This is for the Midweek Flash Challenge and you can follow Miranda Kate on twitter @PurpleQueenNL. As usual it will take me a couple of days to proofread it.
It was much higher than I thought it needed to be by metres, as much as I thought I could predict, I wasn’t ready for this. It was little window, a mirror really, I say was, I really mean is a little mirror, though painted by a talented hand. What it reflects, it’s not what it is a in front of it, now in the now, but some time hence, and I thought it was high enough in my little tower. I couldn’t have known, we couldn’t know, right?
There were things we got right, and things we got wrong. The strange admixture of science and magic, the old wooden frame with strange properties, the glass taken from the old deposit, that pool in the crypt, and the inscription, promising to show what the world would become.
We see it, Jem and I. We thought it would be so good, a shining city of golden opportunity, our shabby apartment the remains of the fortunes we squandered on it. Word got out about the strangeness, we ran. The government chased us, we ran. Dark business tried to find us, we ran and ran and ran and eventually the glass was ours and the numbers were on our side and bought the apartment, and then the others via a shell corporation and mounted it here in the highest spot and uncrated it.
Jem was the first to see. Her shock left that imprint as the water poured in. We tried to block it up, the water poured in. We poured concrete over it, the water poured in. We blew it up, the water poured in, and had no effect at all on the frame, or the painting.
We can pass into it, just, but we float in the freezing water for a bit in fear of our lives, the thin rope that attaches us to home. Sometimes the big waves come and flood the whole room, not long before the city of New York notices how much water, salt-water, we’re draining out of this place.
Now we’ve seen it, there is some effect that has fixed the other side in place. No matter how we move it or tilt it, water keeps slopping over the frame. The bonus is that we were able to move it nearer the basement, nearer the drain.
We know it’s the future. We tested. The water is different, the radioactivity is different. It’s greater, a lot. There’s been a war, or at least some nukes fired where ever this is. It’s no alien, we saw sharks and a whale. There was a light oh the horizon once, but it disappeared.
The water keeps coming, and that’s not the worst of it.
We’re not stupid. Reckless, but not stupid, we went diving. It was hard, stuffing the dingy through the hole, that handprint still showing even right up close before we pass through, friends instructing us, then and for weeks beforehand, though they didn’t believe why until we showed them. We went deeper than we wanted, than we really should have. That fear of getting, what do they call it? The Bends, little bubbles of oxygen in the blood. Kills you, if you’re not careful.
We saw where we’d opened the crate, the apartments. We saw, below, in the picture, where the picture was, below, there were the apartments, the rest of New York. Flooded. We’re a hundred feet up here. We couldn’t tell properly but the apartments looked the same to me, we couldn’t get inside, but they looked the same, a hundred feet below us, where we opened it.
It’s got to be soon then, right? It can’t be far away, whatever it is that happens. We don’t know how far into the future the mirror painting is looking, because it’s all water from here. There are no clues apart from the radioactivity. That’s a lot of rain falling in the distance. Did we cause it? Is that it? Does our looking make it happen? Is this water slopping in fifty gallons a minute the start? Do we start the flood?
I say, we warn someone. I keep saying it, but Jem asks who will believe us?
And it’s no-one, they know something is up, but not this, not like this.
We’re gone; if you find this, get to high ground, really high ground, far away.
Published December 2017