The Balloon – microfiction for Jane Dougherty.

“Dammit, Evans” Jacobson hissed. “We weren’t supposed to be seen!”

The woman had looked up and seen the probe, gesturing to them. The distraction was fatal – they watched the bullet find its target, and the woman slump to the ground, dropping her bayonet as she fell.

“This was purely observational” Jacobson went on, frantically skimming the pages on his reader.

“I’m sure she was doomed anyway”, Evans responded, irritably. Jacobson was right, of course. He’d failed to monitor the visual shields properly, enthralled by the battle unfolding below.

Jacobson slammed his hand on the dash. “Not for another twenty minutes. She was due to gun down two young men, and wound an enemy colonel…” more frantic skimming – ” who died two weeks later of gangrene. This is a disaster. We have to head back, right now”.

Evans turned to look at him, fear in his eyes. Who knew what they would find when they headed back to their own time.

They had changed the past. Had they changed the future?

Jane Dougherty gives us this picture by Pierre Puvis de Chevannes. It’s strange, but that’s what this challenge is all about.

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