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by Tyrel Kessinger

Nobody saw the hole when it first appeared which is understandable as for the first few days it was only large enough to swallow things like small insects and worms before moving on to snakes and foxes and bigger things. Why it began where it did no one knew but neither did they know precisely why there was an earth-devouring hole in the first place which was, decidedly, an unmeasurably more important matter. The hole—or what the world, rather anti-climatically and unimaginatively, named the Hole—showed no signs of stopping and soon the local authorities referred the problem up to the regional authorities before they handed it up to the state authorities who stepped in confidently with vague promises about putting an end to the problem before blaming it all on a president that hadn’t been in office in over twenty years. When the Hole ate its first town, a pitiful hamlet with the frighteningly prophetic name of Sinkton, people began to worry. Of course people were told not to worry which is mostly why people began to worry more than if no one had even said anything about it in the first place. No one was sure what to think or what to do, which, given the situation, was fair. But the funny thing about holes, the Hole would have told them, if holes were capable of sentient discourse, is that holes don’t care about anyone or what they might think or do. Still, as frightening as an insatiable black pit of unstoppable destruction was, significant amounts of shit didn’t hit the fan until the people with all the money began boarding rockets headed for outer space, and while no one cried when a few of them exploded in the stratosphere a lot of people did cheer. A religion called Holeology was founded on the lip of the Hole and a transient congregation called the Servants Of The Devouring Hole migrated with the movement of the hole’s hungry circumference. They preached that the Hole was humankind’s punishment for its empty existence, that it was a mirror to the insides of our very souls, whatever that meant. Plenty of people joined because what else was there to do, but just as many called it dumb to believe in something as silly as worshipping a hole, though whether this was due the inherency of humanity to excoriate what they don’t understand or because it was, in fact, silly to worship a hole, no one could really say. According to the bylaws of Holeology the faithful Servants were supposed to sacrifice someone to the Hole everyday, though not to appease any angry Hole god(s) or anything, but because it was inordinately boring at the edge of the Hole and watching someone be flung into a seemingly endless mawvoid was an immensely high dose of blood-stirring fun, unless of course you were the one being flung, in which case the fun factor rapidly dissipated and though they the thrown could take solace in the fact that soon everyone would soon be for the Hole, they rarely ever did. Another group said the Hole was a government plot to accomplish something that made no sense at all before swallowing several Tide pods and since no one ever gave evidence to the contrary, who’s to say they were wrong? From there, as they so often do, things only got worse. The Hole wolfed down famous landmarks, dive bars, rainforests and undiscovered dinosaur bones. Reasonably, fear of the Hole continued to dominate humanity as it spun further and further into strange chaos. Depressed people became un-depressed because now everyone was staring into the inky abyss of pointlessness and un-depressed people became depressed because they did not want to stare into the inky abyss of anything. Thousands of refugees trying to escape the hole’s path flooded the coastal cities and crime rates went up something like 10,000 percent according to an expert that somehow thought people still gave a shit about things like graphs and pie charts. It made complete sense to most people that, under the grim circumstances, murder, theft, rape, and mass destruction skyrocketed. In fact, many found this comforting, that even in the face of utter extinguishment some things never change and that humanity would continue to be one collective asshole until the last breath was taken. As always, drugs were a big hit. Some people, it was reported later, had parties right up until they tumbled into the throat of the Hole’s unsated mouth. Some people said they could hear the echoes of partygoers fading into the blackness, the notes of a Pusha-T song ethering into the eternity of oblivion. The last living person the Hole claimed was a Brazilian woman named Elonda Ribeiro who was standing at the base of Christ The Redeemer. In her last moments she thought about all the beautiful things she’d never had the chance to experience that had already fallen in the Hole. The Cayman Islands, the pyramids, exotic animals, exotic dancers, first class plane tickets. Long past being scared, Elonda wondered if what her daughter had told her after the Hole had devoured its first large metropolitan area was true, how Heaven was waiting at the bottom of the Hole. Her friends and family, her old pets, all the old CDs she’d lost the time her car had been stolen, and all the other beautiful things she’d never seen. But Elonda’s mother had raised no fool so she’d rolled her eyes at herself. Before the Hole took her, she decided she would give herself to it instead and dove in headfirst, figuring, sagely, that the envelope of an all-consuming nothingness was much better than the shape of hollow promises. As she fell she closed her eyes and pretended she was flying. This time, no one was around to say otherwise.

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