The hole is about four inches in diameter. It probably started its life as just a puncture in the thin sheet metal; someone then taking the time to bore it out larger and larger; a screwdriver working the metal, prying it apart with every ratcheting turn. The outside edges are wrapped in silver duct tape, although the silver isn’t quite so silver any more. Repeated use has left it dingy and gray. The tape is protection, a pitiful attempt to make it safe; delicate skin does despise a rough edge. The hole is hard to see, it isn’t something you would even notice if you weren’t looking for it; maybe in better light, but not as things are. A strip of fluorescent lights tells a sad love story, one must have recently died and in its grief, the other decided to give up the fight. It coughs and sputters, refusing to live on without its mate. This is when the alarms start to go off. A voice in the back of my mind screams for attention and panic sets in.
Previously published in the Menda City Review.
Aaron Z. Hawkins is a writer of short creative non-fiction and fiction. He currently lives with two college degrees and a cat, somewhere south of the Mason Dixon Line. Aaron’s work has appeared in the Menda City Review, Halfway Down the Stairs, Another 100 Horrors, and InfectiveINK.