“Will you look at that!” said Emily, staring at a small black dot on her brand-new kitchen worktop. She ran her index finger over the mark to see if it was just a speck of food or some such thing sticking to the pristine white marble.

Her husband Rick, who was peeling some carrots to prepare for dinner that evening, put his knife down on the chopping board and peered at it as well.

“Is something stuck to the work surface?” he asked. “Or perhaps it’s a chip?”

“It better not be,” replied Emily. “The kitchen fitter said that this marble was even harder than granite.”

Rick stared at the dot. “I suspect he may have been lying. The kitchen company certainly stretched the truth when they gave us the quote. You know what their salespeople are like.” Rick licked his finger, then ran it over the dot. “Hmm, it feels like there’s an indent there. It’s certainly not something stuck to the worktop.”

Emily tried to wrinkle her botoxed brow in response. She’d had her latest facial treatment at the health farm only two weeks ago and was still struggling with her ability to register any sort of meaningful facial expression.

“We paid a small fortune for that marble!” her voice raising as it always did when she became anxious. “I don’t expect it to mark like that.”

Rick put the peeler down and took his mobile phone from his pocket. He switched on the phone light, illuminating the offending mark.

“It’s definitely some sort of hole,” he pronounced. He wondered to himself if a bit of Botox on the worktop might fix the issue, given the marble-like appearance of his wife’s forehead.

Emily glared at him. “Have you been chopping food on the work surface without using a chopping board? You promised faithfully that you would use one once we had the new kitchen in.”

“I am using the chopping board, darling - look, I’m using one now,” he replied, pointing at the half peeled carrots in front of him. “Anyway, that’s not a scratch -it’s a hole. Perhaps it’s a fault in the marble and we just never noticed it.” He leaned closer, trying to establish exactly what it was he was looking at.

Emily put her hands on her hips and addressed her (in her own mind) incompetent husband. She paused for a second, pushing her bleached-blonde fringe away from her eyes. “Just give me the light. Your eyes are useless anyway.” She grabbed the phone from Rick, who meekly surrendered it to her, having long since given up on trying to argue with her when she was in an angry mood like this.

“Help yourself, boss,” he said, watching her illuminate the dot with his mobile.

“Well, that’s weird,” said Emily, as she stared at the worktop.

Rick chuckled. “What’s weird–me calling you boss, or you not reacting to me calling you boss?” He smiled to himself, rather pleased with this riposte.

Ignoring him, Emily exclaimed, “It looks like it’s got bigger!”

“What do you mean, bigger?” replied Rick.

“I mean, it looks bigger, you idiot. Bigger, B I G G E R.” She spelt the word out. “It’s not a hard word to understand, is it? It looks bigger than it did when I looked before.”

“Let me see,” said Rick, gently pushing Emily’s shoulder. She glowered at him, then moved away.

He laid his head level to the work surface to get a better view.

“I don’t think it’s bigger,” he pronounced. He moved his head back a little. “Although now you come to mention might be right.”

“You haven’t been changing your car battery in the kitchen or something stupid like that? Could you have spilled some acid on it?” said Emily.

“Acid?” replied Rick, lifting his head up from the worktop. “Who you think I am–Dennis Nielsen?” He pushed back the wicked thought that raced through his mind. “Acid wouldn’t do this, and anyway, why would I bring my car battery into the kitchen?”

Emily’s frustration increased another hundred percent. “Who’s Dennis Nelson and what has he got to do with anything? You do talk rubbish sometimes.”

Rick sighed. “Its got to be some sort of chemical reaction to something. I’ll see what I can find to clean it.” He opened the kitchen cupboard above his head containing the myriad of household cleaning products that his wife insisted they stock.

“What are you doing?” said Emily, scratching at an itch that has just appeared on her left index finger.

“I’ll try a bit of savon noir,” said Rick. He took a bottle from the shelf and put it on the worktop. Picking up the kitchen sponge, he squeezed out a dollop of the brown liquid soap onto its surface.

“Be quick, Richard,” said Emily, “we don’t want it getting any worse.” Rick scrubbed away for a few seconds, then wiped the soap away.

“Well?” said Emily.

“Can you believe that?” said Rick as a small bubble formed in the soapy patch he’d created. The bubble popped, leaving the clearly expanding hole visible to them both.

“Do something!” shouted Emily, scratching at her index finger again.

“Like what?” replied Rick.

“I don’t know. You’re a man. Fix it!”

The hole, now the size of a small pea, seemed to stare back at them both.

“You’ve made it worse, you idiot!” screamed Emily. “My worktop is ruined now, and it’s all your fault!”

More bubbles appeared. There was no doubt now that the hole was growing, and doing so before their very eyes.

“Call the police,” said Emily, thrusting the mobile phone at Rick.

“Look! Look at that!” said Rick, pointing towards the edge of the ever-increasing hole. “Its like something off Alien. The marble’s dissolving!”

“Why are you talking about aliens now?” said Emily. “Are you out of your mind, you stupid man? DO SOMETHING!” She chewed on her itchy nail.

Rick looked into the hole again. “There are things moving around in there!” He could see small silver dots scurrying around the edges of the hole. “It looks like there are bugs or something in there. I think they’re eating the marble!”

Emily went to the utility cupboard and grabbed a large red plastic bottle. “Pour this on them. It’s drain cleaner.” Rick grabbed it, wrestling with the child-proof cap for a couple of seconds, then pouring the fluid onto the worktop. As he watched the drain cleaner fluid spread across the white marble, he heard a blood-curdling scream from behind his head.


Emily was holding her hand in front of her face. “My finger. It’s stinging - there’s something on my nail! Eaghhhhh!”

“Quick, put your hand under the tap,” said Rick, trying to remain calm but failing miserably. He ran the water for a few seconds, then pulled her hand away. He could just make out the same small silver dots moving around the nail of her index finger. She put her finger in her mouth and started sucking at it with a vengeance.

“Don’t do that!” shouted Rick, pulling her hand away. Surprised by his sudden move, she lashed out, pushing him backwards as she did so. He slipped and grabbed at her to keep his balance. She tumbled backwards herself, hitting her head on the corner of the worktop as she fell. Looking on in horror, Rick could see hundreds of the tiny silver running around Emily’s palm. Grabbing the drain cleaner, he poured the rest of the bottle onto her hand. To his astonishment, she sat up and screamed at him again. “You imbecile. That’s splashed in my eyes. Wake up, wake up Richard!!”

Rick sat up in bed with a start, Emily furiously kicking him under the sheets. “You’re having a nightmare again. God knows why I sleep in the same bed. Go back to sleep before I kill you,” she growled.

“I’m getting a glass of water,” he said, lowering his legs from the bed and putting his slippers on. He glanced at his watch. It was four in the morning and he felt like he’d had no sleep at all. Still a little disoriented by the dream, he flipped the landing light on and took the stairs down to the ground floor. He pushed open the kitchen door and switched the light on in there as well. The glare from the white worktop dazzled him, and he squinted to get his eyes used to the brightness. As he did so, he noticed a large back dot on the surface of the marble.

As his brain attempted to process what he was seeing, he heard his wife shouting, “SWITCH THE LANDING LIGHT OFF–I’M TRYING TO SLEEP YOU IDIOT!”

Pausing only for a moment, he grabbed the back door key and his overcoat then slipped out of the house, closing and locking the door behind himself for good measure.

Create Your Own Website With Webador