Estimated reading time — 15 minutes
The day I found my first hole was the day my best friend came back from the dead.
We were in high school and stupid. Jake was his name and we liked to go out to this old abandoned house in the woods after school to just screw around. We would do stupid teenage things. It was a pretty big place, to be honest. It was a two-story house with a basement or three-stories if you counted the small attic above it. The story is supposed to go that an old woman was building the house years and years ago in order to get away from the city life but, for some reason, she never finished it. She probably died. Anyway, the house was pretty close to completion when she stopped, but nobody bothered to finish it and now it just sits there rotting away.
So Jake and I would go to the house and just screw around, scaring each other or exploring the place. Whatever we felt like. Usually, we were careful – or lucky – but nothing ever happened to make us worry.
Then the floorboards broke under Jake’s feet when we were exploring the second floor and he fell. I never realized how bad the condition of the house must have been because when he hit the first floor, that broke too and he fell into the basement. I ran down and looked through the broken hole in the first floor. It was dark (but we usually had the foresight to bring flashlights) so I shined a light on him. I’ll never forget what I saw.
One of the boards or something must’ve fallen at just the right angle that when Jake hit the ground. It pierced right through his stomach like a spear. I could see him shift and try to grab at it. Even hear him gurgle… and then he stopped.
He was dead. I was sure of it. Our stupidity got him killed. I was in shock. I didn’t know what to do.
So I just… ran. I ran out of the house and left him there.
It was about evening when I got home and I went straight to my room. I didn’t talk to anyone. I didn’t stop for anything. I just wanted to curl up and try to forget that scene. My parents tried to talk to me but I feigned sleep and they just went on. Later that night, we got a call from Jake’s parents asking where he was. They actually “woke me up” for that one and I said I had no idea. The usual “Well, if you see him, please let us know!” came afterward and I just nodded before I went back to sleep.
The next day I had school and I went through the morning ritual in a bit of a trance. I didn’t want to go but I couldn’t stay home. I was pretty sure Jake’s parents already suspected something of me. So I went. School was… just like usual. People screwing around in the morning and talking. I went up to my normal group of friends that I hung out with before the first bell rang and my heart stopped.
There was Jake.
He stood there, just laughing and being his normal self. When he saw me, he looked over and grinned before coming over. He made a joke but I didn’t hear it. I just continued to stare.
“Hey, you okay?” he asked, starting to get concerned.
“Aren’t you… are you okay?” was all I could muster in response.
“Well, yeah! Why wouldn’t I be?” He laughed a bit but gave me a weird look.
“You, you don’t… know anything?” I tried to phrase it as delicately as possible. I didn’t want anyone else knowing, but I figured that was enough to clue him in. If it did, he didn’t show it.
“Know anything of what?” He responded and then the bell rang. He said bye and gave me a weird look before heading off to class. I just stared after in shock. Why was my friend here? I saw him die! At the very least, he should be in the hospital! But he was fine.
I went to class but I couldn’t concentrate. I just kept thinking about Jake and how he should be dead. I kept trying to think of how he could’ve survived but I just couldn’t fill this strange hole of a mystery. After class, I decided I’d check out the house.
Jake met me after school and asked if I still wanted to hang out. I told him I wasn’t feeling well and we’d catch up tomorrow. He seemed to accept that and move off. It’s not like I wasn’t excited my friend was back, but looking at him made something in me cringe. He shouldn’t be alive. He should not be here! I saw him…
So I went to the house that afternoon alone.
When I walked in, I could feel something. It was strange but familiar. It was the same feeling I got when I looked at Jake. That something wasn’t right and it was just… off. However, here, it felt like a lingering feeling. Not this fresh “What the hell?” I got when I saw my friend. I stepped forward and looked down. Sure enough, there was the damn hole he fell through! I let out a sigh of relief and bent over. So I wasn’t crazy! I slipped out my usual flashlight and shone it down into the hole. Yes! There was the wreck I saw him land on! Just… no Jake. Did he get free? Did he magically regenerate or something? I shone my flashlight up to look toward the hole in the second floor.
It wasn’t there.
My breath caught in my throat and I began to frantically shine my light onto the ceiling. Where was it!?! I should be right above the damn hole in the floor! But nothing. I bolted up the stairs and, sure enough, there was nothing on the floor where he fell.
Something was wrong. Really wrong. I wandered back down to the first hole and peeked down into it.
