The last thing Grant remembered was flying over the railing of the container ship. Tossed like a toy by the chilly 20-foot swells off New Zealand’s southern coast, he waited for death.
He awoke in a warm bed with a cozy old-fashioned quilt snugged around him. A middle-aged woman with rosy cheeks entered the room. She smiled warmly. “Feeling better, Grant?”
“Where am I?”
She reached out a soft hand and said, “Let me show you.”
The small village of Alcubierre curled around a beautiful lagoon. Grant settled easily into the villager’s simple life. Mica proved to be a thoughtful and generous hostess. Unfortunately, the village was largely cutoff, and returning Grant home wasn’t possible for months. He didn’t mind so much, even if the skies were overcast every day.
Only one thing bothered him. Sometimes, when he looked out to the lagoon it seemed higher, other times it appeared lower. Grant rubbed his eyes and wondered if he was losing his mind. Anxiously, he asked Mica about it.
She smiled knowingly. “It’s the fog,” she said. “It creates strange optical effects.”
Minutes later, Mica burst into the back room of the tavern. Two older men fought over a tablet with complex controls.
“Higher!” shouted Powell.
“Lower!” shrieked Puck.
“You two stop it now!” bellowed Mica.
The elderly civil engineers looked sheepish. “You’re right,” said Puck. “We’ll stop…” He shifted a slider control. Outside the window, the village moved lower. “We’ll stop here.”
“Hey!” warned Mica. “I mean it. They didn’t have orbiting habitats 200 years ago. Land didn’t move.”
“Agreed,” said Powell. “We’ll stop.” Surreptitiously, he adjusted the slider. The village moved higher.
“I saw that!”
Written for Matthew Wright’s Super-Short Story Challenge. Each week a picture is provided as a prompt for flash fiction. Join us! Look here for the original prompt: https://mjwrightnz.wordpress.com/2015/07/14/the-next-super-short-story-writing-challenge/