The location of the house was perfect but there was too much space
A couple viewing a house find an unexpected feature in the attic
Today’s flash fiction piece is from James C. Holland. James is based in the UK and has recently concluded his series of alien invasion gardening columns for Bear Creek Gazette. He has also been published in Bureau of Complaint, Spare Parts Lit and The Story Nook. Previously he wrote an illustrated story for Brighton: The Graphic Novel by QueenSpark books. He has performed at the Edinburgh Festival in "Choose Your Own Edventure," an interactive storytelling show, and "Shoegazing," a stand-up show about shoes. He has long Covid which is exhausting but has given him time to discover the joys of flash fiction. Visit him on Twitter or his website.
“This is the master bedroom,” said Tim, the realtor.
Jen looked around at the chintzy décor. It looked disgusting, but she could see the potential in the place. It just needed a lick of paint and a bit of love. She looked over at Keith, who was scowling at a lamp.
“It’s a fantastic property,” said Jen.
“Can I look in the attic?” said Keith.
The realtor beamed at them.
“Ah! Yes! That’s a bit of a… feature, actually.”
“Good. I really need the storage space for my Star Wars toys… I mean, collectibles. They’re valuable!” Keith said defensively.
The realtor’s smile didn’t falter; he just stepped onto the landing and opened a hitherto unnoticed door.
“Ooh!” said Jen
“A secret door,” said Keith
“Yes! Be careful on the stairs. They are rather steep and narrow… but they maximise the space available for this wonderful, wide, light, airy landing.” Tim waved an arm over the perfectly normal landing. “After you,” he waved his other arm toward the ladder-like stairs.
Jen noticed an odd glow as she ascended. She pushed herself up from the attic floor, then turned and stopped.
“Keith,” she gasped, “Come and see!”
Keith huffed as he emerged from the floor with difficulty. He stood and saw.
Floating in mid-air at the centre of the generous attic space was a large ball made up of glittering points of light.
“What’s this!?” Keith spat.
Tim emerged from the floor after him.
“It’s the feature I mentioned. It’s…” Tim looked for the right words, “As far as we can tell, it’s the universe.”
“It’s beautiful!” exclaimed Jen.
“It’s taking up storage space, is what it is,” grumbled Keith, “I assume the owner is taking it with them?”
“Ah. No. He passed away. Rather mysterious fellow. No known relatives.”
“So, you’re getting the house clearance people in?”
“It’s been cleared as much as possible. We’re not sure how to move an entire universe.” Tim shrugged, “Some sort of artificial gravity well? Not my area, I’m afraid.”
“So, we’d be stuck with it! I wondered why the price was so low. I thought it must be damp. But it turns out it’s the universe.”
Keith stepped toward the ball of tiny lights and raised his hand.
“Keith, don’t!” cried Jen.
He poked one of the points of light with his finger. It flew apart into a thousand motes of brilliant dust.
“What was that!?” said Jen.
“I believe your husband just destroyed a galaxy.”
“Fiancée,” corrected Jen. “We’re not married yet.”
“So, we can get rid of it!” said Keith triumphantly.
“Yes… ish. It’s actually our universe. So, in clearing the storage space, you would also be destroying yourselves. …and all of creation.”
Keith harrumphed as if he was still weighing it up.
The realtor continued optimistically.
“Other house-hunters have loved the revelation about the fractal nature of our existence. It’s a conversation piece for the house warming!”
“We’ll take it!” announced Jen. She turned and reversed down the ladder-stairs.
“But where will I put my Star Wars… collectibles?”
“Well,” said the realtor, waving a hand at the universe, “In a way, they’re already here.”
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