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13 February 2017 @ 09:08 pm
The Fixing  
Found a prompt, wrote a thing.



When the Fixing first happened, it caused chaos. Worldwide storms struck suddenly, weather patterns shifting without warning or – seemingly – any reason; sand storms, blizzards, electrical bursts, tsunamis… all lasting minutes only, before skies cleared and the climate returned to normal. But people found that, from that moment on, their world was abruptly and irrevocably reduced to a sphere 10km in radius. Anyone who tried to travel further than that found an impenetrable barrier.

For some, it was a death sentence. Aeroplanes at cruising height could not land due to the force field generated; until the fuel ran out, or forward momentum ceased, and then they could not fly anymore, and then there wasn’t any other option than for the plane to come down. Cars travelling on motorways; the effect of the barrier was like a brick wall.

Those that were left behind developed coping strategies – offices arranged accommodation for those workers who needed it, and accommodation was made available where it could be. Supply chains were set up so food could be relayed. A new normal developed.

---


The monthly trek grows harder each time; the girls are getting bigger, but they aren’t yet able to make the walk themselves, so she ends up carrying them for most of it. When she can, she borrows a car, but today there wasn’t one available so she walks.

The girls are both excited; they are old enough to understand now when mummy packs the big rucksack what the day will entail; their excited babble makes the hard journey worthwhile. She reaches the field that holds the edge of her own personal bubble, and he’s waiting there, under the tree. She puts her youngest down; the oldest, having returned to walking for the last bit, is running towards him already, and her younger sister is squirming to join her.

His face splits into a beaming smile and he crouches down, arms spread wide, to hug them both as they barrel into his chest. He squeezes them tight, smothering their hair with kisses, before looking up as her shadow falls across him. He has tears in his eyes as he smiles at her, and stands. Their daughters cling to his leg as he presses his hand against his barrier.

She presses her hand against the same spot; a bare inch of air between their palms, the greatest distance that matters. She had been in the wrong half of the house when the Fixing happened; his away rugby game had taken him just outside the limits of her orbit. The girls were luckier; they shared a few meters with their father.

When they had realised what had happened, they had cried and screamed and tried to think of some way to get around it; probably repeating the actions of countless other unknown couples affected by the same horrible chance. But, in the end, they had accepted the inevitable. He would find somewhere in his new radius. She would raise the girls in their house. They decided on once a month because it was too painful to spend the time almost together more often. They broke the pattern for special occasions, for the girls’ sake, but every time it was a deep ache.

She unpacks the blanket, and lays it out across the invisible border. For today, they will do their best to pretend that their family isn't really shattered; pretend the Fixing never happened.
 
 
 
Huinesoron: Promisehuinesoron on February 15th, 2017 10:00 am (UTC)
Wow. That's a really good prompt, and you found a brilliant way to take it down to its smallest essential. Well done.
cheekychipmunkcheekychipmunk on February 15th, 2017 04:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you - as you say, I am sure there are much bigger consequences to the prompt but I do like me some personal drama.