A Hole-in-the-Ceiling

As one of the most beloved inhabitants of the Amberville Manor, Kaap was mostly allowed to do as he pleased. Ayesha, Miles, Nigel and Benoit the household cook had done their utmost to make Kaap feel like he belonged.

But Kaap didn’t belong. In fact, he wasn’t even part of Existence, as a concept.

Kaap was a Hole-in-the-Wall, which meant he could take the shape of the environment he was in and even change it. His name – Hole-in-the-wall – had everything to do with his ability to freely transform into fully-functional holes, nooks, hollows and crevices. What many people didn’t know was that Kaap was capable of a lot more than just complex shape-shifting; he could imagine things true.

‘I want you to sit here quietly and watch telly till I get back,’ Vivian told Kaap one early morning, propping a large velvet cushion before the holographic emitter. ‘I left a crate of pine-corns by the door. Try not to eat them all at once. You know how that makes you barf out little Christmas trees.’

Kaap returned her a thin, crooked smile and stretched his dwarfish body across the cushion. Vivian gave him a sympathetic pat on the head and waved her hand, from right to left. The holographic emitter popped into being and projected in mid-air a series of moving pictures: animals in the wild, running, hunting, playing.

‘Animal Documentaries,’ said Vivian, pointing at the holo-screen. ‘Figured you might want to learn the fauna of this world,’ and in a swish of leather coat, she was gone.

Kaap tousled his colour-changing fur, his large yellow eyes following the translucent animals before him. Save the horns, they looked like the spitting image of Pelsinn Mounts – large, woolly, frightening.

Kaap rounded his eyes. “Pelsinn Mounts with long nose, Kaap thinks. Also tusks. Large flappy ear too. But Pelsinns alright. Kaap wonder if Kaap could—

The thought had barely formed in his mind when his body followed. Kaap’s dwarfish physique exploded outward, in a fit of tusks, fur and trunk. The fabric of reality quivered and wobbled, and what had been extinct for 4500 years was unexplainably enough, born again. Somewhere in the world, a palaeontologist woke up with a start, having felt a disturbance in the natural order of things.

‘Veik up Brunhilde! VEIK UP! Ey dreamt der mammoths lived nochmal!’ chorused Hilver Knochen to his snoozing wife.

‘Das gut, Hilver,’ mumbled Brunhilde, a strand of hair in her mouth. ‘Veik me when du dream a way zu pay unser mortgage,’ and promptly returned to her beauty-sleep (which she was visibly lacking).

Vivian Amberville’s sitting-room was still full of mammoth, but luckily enough, the halo-screen survived. Kaap gazed at the enormous lizard trumping through the air, and his young, all-imitating mind gave birth to an ambitious idea.

Vivian returned later that day only to find a Hole-in-the-Ceiling instead of a Hole-in-the-Wall.

‘The ceiling is no more!’ she gasped – and by “ceiling” she obviously meant the entire rooftops of the Amberville Manor, which had been blown to smithereens to make room for the misplaced forty feet tall wall of fangs that was Kaap.

Around the towering horror stood Ayesha, her hands flaying about angrily at the thought of how much cleaning this would take – with Angus Trimmings breaking into a fit of Tourettes and Chef Benoit practicing creative variations of “Oh crud!” in rapid Walloon. Only Miles Fenn seemed virtually undisturbed by this sudden Godzilla peeking out of the roof, and with the air of a man who couldn’t be bothered, he lazed in his lounge-chair and disappeared behind a copy of “God is a Robot”.

Vivian gazed in horror at the living-breathing Tyrannosaurus rex sprouting from the top of the Manor.

‘Of course!’ she punched herself in the head. ‘It was Dinosaur Week today!’

- Louise Blackwick

Advent 2017