Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

Shifters, they called them. People not in line with our own universe but only barely out of sync. It could happen to anyone. A person wouldn’t even know if it was happening to them. One of the more extreme giveaways was if someone was speaking to a person that wasn’t there. Chatting away to dead space.

Sure, to them, they were talking to an old friend. A friend that had always existed but had never been born in this universe.

No one knew what was causing these shifters to take over existing members of society, only that the numbers were on the rise. We had tools to measure the impostor’s molecular quantum makeup but those tools were the size of hospital MRIs. Not portable. We didn’t have anything we could carry around and scan citizens with.

If they were being replaced, where were the originals going? Was it a chain reaction down the line of every multiple universe in existence or was it just our universe that was eroding on a quantum level and letting strangers in? Were we soon to cease existing entirely?

So far, the shifters themselves were only from universes slightly different from our own. We didn’t have any shifters from universes where Hitler lost the war, for instance, or worlds where the Romans successfully conquered Europe. So far, they’d only been people who still knew what year it was and the prime minister’s name but thought, for instance, that we had no space program or didn’t know what an eggplant was.

That made them very hard to spot. The difference between universes could be anything. You couldn’t question one of these things about every single aspect of their lives. We were terrified.

Until we noticed the thing about the weather.

It turns out the weather is different in every single universe. No two are alike. Universes mere vibrations of existence apart can have thunderstorms while we have sunlight. Chaos theory or something.

So we keep an eye out for people wearing scarfs on sunny days, people wearing shorts in the rain, people squinting or wearing sunglasses when it’s cloudy out. Then we catch them. Then we interrogate them.

And every time we start questioning a suspect, we start with a conversation about the weather.

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