The lake reflected the past

Happy New Year! With the first being on a Wednesday, this year we’re kicking off with flash fiction on the first day. Here’s to a new year of stories.

I glanced at Thomas. He’d look exceptionally calm to others, but I saw the tension. His hands gripped his cane too tightly. His shoulders were drawn back. My brother was a spring ready to uncoil.

He turned and his gaze locked on me. I felt the blush cover cheeks and looked ahead. The wall crumbled under the sledgehammers repeated strikes.

Thomas surged toward the opening, waiving at the dust. “It’s real.” Grabbing my skirts, I followed, steadying myself on the bricks surrounding the rough opening.

The lake was as grandmother’s journal describe. Still. So still no rock dared disturb that surface, and the chamber beneath city streets was impossibly tall. The ceiling was lost in shadow. In the center a watch ticked away suspended from nowhere.

“It’s real.” Thomas grinned at me as he moved for the waters.

“Thomas, stop.” I grabbed for his coat. The fabric stayed beyond my reach as I skidded to a halt on the bank.

He didn’t listen to me. Didn’t turn back. I watched him move through the waters. Or the waters move through him? The water didn’t ripple in his wake.

He grabbed the watch and twisted the knobs. “Thomas!” He waivered and disappeared. I looked down at the water and saw the street from the past and Thomas standing there.

I gripped the key behind my back and wondered if keeping this from him had been the right choice. He was a ripple now, and like grandmother I had to protect time.

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