The Hole — Chapter 1

A Novel of Supernatural Apocalypse

Aaron Ross Powell

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Elliot sat on the front steps of his house and sipped a warm Dr. Pepper as he watched his neighbor drag her husband’s corpse to the curb.

She was short, dark haired — like a pixie. Her husband was fat and stiff and filthy. Elliot liked her look. He was used to her husband’s.

Setting down the pop can, still feeling numb at the horror his life had turned into, Elliot realized he’d come to assume he was the only one left. It was a shock that this woman was alive.

He stood and walked across the lawn toward her. “Need help?” he called.

She turned and stared at him. Elliot smiled and lifted his arm in a half-hearted wave. He said, “You want me to help you?” Now only a handful of paces away, he said, “Evajean, right? Your name’s Evajean?”

She nodded, the dead man’s wrists huge in her small hands.

“I’m Elliot. I live next door.” He looked down at the body. “Where are you taking him?”

“Away,” she said.

“Okay. I’ll help. If he’s too heavy for you, I’ll help carry him.”

She nodded. “Okay,” she said. “Yeah.”

Elliot took the large man’s ankles, which were cold and greasy and the skin slid too easily over the bone. They moved him to an old Subaru — rusted and flaked, with the shadows of bumper stickers across the back — parked in front of Evajean’s house. She pulled keys from her pocket, unlocked the car, and lifted hatchback. “In here,” she said.

Elliot didn’t move. He thought, in the trunk?

Evajean didn’t seem to notice. She lifted and strained, trying to pull the body into the car. After a moment, Elliot shook his head, briefly closed his eyes, and helped her.

When they had her husband stowed away, Evajean reached up and yanked the hatchback closed. She looked through the dusty window at the body, her hands pressed to the glass.

Elliot stood behind her, one foot up on the curb, and waited. A moment later, Evajean turned away. “I’m going inside now,” she said.

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Aaron Ross Powell

Host of the ReImagining Liberty podcast. Writer and political ethicist. Former think tank scholar.