The lights were on when Simon woke up, still slumped against the wall by the door. With the lights on he could see clearly what was blocking his way. Beyond the door were stairs but they were covered with rubbish. Boxes and toys and broken, jagged things stuffed down the stairwell and crammed up high. They were thick with dust and when Simon reached out to push something experimentally, the whole mass shifted and a cloud of dust billowed out into the air, making them all cough.

There was something else in the air though, a pungent smell Simon couldn't recognize. He followed his nose and it lead him to the Hole. It had provided for them! Under the Hole lay a pile of mush and a sticky, red substance. Scooping up some with his hands he brought it to his face and sniffed it. It smelt sweet, strange, alien. It had a strange texture to it and it gave Simon an idea. Bringing it over to Carl, he slowly daubed the red goo as far down Carl's throat as he dared. The goo slid down easily and Carl's eyes squinted as they did when he was smiling. He spent the next half hour slowly feeding Carl before he took the remainder of the food to Sally.

Sally rolled over painfully in her cot and turned to face him. "The Hole provides. He is giving you another chance Simon. Close the door, forget those terrible thoughts."

Simon remained silent as he fed Sally. When he was finished he wiped his hands on his rags. "I can't Sally. Don't you see, this doesn't mean anything."

"What happened to you Simon? Didn't God love you enough? Why would you think that?"

Tears welled up in his eyes as he tried to hold on to his anger. It was the only thing he had left. If he admitted he had been wrong, then that would mean he had been the cause of all this, that God had punished them because of him, that they had eaten Ben, because of what he had done, because he hadn't had faith.

"It's not true. He never loved us." Simon said weakly.

"Don't say that Simon. I, if nothing else, am proof of that." Sally said, taking hold of Simon's hand and placing it on her stomach. Simon's lip trembled as he felt the faint beating of a heart through her skin.

"No. NO!" Simon yelled, ripping himself away from her as if she were poison. "I'm leaving, we all are!"

He ran over to the stairs and began pulling and tugging as the detritus, pulling out boxes and hurling them across the room. Something shattered in his hand and he dropped it, retreating away as the rubbish avalanched down towards him. A dust cloud filled the room and took a while to settle but when it did, Simon climbed back into the stairwell. After the avalanche he could see fully to the top, past jutting poles and the corners of boxes to another door at the top. What was behind it? Maybe it was Heaven.

He looked back at Sally and Carl and saw the look in their eyes, one of condemnation and fear. He knew they would never forgive him but he was past caring. God had left them behind, abandoned them and Sally and Carl didn't deserve that whatever Simon had or hadn't done. Ben hadn't deserved it. God was wrong and Simon would see the others out of here if it killed him. God had failed the others, but he wouldn't.

He began to climb.

* * * * *

Claire had finished sweeping up the shards of glass and put them in the bin but she was still disturbed by the sounds she had heard earlier. Paul had made her angry, mocking her like that. She knew he hadn't meant any harm but she was frightened and his comments had just pushed the wrong buttons. She felt bad for yelling at him. Thinking of him reminded her of the noises and thinking of the noises creeped her out again. Letting out a deep breathe she composed herself and tried to rationalise it all. Maybe it had been something stuck in the pipes and what she had heard was water gurgling past it. Yes, that must have been it. Nonetheless she didn't want to hear it again so she moved the tap over the garbage disposal and let it run, hopefully it would knock whatever was blocking the pipes free.

"Hey, you okay?" Paul, freshly clothed, asked from the doorway.

Claire turned around. "Yeah."

"I'm sorry about earlier, why don't we go out for breakfast? My treat."

"That'd be nice."

The tap was still running when they left.


The End

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