Down A Hole

by Connor Rohan '24 on November 12, 2023
Portfolio Staff


“Day eight hundred and forty-six…We’re still floating down into the dark, our food and water rations are running low. I, as the leader of the base, will have to come up with a plan soon. I don’t want to alarm anybody as the job of the group’s well-being falls on the leader’s shoulders, but if we continue to fall, we will have to resort to eating our crew. I already have my eyes on one…In fact I’m looking at them right now……”

A voice interrupts the voice log.

“Stop imagining eating me, it’s creepy. And how many times do I have to tell you, Henry, you aren’t the leader.”

Henry snaps out of their internal monologue and peers over at a shorter kid.

“You can’t blame me Sam, you’re the chubbiest one in the group, you have the most meat and can keep us fed for days.” 

“First off, we have enough food, so we don’t need to eat anybody! Secondly, don’t be rude.”

“I don’t see what the problem is! I was just being honest! Tell her, William!”

Henry looks over to the corners of the base, covering his eyes from the light given off by the giant hot air balloons tied to each corner. Below one of the balloons is a wiry kid covered in grease with thick goggles over his eyes. He doesn’t look up as he replies.

“You offended her, man. ”

“Say what you want, but I’m the only one thinking about our future here. Our food supply isn’t permanent, and I want us to have a plan in place when we run out.”

Over in the corner William curses and tosses his wrench to the ground before getting up and stretching.

Henry walks over to him and puts his hands on his hips.

“I take it you couldn’t fix it?”

“I can fix anything. It’s the tools I’m working with. It’s like trying to fix a rocket ship with twigs.”

“Only a bad engineer blames his tools. If you can’t fix it, you can’t fix it, no use wasting energy trying to.”

William clenches his fist, shaking.

“Are you calling me a bad engineer?”

Henry puts his hands up defensively.

“No. I’m saying that sometimes things are easier and harder for different people. If you can’t solve it the technical way, solve it your own way.”

“I’ve been trying to solve it my way.”

Sam comes up and places her hand on his shoulder, her eyes full of concern.

“Then take a break.” William sighs at her words.

“Everything looks the same, we’ve been floating down in this darkness with no idea if there’s going to be an end or if we’ll ever reach the bottom.I’ve lost track of time.”

Henry interjects, 

“Have you not heard my audio logs dictating the days here??”

Sam holds up a hand and glares  at Henry, telling him quietly to shut up, which he does, before she turns her attention back to William.  

“I know it’s been a lot, but think of it this way: if it wasn’t for you, we’d have been falling in complete darkness.”

William sighs again.

“Some great engineer I am. I can make fire and balloons.”

Sam’s tone is gentle.

“But if it wasn’t for you, we’d be much worse off. ”

William’s  posture softens. A small smile makes its way across his face as he lets out one last sigh.


Sam smiles as well.

“Of course, I’m happy to help.”

Her eyes widen and she starts to sputter.

“Of course, I only did it so the most important member of our group can’t be feeling down! How else are they supposed to get us out of here if they’re doubting themselves?”

William looks into her eyes.

“You think I’m the most important member of the group…? That’s really nice of you.”

Sam’s face grows warmer, and she sputters again, letting out several strange noises before shoving him away.

“That…That’s not what I meant!”


Sam huffs and turns away, storming off to the far corner of the base. Henry looks over William’s shoulder.

“What did you do?”

William watches her storm away and shrugs.

“I have no idea…”

Henry laughs, slapping him on the back, making him stumble. 

“Well! Glad I’m not you!”

William composes himself, finding his balance again and looking up at Henry.

“Yeah well, the feelings are mutual. I’m going to get something to eat.”

Henry’s eyes widen, sparkling with excitement.

“Ooh!! I’ll come! I could eat too!”

“You really think you need it? Didn’t you just have something?”

Henry smiles at him.

“Well yeah, but eating with someone is always better than eating alone! So, I’ll eat with you! Good for morale.”

He ushers William towards the spot of their makeshift food area.

“I gotta make sure you’re caught up with all my logs! I’ll start from the beginning.”

“I’m fine…wait, there’s no way you’ve been making those stupid logs since we started falling. There’s no way you remember every word.”

“Of course I do! I commit every word to memory before I say them! Day one…”

William groans as Henry rambles excitedly about all his audio logs, filling the air with noises of made-up stories and his thoughts on everything as the self-appointed captain.