Friday, 6 January 2012

Friday Flash Fiction - Wales

Micro-realities, fed up with our law of gravity, or the colour of the lightning, or the way rabbits go about without waistcoats, sometimes splinter off, declare independence, and live happily without us in their tiny subspaces. And whether they be called Oz, Wonderland, Narnia or what have you, they are all of them real, just "real" in different ways to here.

That's what happened to Wales that day. We should have seen it coming, I suppose. Their language had always been kind of an outsider, and then one day, somehow, all those awkward Welsh place names just decided to be elsewhere. Somewhere they were appreciated.

The rest of the land around there just sort of folded up or spread out to use the available space. Hereford and Shrewsbury became coastal towns. Liverpool got somehow closer to Dublin and further from Manchester. The Severn Road Bridge ended mysteriously at Beachley. The BBC found new actors for Doctor Who (normally filmed in Cardiff) and restarted production in White City, London.

And apart from that, the world continued much as it had before. Some modern-day druids claimed to be able to see Wales from the new coast, sort of thin, edge-on, and only when they held bundles of specially-selected herbs and twisted their heads in certain ways. They set up booths and charged people to teach them how to look, but what is there to see in a paper-thin sliver of Wales?

A year later, most people had forgotten about Wales, except the druids, and a rather vocal minority in New South Wales who argued they should just be called "Wales" now that the original was lost. Some biologist in Germany claimed to have it figured out as some kind of cellular fission.

The druids suddenly started claiming something was happening, but nobody paid much attention except for the tabloids. Then the weather turned strange around the fissure. Rolling clouds seemed to fold in on themselves, the wind blew in from all directions, but not out again. Plants and trees leaned in towards where Wales used to be, and there was an almighty thunderclap, heard around the world... then nothing. As far as anyone could tell, nothing at all had happened.

Only the druids, holding their bundles of herbs, standing on one foot and turning their heads this way and that, claimed that anything was different. Wales, so they claimed, had separated for good - broken its umbilicus and ventured off, completely independent now. A new world of its own making, born from ours like a soap bubble dividing in two. Some tourists still came to have the druids show them the thin sliver of Wales through the crack in reality, but all they found were charlatans and t-shirt salesmen. The real druids, clearly, had better things to do than go looking for Wales when it didn't want to be found anymore.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Inspired by the micronations of the world.
PPS - And also, probably, in counterpoint to A Heretic By Degrees, by Marie Brennan, about where worlds go to die.

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