clearing, now that she was alone the complete silence finally hit her. There was nothing, just the sound of her heart beating in her ears and the sound of her own breathing. She started tapping her foot against the ground, more so to break the silence than anything else. She kept looking at the disk, she was half expecting Tony to pop back out, or a piece of him to anyway.
Christy stood and moved closer to the disk, Tony had been gone for what felt like hours and the silence seemed to be pressing in on her from all sides, pushing against her skin, her head, she didn’t know how much longer she could take the pressure. She reached out and gently skimmed her fingertips across the disk, it was exactly as Tony had described it, warm and like running your fingers through strands of fabric. She pushed her hand forward and felt it sinking into the warmth, the pressure that surrounded her eased off slightly along her arm, she almost felt like she was relaxing into it. It was such a relief, like have a cold glass of water after being outside all day in the hot sun and before she fully realised what she was doing, she was climbing through.
The strands brushed across her skin as she climbed through, she released a breath and it felt like she had been holding it for ages. She gasped, filling her lungs with the warm air. She looked around in the darkness, looking for the disk of light on this side but there was nothing, just endless black in all directions, if she hadn’t seen the darkness of the disk before she would have thought she went blind. “Tony?” Her voice was both oddly loud and oddly quiet in the darkness, she felt the place react to the sound of her voice, a kind of shiver seemed to run through the strands and she had a sudden, strong feeling that she the silence of this place should not be broken. She felt a sharp pain in her side, then another, all over her like thousands of tiny needles pricking her skin, worming their way deeper into her body. Christy opened her mouth to scream and the threads rushed inside, she began to choke and writhe, then with one last mighty convulsion the threads ripped themselves free, scraps of Christy’s skin floated momentarily in the darkness before they were seized by the strands and then there was nothing left of her at all.