Shift

A flash fiction story by Brian Robinson.

The Milky Way.

I was awakened by a massive jolt. I jumped out of bed instinctively. It was exactly 3 am. An earthquake? Someone had dropped a bomb? It felt that bad.

I headed straight to my front door. I knew I might have to make a rapid escape. The night sky was full of birds, thousands of them, tens of thousands of them.

Through the blizzard, I could see the moon performing an erratic dance. It was as if it was being sucked into a vortex created by the Earth’s movement. Then it hit me. Planet Earth was in free fall.

The storm of birds cleared for a moment. I could see the Milky Way ablaze with light, thousands of times brighter. Its stars were also in frantic motion. The rug had been pulled from under the galaxy.

My head began to spin as my brain tried to make sense of what was happening. I had to grab hold of the pillars on my doorstep to steady myself.

Then, it stopped, as suddenly as it started, it stopped. By the time I returned to my bed, my head was still in a spin. I looked at the clock again. It now read 2-43 am. Time must have somehow gone backwards. That would explain why no other stars had been visible in the night sky. The galaxy must have been falling faster than the speed of light.

When I awoke the next morning, the first thing I did was turn on the news. Nothing! There was no mention on any network. As far as the world was concerned, nothing untoward had happened during the night. I found that hard to believe. Just me? This spectacle had been put on for just for my sake? I don’t think so.

About two weeks later, reports began to flood in from a plethora of astronomers. They were all saying the same thing. The Milky Way had somehow shifted its position in relation to other galaxies. Triangulation had proved that beyond all doubt. We were now at least three light years further away from our nearest neighbour Andromeda.

Then came the theories. The universe had been jogged by another universe bumping into it. But why was the Milky Way the only galaxy to be affected? Could it have been just a nudge? I Thought. Just enough to get our attention?

Someone suggested that we had encountered a huge void in space. A hole in the Dark Energy field. This caused the galaxy to plummet in the same way an aircraft does when it enters an ‘air pocket’.

Predictably, the ‘Save The Planet’ brigade got involved. “We’ve virtually destroyed our wonderful planet. We’ve cluttered up the atmosphere with tons of space junk. And this is the universe’s way of saying ‘enough is enough'”

Me? I have no clue. And besides, what does it matter if we’re a few more light years distant from Andromeda? Who gives a shit. But why me? I thought. Why was I the only one to actually have experienced this strange event. But then again, I am the President of The United States of America. That might just explain it?

Nothing lasts forever. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay to speed things up.

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