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Through a Mirror, Imperially

by on October 28, 2015

When the soldiers explained to Margaret that they were taking her to the Palace of the Empress, Margaret had understandably pictured a traditional palace. She had expected turrets, shining windows, and an audience chamber with a very large chair. Apparently, however, in this new future gone wrong, the word “palace” was used in its loosest sense. The Empress held court in the mess hall of a concrete and steel bunker hidden a mile below the city. The royal throne was an orange plastic chair that smelled vaguely of mold and potato. The Empress still managed to look dignified, for all that. “Who have you brought before us?” she demanded, her voice ringing throughout the mess hall.

Margaret felt oddly disoriented. It was her own voice. A little colder, a little scratchier perhaps, but it was her own voice. She had heard herself on news tapes a hundred times before the day society collapsed. She looked up, and saw herself. The other Margaret wore a uniform of resplendent medals rather than plain dark fabric. Battle scars lined her face, and her eyes were hard and grey. The original Margaret felt her stomach turn. This wasn’t right at all.

“You resemble me,” the Empress said, so shocked that she had descended out of the royal form. “You are me.”

“Looks like,” Margaret said.

“How?” the Empress demanded.

“How yourself?” Margaret shot back. “I used to be on the side of good. I used to help people. Even if things went wrong, I don’t think I would set up a dictatorship!”

“My Empire does help people. I had to do something. I was the only one left.” The Empress’s voice cracked, just slightly. “My entire family was gone.”

“But I changed that,” Margaret said. “I sent Merrick back to your time. He should have stopped-”

“Was Merrick the man who attacked me?” The Empress shrugged. “I blasted him. The man was mad. Unarmed, attacking someone who controls the power of the sun?”

“Wonderful,” Margaret said. “You killed my guy, and then you decided to take over the world.”

“He attacked me in the middle of a battle! What else should I have done?”

If Margaret’s hands hadn’t been tied behind her, she might have face-palmed. “The timing. Of course. The timing was all wrong. If I had sent him back sooner, calibrated the date on the machine properly-”

She froze. Too late, it occurred to her that telling the power-mad ruler of an evil empire that one has access to a functional time machine is not a good idea. The Empress’s eyes shone in wild light. “Take me to this machine!”

“I would rather not,” Margaret said. She only had one chance to salvage this. The Empress was her. She knew just enough to have an idea that something very explosive would happen if two identical people from alternate timelines made contact with each other. She hurled herself forward at the Empress.

The two Margarets collided. Nothing happened. As the soldiers dragged the original Margaret off the howling Empress, she  wished she had paid more attention to the intricacies of time travel theory. Then the soldiers scattered. The Empress, still screaming, raised her hands, which glowed with a harsh yellow light. “Oh, we’re going to do this now,” Margaret said, as she powered up herself. “Fine. Let’s.”

The bunker exploded in light.

This post is part of the Megverse storyline. Which is not over yet. I think.


From → 8. The Megverse

  1. Jennifer G. Knoblock permalink

    I love this story line. Your imagination, and the details that lend both weight and humor.

  2. I love that you have Meg as hero and villain here. And I love that you’re answering questions posed in previous stories, i.e. what happened to Merrick after his last story. The phrase “face-palm” stuck out for me. It doesn’t feel like it fits the rest of the vocabulary of this world. Maybe it’s just me.

    • No, you’ve got a point. I suppose that with the collapse of society, quirky phrases like “Face-palm” would’ve gone the way of “on fleek” or “lolz.” I made the error of using one of my own favorite phrases as one of Margaret’s. My apologies. 🙂

  3. I love the two worlds you created…within the mirror and outside it. Very cool the two personas interacting. Cool story! ♥

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