The Black Hole in the Bedroom

A short fable

August 18, 2022

Mike opened his eyes and glared at a corner of the dimly lit room. It was there, on the floor, a speck of black darker than the grayness surrounding it. He scooped up a stray sock off his bed and threw the sock at the black spot. The sock disappeared.

The force of the throw shook the bed, waking Jasper, his cat. Jasper got up, stretched slowly and carefully tiptoed through the books, papers and cast off clothing to snuggle against Mike's chest. Mike's heart slowed as he cradled the cat close to him.

"Do you see it, Jasper?" he whispered. The cat stared at him, puzzled, then pushed a furry head against Mike's hand. Mike sighed and scratched Jasper's ears. The cat purred.

"You don't understand, do you?" Mike gently scolded. "There's a black hole in that corner. Look!" He turned Jasper's head with his hand. "I heard Dad talking to Mom the other day. He said there must be a black hole in my room because so much stuff disappears in here."

The cat, annoyed, jumped out of Mike's arms, padded halfway across the bed and sat down, licking himself with loud, raspy noises.

Mike stared at the spot. He armed himself with another sock. The spot showed no sign of changing. Eventually his eyes refused to stay open and he fell asleep.

The next morning, his older sister Chris sat at the kitchen table, eating breakfast. Mike slid into a chair next to her and frowned.

"What's wrong?" Chris asked.

"Something strange is going on." He dropped his voice. "It's in my room at night."


Mike didn't know how to explain. He thought awhile, then said, "Listen, can you come into my room tonight? Then I could show you."

"Sure, kid. See you later. I have to get going now, though, or I'll be late for science class."

"Thanks," Mike said with a sigh of relief. "Later."

That evening, Mike led Chris up to the bedroom, running ahead to bang open the door and switch on the light.

"What a rat's nest!" Chris exclaimed.

Mike had to admit his room was not very clean. In fact, it looked like the aftermath of a tornado. Books lay piled up on every flat surface available. Graded school papers dripped off into white puddles on the floor. Dirty clothes were strewn about in big heaps. It was always embarrassing for anyone to see his room. But he was never upset enough to clean it up.

"Now, Chris, don't give me a hard time. I didn't ask you here to lecture me."

"Yeah, okay. What was it you wanted me to see?"

Mike clicked off the light.

"There, in the corner. The dark spot."

Chris was not impressed. "So?"

"Watch." Mike grabbed a dirty sock off the bed and threw it. The sock disappeared.

"Hey, that's cool! How'd you do that?"

"But I didn't!" exploded Mike. "It just happens."

"Uh, Mike. . . . I think it's getting bigger."

Mike panicked and grabbed some papers off the floor, crumpling and throwing as fast as he could. Some fell short of the hole, but those that went in disappeared.

The hole appeared to stretch. It began to pull papers to it. Jasper ran by, chasing a rat. The rat disappeared into the black hole. Mike grabbed Jasper and pulled the cat back from the brink.

"You know what this is, Mike? You've got so much junk in here, you've made a black hole."

"What?" Mike's jaw dropped open.

"It's a black hole. A black hole forms because there is so much stuff in such a small spot that gravity gets really strong and everything gets sucked into it. The gravity in a black hole is greater than anywhere else in the universe. It is so strong that nothing can escape from it."

A whirlwind formed in the corner. Papers danced. Clothing rose. Books circled around. The black hole began to pulse. There was a brilliant flash of light.

"It's gone nova!" Chris shouted. They hit the bed, face down, while books, papers, clothes and toys were forced out of the hole and shot out all over the room.

The bedroom was dim again, but the hole was gone. Mike picked himself up. He and Chris dug into the mess to rescue Jasper. The three of them sat on the bed together, catching their breath. After awhile, Chris spoke. "Uh, Mike?"


"Would you please clean your room?"

"Oh, Chris," Mike said. "You sound just like Mom and Dad."

"Come on, I'll help you," Chris said.

"Yeah, I guess I don't want any more black holes in here. They're messier than I am!"

And they began putting things away.

© Copyright 2022, Bonnie Ferron