I’m sure that was the moment that solidified my fate. If I had just ignored it, moved on, and been plain happy that my friend was back, I might have been able to continue life as usual. But that moment…
I saw something. Just a flash of something black, blacker than the darkness beyond my flashlight’s range shift and fly out of sight. I gasped and stumbled back, breathing heavily. I know I should’ve run, but my curiosity took hold. And my logical side said it was just some animal or trick of the light. So I swallowed my fear and I leaned over to peek again.
I didn’t see that flash of black again, but I did notice something. The boards and wreckage underneath the hole were gone. With that note, I knew something was wrong. Nobody can clean up something like that mess in the blink of an eye.
I bolted. I ran out of that house and through the forest, swearing up and down that something was chasing me. I had a feeling that there was something out there… but now I know it was simply watching me. For now.
I ran home and slammed the door shut behind me before I leapt into my bed. My body curled up and I just lay there, trying to comprehend what was going on.
It took me a while, but I finally drew myself out of bed. I had to figure out what was going on but like hell I was going back to that damn house, not if some monster was in it. So, I did what any teenager would do. I went to the internet and researched.
It was slow and I didn’t have a lot of luck at first. Looking up “paranormal” just got me weird pictures and stories. “Friend comes back from dead” got me a lot of zombie stuff. Missing time seemed to get me a little more info. A lot of it was around aliens, but a few stories seemed to pique my interest. Like, something crazy seeming to happen (like a car crash or accident) and, suddenly, there’s a time jump and things seem to be OK. Like nothing ever happened.
There was one post on a missing time board that seemed to draw my attention, however. It was titled “Plot Holes” and was only posted a couple of days ago. I curiously clicked it.
Everyone seemed to speculate what caused this whole missing time thing. A lot of the time it was aliens or dimensional… whatever. This guy, however, acted like he knew for a fact. And his reason was the most bizarre of them all.
He started by telling a similar story. In a nutshell, his wife was killed in a household accident when part of their house caved in during a storm. While trying to get to her, he was knocked out by some other debris. When he came to, he was sitting in the living room and his wife was trying to wake him up. The house was fine, with no sign of disaster, and she was… alive! He was ecstatic but described a strange feeling. Like, he had figured out something he shouldn’t have and that his wife shouldn’t be there. Like my feeling I got with Jake.
Over time, he couldn’t be around her. It just was too strange. So he left. He went on the road, taking what money he had and doing weird little jobs here and there while staying in motels. While he went, he began to research. It took a great amount of time, but he found others with similar experiences. Most of them just described it as a miracle and moved on with their lives. Others couldn’t shake the feeling, like he did.
All of them described the same sort of thing. Some event should’ve caused something to happen… A person would die or some landmark would be destroyed, only to have it miraculously come back later. So what was going on?
The author was at a standstill until he came across something. While researching people who shouldn’t be alive, he came across a book review. Apparently, it was the latest book in the series and, in it, a side character saves the day by fighting off a bunch of enemies for the heroes. However, in the previous book (by a different author) that character had been killed. So, this character couldn’t have come back to save the day but, if he didn’t, the main characters would’ve died. The reviewer said it was one of the worst plot holes he’d ever seen. That got the forum author, and me, thinking. He said he’d post again after he experimented a bit and I didn’t blame him. I had a few things I wanted to experiment with as well. Nevertheless, I dropped him a message saying I read his post and that something similar happened to me. Then called it a night early. I had to be extremely alert if I was going to try to look for the signs I wanted to find.
The next morning, I woke up and started my first attempt at looking for plot holes. I know how crazy that sounded but something seemed to click after reading that review. Someone should’ve died… but that was ignored so he could do something of significance later… it sounded so familiar.
The first few days, I didn’t notice anything except for that weird feeling around Jake. Nobody else seemed to have it. The third day was when I noticed my first plot hole. It was minor. It was just the most minor of details, but it was there. One of the girls in my class went from wearing a skirt to a set of jeans between periods. I know how that seems to make me look but, I’ll admit it, the skirt was why I noticed. But to change into a pair of jeans within seven minutes while walking across campus to another class? That doesn’t make sense. I guessed it was possible, but it didn’t make sense. It was like a costume got wrong during a scene change.
After that, it went all downhill. I kept seeing changes everywhere. A sign would be black in the morning, but light green later at night or a friend would go from wearing a sweater to a t-shirt when I looked away from a moment. You’d think that people would notice these changes but nobody did. Maybe it was the strange feeling that I got of something being off after the accident with Jake or perhaps you just had to be looking for them. But, as I kept looking, they were everywhere.
