Mark stared across the mirror smooth lake. He drew back his arm and launched a small stone at the pristine water. It pierced the surface, concentric ripples spreading outward until they reached the shore, only to reflect back on themselves, disrupting the simple order that had existed moments before.
So many complications and consequences from such a simple event. A stone entering a lake. Mark wondered what it looked like from below. Did the fish see their sky torn apart? Did the bacteria caught in the wave feel it was the end of their world?
When he’d first read the headline he hadn’t believed it. Too many science fiction disaster movies had left his sense of wonder tarnished. It hadn’t even seemed like a good prank. An asteroid on a collision course for Earth. He’d seen that one, and it hadn’t been that good. Only this time they wouldn’t be saved at the last minute by the lead actor. It was too massive to divert or deflect, and blasting it apart would only serve to turn one big rock into a few slightly smaller ones.
The science of it was the most terrifying part. All the numbers were know, the orbits worked out. Tomorrow afternoon the rock would drop into the middle of the Atlantic ocean. The ring of tidal waves would take a few hours to reach the coasts of the Americas, Africa and Europe. Every coastal city was being evacuated, but when the sea rose up to devour the streets, the buildings and the people, everything would fall apart. Too many desperate people, too little time.
One stone, falling into one body of water. Such a simple event. But it was going to end his world and, if Mark was honest with himself, probably his life. He was going to look up tomorrow afternoon and see the sky torn apart. He would be carried away with the surging waves.
Slowly, Mark bent down and selected another stone, its smooth surface cool in his hand. He tossed it into the lake and watched as the water swallowed it, the expanding ripples move out to meet the shore. In what seemed like no time, the surface was still again, leaving no sign that the perfect stillness had ever been disturbed.