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Friday Fiction -- On the Red Line, Part 4

“Now departing for Nielsen Quay. Please stand clear of the doors,” the recording warned.

Sakari leaped onto the train just as the doors were closing. Cara and Mia caught a pole as the train took off, but the force pushed Sakari onto his knees.

“You okay?” David asked him.

“Uh-huh,” Sakari answered. He was still panting from his desperate sprint.

The recording said, “Now headed toward Nielsen Quay. Next stop: Sable Heights.”

Sakari stood and reached into his back pocket. “I couldn’t find the sun, but I did find this.” He held out his phone so the other three could see the picture he had taken.

“What am I seeing here?” Cara asked. At first glance, Sakari’s picture looked like a white circle on a black background.

“Wait a sec.” David slid his fingers over the phone screen to zoom in on the white disc. Familiar gray smudges came into focus.

Mia identified the white disc. “It’s the moon.”

“So it’s noon,” Cara said. “The sun isn’t out, but the moon is.” She hummed as she sat in the seat across from David. She rested her chin on her hand in a classic thinking pose.

Mia sat next to her sister. Sakari returned his phone to his pocket and took his seat next to David.

“What do you make of it, Cara?” David asked her.

A lot of thoughts were bouncing around in Cara’s mind. Like how familiar David’s voice sounded. That particular thought she nudged aside to ponder later.

At last, she answered, “Well, two things. First possibility – whoever sent us that text also hacked into our phones to mess with the internal clocks. Meaning it’s not actually 12:15 in the afternoon. That’s just a relative time the hacker wants all of us to use because reasons. Of course, the hacker was sure not to set every phone’s clock to the exact same time to stave off suspicion.

“Second possibility – our phones are fine. That text was nothing more than mass messaging a list. Why and how we got on that list are valid questions, but that’s another can of worms. What matters is that our clocks are still accurate. It truly is 12:15 in the afternoon. Yet the world’s gone screwy. I’d love to Occam’s Razor this, but it’s tough to slice.”

“Occam’s Razor?” Sakari wondered.

“The principle that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one,” David told him.

Mia replied, “I don’t see how it’s so hard. We got hacked. That’s the only realistic explanation. The other possibility is just crazy.”

“I don’t know much about phones and computers and stuff like that,” Sakari said. “But the hacking Cara described sounds like a lot of work. Who knows how many people got that text besides us? So maybe…”

“We’re talking about bending reality here. That’s impossible. Right, David?” He also seemed deep in thought, mimicking Cara’s pose. “You agree with me, don’t you?”

“Well…” David began.

Mia’s eyes widened in surprise. “You’re not seriously…?”

“I think… We should meet our mystery texter before we come to any conclusions.”

“Good call,” Cara agreed.

Mia hid her face in her hands, groaning. “This can’t be happening.”

©2020 Joyce Lewis. All rights reserved.

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