She gets up to go to the bathroom, shuffling her way across the dark bedroom because she doesn’t want to stumble on shoes or toys. The dark has an almost physical quality and she puts her hand up as if to part it. When her feet hit the cool tiles of the kitchen her skin prickles across her scalp.
She sees the blue glow of the stove clock but does not focus on it; she hates knowing how little time in the darkness she has left to herself. She is angry when she catches 2:43 from the corner of her eye.
In the bathroom, the white porcelain gleams with moonlight, giving the bowl a sepulchral look. She very nearly pees, wipes, flushes and leaves the bathroom without noticing the mirror. And it is not the mirror she notices, not at first. It is a cool flash of green, which after a moment she realizes is the big bottle of Listerine catching moonlight from the window and throwing it back. Someone has left the medicine cabinet door open.
She closes the mirrored door and sees the crack.
Was it there before? She has no memory of it glinting at her in the sunwashed daytime. It is thin and silvery and stretches in a jag from top to bottom and seems to glow as if lit from within. She leans in to look, and just as her instinct pulls her back the crack widens to a thick black snake.
Her heart does not pound. Later, she remembers this, though not much else. Her heart does not pound, but rather slows to a heavy thudding pace like a distant drum on the veldt.
As she watches, the crack widens some more. She is looking right at it and there is no doubt that that is what it was doing, widening as she looks at it, but though she knows this it is still hard to catch it in the act. It is sly, the way it widens, like an insincere smile. Very like a cat she once knew.
“Curiouser and curiouser,” she whispered, and the crack seemed to widen imperceptibly.
When she reaches out to touch the edge of the crack, she finds it is not sharp though it is cold. There is a damp smell coming from the blackness of the crack, a smell with a mineral tang to it, like river rocks, or a cave.
A light puff of air stirs the sweaty blonde bangs on her forehead.
I must be dreaming, she told herself, and having done so, it seems like the most natural thing in the world, she a wife and a mother with her loved ones dreaming away safe in their beds, to hoist herself onto the sink and slip through the crack to whatever lay beyond.