It was about a week and a half before I got a response back from the “Plot Holes” author. He introduced himself as Dennis and apologized for being late to respond. His reason why? He had gotten caught up in observing… plot holes. He was noticing the same thing I was! This is the first time I’ve ever actually spoken to this guy but the changes he described matched mine to a T. Except for one thing. After noticing a misspelled sign above a store late at night, he turned away for a moment to look back and saw a shadowy black figure floating by it. It was hazy, like looking at the figure through a fog that just wasn’t there but, after the being floated away, the spelling error was gone.
A shiver went down my spine. That seemed… too close to whatever I might’ve glimpsed at the house. I hadn’t seen it full-on yet, but now I knew what I was looking for. I wish I hadn’t.
It wasn’t long before I began to see them. You had to look at just the right moment I found out. When it seemed like nobody was watching or paying attention to that little error you just noticed. Then you could make it out. A shadowy haze of a being, seeming to be dressed in a long black robe with a hood, messing with it until it changed. I saw one fade my friend’s t-shirt into a jacket/shirt set on a cold day in class. And I saw another change an entire stack of books at the library into a completely different set before they were picked up by a student. Nobody noticed them, just like the holes. It was like you had to be on that wavelength to notice.
I’d been conversing with Dennis a bit online and he agreed with that idea. It seemed that you had to notice one to start seeing the others. If you could brush it off, then your life would go on. But if you were the curious sort, then you were like the two of us. You’d just keep seeing them all the time. I was starting to go crazy. I couldn’t say anything to anyone and Jake kept bothering me about why we never hung out anymore. I just couldn’t look at him. He… wasn’t natural but I realized it wasn’t him! It was those… things that brought him back. Maybe he had some destiny or something but I had no idea.
Things took another turn when I was having a Skype conversation with Dennis. He asked if they noticed me yet. I told him no and then he got quiet for a long time. After some bugging, he finally responded and told me one of his friends that had been helping him look into this occurrence was gone. Nobody even seemed to remember his existence. When he went over to his friend’s house, Dennis found it relatively neat save for a few items strewn about. As he explored, the belongings that were out of place began to find themselves back in their positions. Dennis was sure that it was one of those creatures behind it and he confirmed his suspicions when he saw one putting back a book that had been thrown on the floor… And then turn and look at him.
The two stared for a long time, the creature gazing at Dennis while he looked into a blank nothingness that was its face, the dark hood covering whatever might’ve lurked underneath. And then… it left. It turned and seemed to float away right through one of the walls. That seemed to be the last thing out of place then. The house looked like nothing had ever happened in it. Then Dennis began to notice something else. There were no pictures or objects identifying an owner. Unless you were that much of a hermit you had at least an old family picture of some parents or something. Or maybe some mail with your name on it. But nothing. It was like nobody had ever lived in this fully furnished home.
At this point, I began to worry. Dennis’s friend had gone missing and nobody knew of his existence. I started putting the pieces together then. If these creatures could bring someone back from the dead, they could easily get rid of someone right? This meant I was in danger.
After that, I stopped. I was out. I ignored Dennis’s messages. I tried to ignore all the holes I constantly noticed. I… did my best to ignore those shadow creatures when I caught them. I even tried to hang back out with Jake. But, every time we hung together… it was like I was looking at the face of a lie. And looking at him just made me think of those creatures. I imagined one pulling him up from that debris, slipping that board through and out his body, knitting up his wounds like nothing happened…
I did my best to look past it all. Dennis was hard to ignore, however. He just kept tracking me down. I’d block him from my e-mail and messengers but he’d start making new accounts to talk to send me more messages. And he seemed to be sending more and more as the days went on.
Finally, one day, I received an e-mail from a new account that clearly was Dennis. I was about to delete it and block him again but the subject chilled me to the bone.
THEY’RE AFTER ME. GET ON SKYPE. I NEED HELP.
I didn’t know what to do. If Dennis was in trouble with these things, then I had to help. I couldn’t just leave him. But, after him… they might turn their sights on me.
I had to help. I wasn’t going to just leave him hanging. Especially if he was in danger. I logged onto Skype, added his new account and immediately got a video chat request.
Dennis was in his apartment with the lights off and he looked terrified.
“What’s going on?” I asked as I leaned in.
