Fiona is one of those long-limbed fit people who oozes athleticism even without moving. It was on a run with her that this began. We saw the Moon and I’m terrified the shock of it may simply vanish. It’ll mean I know nothing about anything and will have forgotten even that.

There’s something going on which is bigger than the universe and I don’t think we’re allowed to know.

I’ve worked for eleven hours solid at this, concentrating on finding ways to preserve data. I don’t think it’s going to work but that won’t stop me trying.

Fiona comes through our office door, bringing with her a blast of fresh Autumn morning air and the sound of her panting. The kettle’s on and beginning to whistle but her voice booms over it, “Have you been here all night?”

“I have and it’s important. There’s something I need to show you. Over here, quick.” Quick, in Fiona language, means after she’s made a huge mug of tea, kicked her running shoes off and sniffed them.

She appears beside me, her tracksuit still giving off fresh air scents. “What?”

“Did you see the Moon again on your way here?”

“No, too cloudy. What about it?”

“Your answer and lack of concern tell me all I need to know.” I click on the play icon to restart some news reports. “Concentrate.”

She sits and consumes the entire contents of her mug while listening to my edited recordings. After a moment’s stunned silence, she asks, “Where did you come up with all of that stuff? That’s the maddest conspiracy theory I’ve ever heard. How come…? I mean those are news agencies and people who would never…” She’s frowning, features knotted in disbelief. “What the fuck, Liz?”

“It, whatever it is, hasn’t got to me yet, nor to these. I’m scared it will. It’s random but increasingly thorough.” I stare at the lone document saved on my desktop. “I’ve made notes. They’re a bit scruffy still so I’ll read them to you.” Clicking the icon, I open text. “Right, it’s the twenty-eighth today and this started on the twenty-fifth.” Scanning my work I realise there’s a lot more than Fiona has the patience to listen to; I’ll have to be brief. “On that morning we saw something in the sky, a faint curve of white.”

Fiona nods. “The Moon, yes. More tea?” She rises.

“Yes, but keep listening. This is so important…”

“Bonkers conspiracy theory – and those videos are all fakes.” Her chair scrapes back.

“Keep listening, please, Fiona.”

“I am. So we saw the Moon that day and your news reports are trying to tell me it didn’t exist, and you’ve stayed up all night to prove it.” She opens the fridge. “And one of us will have to go out for milk as a result.”

“The Moon did exist that morning, and has ever since. It was new: we were shocked and a little bit frightened. The media went berserk. By the afternoon some people were wondering what the fuss was all about and claimed it had always been there.”

Fiona makes two mugs of tea and brings them over. “I don’t remember any of that.”

“Of course you don’t and that’s the critical point. I do and I may be the last person who does.”

“You’ve been overdoing it, Liz …I…”

“Quiet! Seconds count here – as you will see: or not. Everything’s being overwritten. Look, here’s a painting from over three hundred years ago. It had no moon in it until about four this morning. Whatever is overwriting the past, and maybe future, is travelling through time faster than us. That is impossible. You’ve been affected and no longer question the existence of the Moon. You probably believe people landed on it and others are mining deuterium there now.”

“I didn’t know about the mining, but yes, the Moon landings happened.”

I run fingers through my greasy hair. “Reality, reality … something’s changing it and changing us, our memories, to suit. We have tides caused by the Moon, we may have animals adapted to navigate by it, like it’s always happened, always been there.”

“Liz, this is bonkers: drop it.”

“No I will not. I have, had, evidence and it’s all disappearing before my eyes just as those videos will. I still have a copy of that painting without the Moon, but you’ll believe it’s just been edited out: here.”

“Liz…” Fiona’s tone fills with concern, “the Moon is in that picture.”

I glance at the painting. “No, it’s not – can’t you see? Oh my god, you can’t can you?” My fingers tangle in hair. “Jesus, we don’t know anything about anything do we?”

Fiona puts a hand on my arm. “Seriously, Liz, you’re sleep deprived. Go home and rest.”

I shrug her off. “I’m telling the truth, Fiona, just a truth you’ve been blinded to. If I’m the only person who still knows I’ll lose professional credibility because evidence is evaporating. This is a scientist’s nightmare.”

“But you’re not in science now and haven’t been for six years since we set up in market research. When I came through the door that’s what I hoped you’d been doing – analysing the various companies’ production costs, not this stuff.”

“Market research? What? We’ve never been in…” I shudder. “Shit what was that? I just had a weird moment of déjà vu or something.”

Fiona flinches, drops of tea splashing on the floor. “Ugh, so did I, like something passed through me and distorted the room like a wave. It happened the other day too. Maybe I should see my doctor.” She shakes herself. “Anyway, what were we talking about? Something … something, oh yes, you were saying that company can produce the same fertiliser but with a 22% saving on carbon footprint? What, really?”

“Yes, listen. I’ve been analysing totally boring fertiliser production all night. This is something really marketable: see for yourself.” I nod at the screen. “It’s all there, 22% and there’s potential for more. Think about what we could do with that. Now I’m off to get a shower and some sleep.”

©Gary Bonn, 2021