"That should do it." Paul said, wiping his brow as he shut the door of the fusebox and climbed down the stepladder.
The lights flickered back to life as Claire walked into the hall from the kitchen. Her long brown hair was tied back in a bun and covered by a green headscarf Paul had bought her a few years ago and she was wearing a pair of yellow rubber gloves and an apron.
"That's great honey! You know what that means?" She said, leaning on one of the numerous cardboard boxes in the hallway.
"XBox!" Paul grinned.
Claire pouted and rolled her eyes. "No, it means you can put the kettle on and make your poor wife a brew."
Paul chuckled and scooped up Claire in his arms carrying her back into the kitchen with him.
"Love you too."
Paul looked around at the kitchen, Claire had been busy. Stacked high were piles of wet, gleaming cutlery.
"Did you clean everything?" Paul blinked.
"Well everything would have got bits on and made everything taste weird."
Paul just shook his head and flipped the switch on the kettle. As he did, he noticed the sink had a garbage disposal.
"Hey, did you try this out? Could be useful."
Claire pulled a face. "No, those things creep me out, too many bad horror movies have convinced me I'm gonna lose a hand to those things."
Paul rolled his eyes and lowered his arm into the garbage disposal area of the sink, folding his arm along the bottom as he did so to make it look like he was putting his hand inside.
"It's perfectly safe, look-ARRRRRRGH!"
"Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!" Paul laughed as he revealed his arm.
Claire stared daggers at him. "You bastard! I can't believe you did that!"
"Oh come on!" Paul said, still laughing and wiping tears from his eyes
Claire raised an eyebrow and put her hands on her hips. "I was going to say we could put the bed together next, but now I'm not so sure."
"Whuh? Oh! Oh come on, I was just kidding, it was funny!"
"Keep digging, mister." Claire grinned, miming shovelling motions. "Besides, I have all this drying to do."
"Let me take care of that." Paul said a little too eagerly as he grabbed a tea towel from the counter.
"Fine, I'm going to plug in the phone and see if they've activated the line yet."
"Uhuh." Paul grunted, thinking of the bed as he dryed his way through the cutlery.
Claire plugged in the phone in the hall and the dialtone buzzed in her ear indicating the line was indeed active. Browsing through the takeout menus that she had collected and put on the side earlier she picked a local pizza place.
"Paul," she yelled, "I'm gonna get pizza, you want anything?"
"Errr, the usual."
She placed the order and by the time Paul had finished drying up the door bell rang. Claire answered the door.
"Pizza delivery." The delivery boy said, looking down the hallway. "Hey, you just move in?"
"Yeah, me and my husband." Claire said fishing in her purse for money. "Sorry about this."
"Oh no worries. It's £10.98 by the way. Never thought we'd see people move back in here after what happened."
Claire gave him a look as she pulled out a twenty pound note.
"Uh, sorry, you probably don't want to hear about that do you. Uh, do you have anything smaller?"
"No." Claire said fishing around in her purse again. "Paul!"
"Do you have a tenner?"
"Go on then." Claire sighed, holding the pizzas. "Tell me the horror stories, we already know about the incident here."
"Errr, well it's not just that. They say it's haunted by all the kids they used to, you know. People say they heard voices, seen things. S'why nobody stayed for long."
"Until now." Paul said as he came to the door witha tenner in hand. "Bunch a rubbish, I think."
"Don't be rude." Claire chided Paul, handing over two pound coins. "Well thanks for the pizzas. Bye."
They closed the door on the delivery boy before he could give them their change.
"Cheeky little sod!" Exclaimed Paul. "Fancy saying something like that. Customer service at it's bloody finest."
"You think there's any truth to it?" Claire said, a slice of pizza already halfway in her mouth.
They sat down on some boxes in the hallway and munched for a while before Paul answered.
"Well, I expect the neighbours will hear some ooos and ahhhhs tonight."
* * * * *
Simon could have sworn he'd heard a sound coming from the Hole. They'd heard noises before, back when God still came to them and occasionally afterwards but since the last time it had provided the Hole had been silent. He couldn't help but feel a surge of hope and he hated himself for it, but there it was. Sounds from the hole meant God had returned, he'd come back. He looked at the remains of Ben sadly and wondered what God would think of them.
Carl had heard it too, Simon could tell from the grunting noises he was making. Carl would probably die next, without Ben to feed him he would starve. Simon had tried to do it but Carl had nearly choked to death and even Sally had sat up to try and help him cough the pieces of Ben back up. They hadn't wanted to waste any more and so Simon and Sally and shared the coughed up morsels and the rest of Ben between them and Carl had gone hungry. The light had stung Simon's eyes when it had come back on, they had been in the dark for so long they had almost forgotten what it was to see. At first they had been excited but they quickly curbed their enthusiasm, not wanting to tempt fate. Light, Simon reasoned, might have been caused by anything. The others had reacted hostilely to that nugget of thought. God had made everything, what could the light be if it was not from Him? Simon didn't have an answer but he didn't believe it was God who had brought it back either. God had left them, made them eat Ben. Why would he do that if he loved them as much as he had said? Why would love them only to leave them to die? His faith was shaken and despite the recent events he couldn't believe that God had come back.
He realised, sadly, that he'd finally managed to stop hoping.