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Inundation III by Philip Berry

Avril took her eye away from the telescope and looked down. She smiled at her ten-year old daughter, Mattie, who stood at the bottom of the iron ladder beneath the dome. The direct view had not added to Avril’s knowledge, but she had felt an urge to observe the sector with her own eyes. A still scrolling line of fluctuating numbers on the screen of her workstation had already told her all she needed to know. The neighbouring sun, 3.2 light years away from her own, had exploded. Only today had the leading edge of neutrinos hit her geostationary sensors. Tomorrow would come the visible light. Heat would follow, then slowly build. There was time to relocate, to hop back to the centre, the origin system. The move would only afford her an extra few years. Years of knowing. Mattie, impatient for her mother’s attention, had a hand on one of the ladder’s lower rungs. She liked to watch the skies with Avril, and could be trusted not go break anything. Perhaps, thought Avril, we should stay here. We can be the first. The first to feel the wave.

Philip Berry has had flash, short fiction and CNF appeare in Literary Orphans, Liars’ League, Deracine and DNA Magazine among others. His work can be explored at and @philaberry. He lives in London.

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