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The Day the Future Invaded

Beth Powers writes science fiction and fantasy stories, studies nineteenth-century pirate tales, and lives in Ohio with her cats. Her work has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Plasma Frequency, Outposts of Beyond, and other magazines. Visit her on the web at bethpowers.com.

The future invaded on a Friday afternoon in the middle of winter. Without warning, buildings arose amid intersections and metallic pathways gleamed into existence above forests. Toys that had not yet been dreamed arrived in children's rooms while their parents frowned at unexpected appliances and furniture. Going about their business bundled against the cold, people nodded to newcomers wearing flatscreen jackets and hover shoes.
Within the hour, scientists clamored on televisions and newly materialized holoprojectors. "Ruptures in space time... quantum [gobbledygook]... not linear," they cried as the snow began to fall, "Pockets of [scientific jargon]... the future is bleeding through to the present...." But most people just pulled their coats closed against the cold, ignoring the holos and screens.
Patches of invasion spread like steamrolling turtles throughout the late afternoon and early evening while people knocked on doors, familiar or not, to get out of the wind. They gathered with family and strangers while the world shifted and changed.
Turkey and pie wafted throughout one old house to mingle with the smells of food that had not yet been invented. As she had for years, Grandma shut off the television at six o'clock sharp while Grandpa rounded up the grandchildren, not noticing (or not caring) that a handful of them wore jetpacks and chrome. He herded any stragglers--from the future or the present--into the dining room.
At the center of the massive table, hand-polished wood came together with industrial steel. The family and their unexpected guests didn't seem to notice as they shuffled around, sorting out chairs and place settings. Sweet potatoes were traded for uninvented green mush until plates were piled high with tradition and the future.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Author Comments

I wrote the original version of this story for a contest, and the prompt led me to think about how we tend to center time manipulation stories on the individuals moving through time. Instead, I was interested in imagining a world from the perspective of the people who have their timeline invaded by another.

- Beth Powers
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