Author : Glenn Blakeslee

I was walking down 87th Street toward Fifth Avenue when a man ran around the corner. He was half-obscured at first by the diesel fumes of a departing bus, but he ran kicking his way through the newspapers which littered the sidewalk, straight toward me.

He wore nothing but a loincloth. He was skinny but his muscles stood out in high relief, his body covered in something like dust which streamed off as he ran toward me. His face was almost cadaverous, with dark circles under his eyes and livid bruises on his temples and cheeks. His eyes were filled with rage.

The man stopped in front of me. He was trembling, but it wasn’t cold. We stood there, still for a moment in the din of the city, and he pulled back his arm, reached out and punched me in the face.

“That’s for the fossil fuels!” he said.

I stumbled back against the wall of a condo building, my face numb, blood streaming from my nose, and watched as the man turned and ran back around the corner. I pushed off from the building, angry and bewildered, and half-heartedly walked toward the corner.

On Fifth Avenue silent columns of white light sprouted from the pavement and lanced up through the clouds. Men and women dressed similar to the man who assaulted me emerged from the base of the columns and walked toward the people who stood watching. I watched as a young woman stepped from a column near the wall across the street —the column cutting harmlessly through the poplar trees— and began to walk toward me.

She was barefoot and dressed in a simple dirty-white shift. Her hair hung limp against her face, grime embedded along her hairline. She stood in front of me and said simply, “I am Lisle. I am your great-great-great granddaughter. I am from the future.”

She seemed calm but her eyes were rimmed with red. Around us, out in the street and on the sidewalks, people were shouting in anger, commotion erupting everywhere. Lisle smelled like burnt dust.

“What?” I asked. “How did you find me?”

“You were radiating on all your eigen-frequencies,” she said, and she swung her dirty slender arm and slapped me, hard, in the face. Blood from my nose splattered across the sidewalk. Her fingernails were cracked and ragged.

“That’s for throwing your cigarette butts into the gutter,” Lisle said. “And for flushing your toilet too frequently.” She turned and walked toward the column of light.

The good news is that you’ll soon meet your children’s children’s children. The bad news? They are mad as hell.

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows