I awoke to find myself somewhere else. Or maybe the same place, but different. Older. The room was dim, dark and for a moment I thought that maybe I had finally fallen asleep, that I had dreamt the whole thing. I felt numb, cold and as I lifted myself up from the ground, there was the radio-static sound of frost tearing as my face lifted from the carpet.
It was the same room where I had entered the hole, but everything was coated in a thick layer of dust. Layer upon caked on layer, like someone had emptied a thousand vacuum bags into the room. A pale, sickly light shone in from the window and I stood up, leaving a homicide cut-out in the dust where I had been, and turned towards it. There was no breeze from the window and the curtain hung heavy with dust so I lifted it gently, sending a sheet of dust sliding to the floor as the fabric bent, and peeked outside. It was night time and the sky was full of old, dead stars I didn't recognise, outshone by a moon larger than I had ever seen, casting it's anaemic light.
I stretched my fingers, cracking my knuckles as the cold began to fade from my hands and face. This wasn't my home, wherever I was, even though every detail seemed to be replicated; the pattern of the wallpaper, the fading mould in the corner visible even now in the dim light. The pictures in their frames, the furniture, it was all the same but there was a wrongness about it, something out of place beyond the immediate oddness of the thickly caked dust. I shivered away the last of the cold and went for the door.
The door opened into my hallway, or at least a dusty facsimile. Again, everything was as I would have expected except for the dust. I crept towards my son's bedroom, afraid of what I might find. Or what I wouldn't. The dust rose in plumes as I crept forward, tickling my throat and I coughed, trying to hold it in. I looked around, afraid that someone or something may have heard me against all the evidence that I was alone. Nothing was there except for my footprints in the dust; large imprints like from a walk in the snow. I exhaled, relieved, and then the sound of glass breaking came from behind the door.
I pushed it open to find my son's room empty. Unlike the rest of the house, it was clean and I was suddenly shot through with shame as dust spilled into the sterile children's bedroom and danced around in the moonlight. I stepped inside and closed the door behind me. The window was opposite the door and the curtain swayed gently in the breeze that flowed through a break in the glass. I rushed over, pulling back the curtain to find blood, dark and thick, on the shattered glass edges of the window. The broken shards lay outside, on a rooftop that wasn't meant to be there. There was no roof below my son's window but here, where I was, rooftops stretched as far as the eye could see, tiles arranged in crazy patterns and muted colours, like the faded drawing in an old child's colouring book. Something had broken out of the room. Had it been my son? I looked to the bed and jumped as I saw something in it, the rise and fall of something breathing under the covers, hidden from view.
As my hand reached out there was an almighty screech and the covers burst back as something black and hairy leapt out in a blur and dashed towards me. I flung up my arm to protect myself and was spun around and sent sprawling on the floor. The thing was hanging in the window frame as I looked up, seemingly oblivious to the sharp glass cutting into it's hands and feet. It was like a monkey in appearance, it's hair coarse and wiry, like plastic, with a greasy sheen. It's eyes were sunken pits, rimmed red and yellow with bloody pus and it grinned an enormous grin, huge round horse teeth too large for it's mouth all pressed together, bloody red chunks of gooey meat lodged between them. It had eaten recently. My eyes widened in shock and as if that were a signal, it's bowed, almost comically like an actor at the end of a play, and shot out of the window, running across the roof tiles on his fists and feet. Swallowing my shock and fear, I rushed back to the bed, afraid of what I would find.
Just a bloody sheet, stained red and yellow. More of the thick, coarse hairs of the monkey creature littered amongst the filth. Nothing to confirm or deny my fears. Somehow I knew though that my son was alive and that whatever that thing was, it hadn't harmed him. I pocketed a few of the hairs and they felt rough and bristly against my skin, like the bristles on a toothbrush. I shuddered, but I needed every clue I could find. Perhaps there was someone in this place that could help me track it down. I had a feeling that wherever it had gone, my son would not be far away.
I sat on the bed, feeling cold again and rubbed my face to try and push the tiredness away. I was exhausted. Pinching the bridge of my nose, I tried to make sense of what had happened, but I couldn't. Nothing made sense. Then I realised that the cold feeling wasn't going away, but compressing, drawing into a localised point. I looked down at the source of the cold, it was my arm. The monkey creature must have bitten me when I tried to defend myself and taken a huge chunk of flesh away in it's teeth, but instead of a bloody wound there was nothing but blackness ringed with that visible humming I had seen only once before.
I had a hole in my arm.