A Crack in the Wall (A Newt Run Module)
By Chad Inglis
Copyright 2012 Chad Inglis
The house had other apartments but he took the one in the basement because it was all he could afford. It was a good size, with two rooms, and also had the advantage of its own kitchen, which meant that he wouldn't be forced to use the one in the main house when he wanted to cook. In this way he would also be able to avoid the other tenants, who he had no interest in meeting; after the break-up all he wanted was time alone, to try to come to grips with what had gone wrong, and decide where (if anywhere) he could go from here. Actually, the basement was perfect for him, and at first he couldn't understand why it was so cheap. Then he noticed the crack in the wall.
It was about two feet long, a jagged line running through the brickwork next to the stove. The edges were crumbling, and while it was not wide, it was obviously deep: there was a small hole in the center of it, no more than a finger's-width in diameter, but which was absolutely black, as if it passed straight through the wall and continued on into nothing.
"What's that about?" he asked the landlord.
"Damage from the last earthquake," the landlord said. "When it rains there might be some leakage, but we've had the building inspector in and he said there's no safety concerns. Let me know if it gets any worse."
He said he would, and then asked about signing the lease, which they did at the kitchen table, a slight smell of mould, or damp earth lingering in the air around them, like an unseen mist.