Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 39
Everyone likes a little flash fiction, right?

Thanks to a prompt from Miranda Kate's 39th Mid-Week Flash Challenge, you're going to get some!

This is from Miranda's post: This week's photo prompt was taken by Piroshki-Photography, a Serbian photographer. You can find more of their photos on their page at Deviant Art. They call this one 'Curved Reality'. It was taken in Santa Margherita Ligure, in Genoa, Italy.

I won't post the prompt image, but you can see it here or on Miranda's site.

So, here is my entry for the Mid-Week Flash Challenge. This is real flash fiction with only 375 words, sci-fi this time. Since it's for a public writing challenge, it is available to everyone. I won't claim it to be scientifically accurate, but it was fun to write!

A PDF version is available for download (see bottom of page).

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Accounting Problem

    by K. R. Smith

Of course, there had been anomalies: satellites in disturbed orbits, aircraft that went off course, inexplicable tidal surges, and more than a few people claimed to have had peculiar visions when gazing into the sky. The leaders of the major governments all dismissed these as hoaxes, the working of deranged minds, or even as acts of God, but they all knew. Now, however, the effects were obvious to everyone. The cat, so to speak, was out of the bag. Schrödinger's cat, apparently.

The problem all started as an experiment to create and contain a microscopic black hole. Unfortunately, it succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of its creators. The initial trial, in fact, had gone so well as to create two microscopic black holes. The scientists were ecstatic.

It takes a great deal of energy to produce the magnetic fields to contain a black hole, even one so tiny. With two, the electrical surge eventually overwhelmed the circuit breaker for part of the containment field. There was a redundant system, but in the fraction of a second it took for the secondary circuit to switch on, the genies escaped their magnetic bottles.

One shot out into space. The other headed in the opposite direction—directly to the center of the Earth. Outside of the lab, which was quite a mess, nothing changed right away; it took time for them to grow. You can only feed a black hole so much at once.

Having one black hole might not have been so bad. Though eventually crushed to singularity, the Earth and its inhabitants wouldn't notice it so much as time slowed. Having two interacting was a nightmare, however, with the distortions of space and time exhibiting themselves in a noticeable fashion. Panic was inevitable.

Wendell sat in the comfortable chair of his office reviewing the contracts for the containment apparatus. The electrical system was one of the places the accountants had decided to save money. Thirty-five dollars and seventy-six cents showed on the invoice for the circuit breaker. All of humanity should have been worth more than that, he thought while shaking his head.

"Though not much more." He laughed as he tossed the report onto his desk, leaned back in his chair, and closed his eyes.

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