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“I warned you this sort of thing might happen ‘Ari! It’s the consequence of the machine’s operation.” Lady Alexia Laplace was lying on the floor, her ivory shirt, riding jodphurs and boots looking rather dusty and distressed.

“I know Miss Laplace. I only dreamt the Poincare Machine, I have no idea of how it works”. Aristophanes Brown, in cream cricket trousers and sweater, was also lying on the floor a few feet away, with his hands protecting the back of his head. “I rely on you for that”.

Alexia looked indignant, although this might have been a consequence of having her face rather squash down upon against the floor. “I just made something you drew on various bits of old paper Aristophanes. I’m amazed it works as well!” “WEll, hmmmm”, muttered Aristophanes as the ceiling of the warehouse space seemed to crush down upon them again. “I wouldn’t call this well”.

“WELL DON’T BLAME ME” shouted Alexia into the floorboards. “Next time dream a bit bloody better, you scribing cretin! OW!” – this last was caused by her embedding a splinter into her full and sweet bottom lip. “Buggery. Oh lord, here come the damn walls!”

The two of them shrank together as the walls of the warehouse space seem to close in, bending as they did so, seeming to travel through the ceiling without actually doing so.

“I haven’t even been in the machine yet, you won’t drattedly let me, and yet you expect me to fix a problem like this!”

“It’s what I pay you for,” said Aristophanes firmly.

“Even if that tongue is in your cheek I shall reach across and rip it out in a second Aristophanes”, muttered Alexia. “Now look, the air is changing colour!” Indeed it was, it was now suffused with a light blue tinge, a duck egg blue hazing the world.

“The Poincare Machine has distorted the fabric of reality. I only used it to go to Hampstead Heath for a walk!” said Aristophanes. “What will happen if I go to New York?”

“Hopefully not come back!” exclaimed Alexia. “I’m going to try and turn the wretched thing off.”

She began to crawl like a wounded gecko across the floorboards. The object of all this ire sat oblivious in a corner of the warehouse space, humming in its dully glittering silverness, apparently protected by a bubble of its own space-time, the wall and ceiling bending around it like rubber.

“I can see what has happened. You didn’t fully withdraw the sphere from the cube. Fool!”

“You don’t expect the Universe to fall apart when you don’t close a window properly!” protested Aristophanes. “Can’t you fix this?”

“Only after I’ve killed you, Aristophanes Brown! Ah right, here we go.”

Alexia had reached the Poincare Machine’s protected space, and was easily able to stand upright and slide the sphere down its rails and remove it completely from the dimensionsal cube. At once, the humming stopped, and the walls and ceiling returned to their correct and proper places in reality. Outside seagulls could once again be seen screeching over the brown grey Thames.

Alexia Laplace sat on the floor, slightly dishevelled and staring at Aristophanes with a fair degree of anger.

“Right then”, he said. “Cup of tea?”

There was no reply.

Copyright Mulberry Lightning 18.10.14

Inspired merely by watching a tree bend in the wind, this piece was done in two 30 minute sections. I hope you flash fiction afficianados are not offended by the gap.

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