His jaw almost dropped the first time he saw the opening. It had been in the roof above his boss, right in the middle of the weekly team meeting. They were sat in the large conference room, all 13 team members, doing a review of the previous week’s performance. His boss, James Egarim, had been walking through the slides projected on the large screen in front of the room when the opening had appeared right above his head. Mark’s coffee mug was on its way to his mouth, when he had heard the strange hissing, then the crackling sound, and he had looked up just in time to see the opening.
The best way to describe it was a mini black hole with pixelated box-like edges that had appeared right in mid-air. Initially, its size was about that of a fist, but as Mark watched, the pulsating black mass became wide enough to swallow his boss, James, by his head and shoulders. Mark’s eyes had widened, his hand, trembling, almost spilt his coffee onto the keyboard of his open laptop as his jaw dropped. He expected everyone to jump to their feet in shock at what he was seeing, but in that split second when the brain takes in contextual information and makes a decision, he realised this was a reality that was only his; no other person was shocked, scared or in awe at a mysterious black opening that had appeared above his boss from nowhere.
Basically, no one else could see it.
“Mark Emery, are you okay?”
James was looking at him and Mark realised that his mouth was open, his eyes were wide and that the whole room was looking at him now. His boss had a thing for calling people’s full names. Mark had joined the organisation about 4 month’s ago, would be confirmed in two months and had been doing his best to be on top of his game - and also integrate well with his team members. A lot was riding on this job and he did not want to be disqualified for the esoteric “lack of fit” because people did not like him or found him unusual.
“I…I… I am”, he managed.
“Are you sure? You look like you just saw a ghost”, James said. There was a slight look of concern on his face. Or maybe it was “professional courtesy”.
“I, er…” his voice broke off, his eyes darted from James to the hole above his head, which was now pulsating and shape shifting in a bizarre way. For a split second, he considered pointing everyone else to the hole and then he stopped. “I am okay”.
“Okay, Mark. But remember, if you are feeling unwell, you can ask for some time off.”
“Ok, thank you, James”, he responded. His eyes darted around the room, but it was clear no one could see the opening. He swallowed involuntarily and as though that was its cue, the black hole began to shrink rapidly. In a few second, it had vanished, as though it never existed.
Later, as he walked towards the washroom, where he went to from time to time just to get away from “peopling” for a bit, he thought about the incident. And in some strange way, he felt a combination of sadness, loneliness and an emotion he could not place a finger on. He was not a religious person, but what he had seen could only fit the description of a vision, except he was losing his mind and did not know it. From the things he had read and heard about visions, they did not happen all the time, so he hoped this craziness would not repeat itself.
It never did, but then, something else happened...