Mary started to give Bob a look, but thought better of it. Instead she crossed her arms, stared at him and waited. He took her by the arm and walked her over to the wall, standing her at a bit of an angle.
“Watch my hand,” he told her and extending the fingers of his left hand, quickly pressed them into the spot on the wall until the fingers as far as his wedding ring disappeared.
“Bravo,” replied Mary, clapping her hands slowly. “I didn’t know you were back into practicing magic, again. You must have dug out your old trunk of magic tricks from the attic.” She looked at the expression on Bob’s face and realized that wasn’t the response he wanted. “Well it was a trick, wasn’t it? A pretty impressive trick, I’ll admit, but a trick, wasn’t it?” Bob shook his head.
Mary reached out her hand, and before Bob could stop her, she touched the spot on the wall where his hand had disappeared. Nothing happened. She curled her hand into a fist and knocked on the spot. It sounded like a normal knock. Bob pulled her hand away from the wall.
“Please don’t do that,” cautioned Bob. “Last time I reached in I thought something touched me.”
“What’s going on, Bob?”
“I don’t know. It’s like a secret passage only infinitely creepier. I have no idea what that is or where it goes.”
“Do all the walls react to you like that?” Mary asked.
“I don’t know,” Bob replied and he cautiously touched various parts of the other walls in the room. All of them were quite solid. “When I first noticed it I thought that there was a spot on the wall. Not actually a spot – more like a defect of some kind. I walked over to see what it was. When I touched it, it felt soft, so I thought some water had gotten behind the dry wall. Obviously that isn’t the case.” Mary put her arm around him.
“We need to call someone about this,” offered Mary.
“Who?” replied Bob. “If the Police come out, all they’ll see is a solid wall. It’s not like the Exorcist where we need to call a priest. Ghostbusters? I don’t think there’s anybody in the Yellow Pages who’s an expert on this.”
“Bob, we’ll figure out what’s going on. It’s weird, but we’ll figure it out. In the meantime, the kids are starving. Let’s eat and we can talk after dinner.”
Dinner was as normal as possible with the kids teasing one another, going for seconds and avoiding their vegetables. On the other hand, Bob didn’t speak as he stared more or less straight ahead throughout the meal. Hid fork repeatedly stabbed a piece of roast and placed it in his mouth with an almost robotic routine.
“Is Dad mad at one of us?” their oldest son asked.
“Don’t be silly,” Mary replied. “You’re father is struggling with a problem. It’s like metaphysics or quantum mechanics or something. Just let him think.”
“That’s what happens when you get too much education!” their youngest offered. This seemed to stir Bob from his thoughts.
“Sorry, everybody,” he offered. “What would you think if we were to move?”
“I don’t want to move!”
“Everybody please settle down,” Mary interrupted. “Nobody’s moving.”
“I was just wondering,” replied Bob. “Does anybody think this house is weird or creepy or anything?” Everyone around the table just stared back at him. “Sorry, must have had too much coffee. Tell you what, Mom and I will clean up after dinner tonight so you won’t have to.” This last statement was immediately met by the sound of chairs being pushed back and footsteps headed up the stairs.
“They wanted to get out of here before you changed your mind or told them you were joking,” Mary explained. She got up from the chair across from Bob and moved to the chair next to him. “You aren’t really thinking about moving, are you? One little incident – a freaky incident to be sure – but one freaky incident shouldn’t make you want to uproot the whole family.”
“No, of course not. I figured that if anybody else had experienced something exceptional, asking about moving would get them talking.” He got up and paced for a few minutes. “Do we have any chalk?”
“Sally has some of those big sticks for drawing on the sidewalk,” Mary replied. “Let me check in the garage.” She returned with several large pieces of colored chalk. Bob took the chalk and got a broom from the utility room. He walked over to the wall and tapped around it with the broom handle. It sounded quite solid. He tapped the adjacent wall to see if it sounded any different, but both walls sounded identical. Satisfied, he handed one of the pieces of the chalk back to Mary.
“I’m going to put my hand into the wall. I don’t want to put it in any farther than absolutely necessary until I have a better idea as to what we’re dealing with. I’ll trace around the edge of the hole so we can see how big it is. I want you to take the chalk and trace just outside where my hand is.” Mary nodded and stood next to him. Bob used his index finger to touch the wall and watched to make sure that a sliver of his fingernail remained visible as he felt for the edge of the hole. He was very careful to keep his weight on the foot farthest away from the wall so that if he felt something he would fall away from the wall rather than toward it. Although it seemed like an eternity, they were able to outline the hole in less than a minute. They stepped back. The chalk mark was more or less circular and slightly larger than a basketball.
“What do we do now?” asked Mary.
“I’m not sure,” replied Bob. “Maybe we could try and poke a video camera through the hole.”
“It didn’t let the broom handle through,” replied Mary. “Sounds like something we should try, but I suspect the camera will not go through the wall. Have you thought about cutting a hole in the wall?”
“Yeah, but I suspect that getting behind the wall won’t help in getting through the wall. The hole seems to be attached to the wall. It may not be wise to cut it free from the wall and possibly set it loose. Cutting a physical hole could make things worse.”
“I’d rather not.”
Bob put his arm around Mary as they silently stared at the chalk circle. Suddenly the chalk line began to move and stretch until it described a rectangular. There was no doubt that the chalk line was now meant to be a drawing of a door. Through the center of the rectangle a piece of paper appeared and floated to the floor at Mary’s feet. She picked it up.
“It says ‘Trust me. I’ll explain everything as soon as I can. Till then, trust me.'” She paused and swallowed hard. “Bob, it’s in your handwriting.”
To Be Continued