“They’ve been following me around,” he spoke, his voice an exasperated whisper. “More and more of them keep coming around. And not just to fill in the holes. They’re watching me.”
“Are you sure?”
In response, he lifts up his laptop and carried it out to what looked to be the kitchen. He set it down in front of a window and drew back the curtain. I couldn’t make it out anything until he turned on the light.
My heart stopped.
I’d only seen one of them at a time. Maybe even two if something was a particularly big change. But there were at least three or four behind that window, just staring in with those empty, hooded faces. He quickly flicked off the light and turned the laptop back toward him.
“Do you see? I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to end up like Jerry. Tell me what to do!” He was getting more and more anxious. I had no idea what to tell him. I didn’t know what these things were. I didn’t know what they wanted. Or how to stop them. I opened my mouth but couldn’t form the words that he needed to hear.
And as I stammered to find out what to say, I saw them slip into the background behind him.
Through a freakin’ wall. With a cabinet.
“Dennis!” I yelled. “Behind you!”
He turned just as the first approached. God, there were a bunch slipping in now. Three, then four, then five… He never stood a chance.
The first reached forward with an inky arm and shoved it straight through his chest. There wasn’t any blood. Or even a sound safe for Dennis’s terrified scream. He began to writhe, grasping at his chest as the creature held him there by… I don’t even know what. His spine? His heart? Hell, it could’ve been his very soul for all I know. Then the others were on top of him. They fell onto him like a dark dog pile. Consuming him in their dark presence. I couldn’t scream. I couldn’t look away. I just watched as he faded from view as those creatures piled onto him. Then, slowly, ever so slowly… they backed away.
Dennis was gone. I bit back tears as I saw the empty space he had been in. I knew what had happened. He was gone. Erased. Nobody would even remember him. He was a hole that had to be filled in and taken care of.
Then their attention turned to the computer. To me.
My eyes widened as I realization hit me. I was another hole. I was an issue in their grand scheme. A thorn that had to be plucked. A part that drew attention to the inaccuracies of this world they were trying to design.
And I had to be taken care of.
I didn’t even bother to turn off the computer. I just stood and turned only… to find myself face to face with a horde of them. In my own house. In my own room. My back went to my desk as one, shadowy shade glided to me. Its arm rose and I could almost make out the tendrils of its foggy black cloak and the individual digits of its dark fingers. I couldn’t move. I was frozen. And then… it struck.
I didn’t physically feel the hand shove into my chest. But I felt it somewhere deeper. Like it was grabbing an intimate part of my being. I felt violated, exposed, and most of all… completely terrified. I screamed as it began to squeeze. It hurt. It hurt so fucking much. My vision blurred but I could see the others move around me. They filled in a circle around my body, regardless if there was something in their way or not. They just… glided through like those things weren’t there.
And then they fell upon me. Black hit me from every side. I screamed but no sound came out. I could feel that hand wrenching back, pulling something so personal to me away. My body felt limp then… I started to feel nothing. It inched along my limbs, slowly turning my feelings of cold, pain and terror into absolute nothing. I could only describe it as a feeling of being… erased. There was feeling – strong feeling – and then nothing. It slowly inched along, riding up along my arms and legs until it consumed my whole being. The pain faded along with it along with the sounds of the world and my vision before me. Soon, nothing was before me but pure blackness.
I was gone. I knew it. I was dead. Or worse. I didn’t exist any longer. Stretched out before me was nothing but darkness. I tried to call out into the void, to claw my way forward, but I couldn’t move a limb. More like, though, I didn’t have a limb to move or a mouth to yell. I was just an essence. A leftover floating in an endless void of nothing.
I’m still there. In pure, nothingness. I can’t move or I don’t think I have anything left to move. It’s gone. Every part of me is gone. I wonder what happens now. I wonder what Jake’s destiny was. I also began to wonder if this was death or something worse. A punishment for sticking my nose in places it shouldn’t be. Is this death or pure erasure? I’m sure Dennis is feeling the same things I’m feeling. I can almost imagine him too, floating in the same void. Maybe one day we’ll meet each other. It’s a hope that I try to keep alive. It keeps me sane that I might, one day, not be alone here.
That’s the end of my story. I wish it was better. I wish I could say I fought back and saved myself. At least, that I was on the run. But, some plots don’t have happy endings. However, I’m sure I’ve left you wondering one final thing. If I’m dead or… erased, then how could I have written this? Well, my poor friend, you’ve just discovered your first plot hole.
Be wary if you see any more.
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