‘Are you sure it’s real?’
‘It’s real. Amazing, yes, and unbelievable…but real.’
‘What do you hope to achieve?’
Professor Donalds stepped slowly towards the TV and turned it on. Static rumbled through the room, and a few professors covered their ears. Professor Donalds turned towards the girl and looked at her gravely. His eyes pierced hers as he prepared to ask her the question.
The girl, Kate, was twenty-three. She had curly blonde locks and a beautiful complexion, the very image of a perfect girl. However, she was mute. She had never spoken and most likely never would. Her mind was off in imaginary worlds and she’d been separate from regular people all her life.
Kate had been born with a rare – unheard of – ability in which she could see, at her will, anytime and place in the future, a fact which brought her to the testing room she was currently sitting in.
Wires attached to her body led to the old, rickety TV playing meaningless static. Professor Donalds swallowed and spoke with a deep, serious voice. ‘Kate. Can you please show us what will be happening in this room in fifteen minutes, once we’re finished?’
The girl looked down and closed her eyes. An image flashed onto the screen. The room was empty; the TV off, the Professors absent. It was a realistic vision.
‘Now I’d like you to envision the address 105 Point Road, Holden Beach, Australia five minutes into the future.’
Kate frowned but did as the Professor asked. A great mansion appeared on the screen. Located ideally by the sea, there were dozens of rooms and a luscious outdoor swimming pool.
‘Now show me the same address, one year into the future.’
The other professors whispered among themselves, confused about what Professor Donalds hoped to discover.
The same mansion appeared on the screen. Nothing had changed, apart from a different coloured car and a middle-aged woman standing on the balcony. ‘Five years, please,’ Professor Donalds commanded. A very similar image appeared on the screen. Nothing seemed to be changing. Kate stared at him, her eyes asking what he wanted from her. His eyes replied with dismissal.
‘Professor, I hope we’re going to understand your motives soon.’
‘You will, Professor Adams. Don’t worry.’
Professor Donalds walked over to Kate. ‘Now, can you please show us 105 Point Road, Holden Beach, Australia, ten years into the future, Kate?’ The girl closed her eyes and winced, concentrating hard. Static flashed on the screen and random images appeared. Eventually the house came into focus, looking better than ever, with a happy couple seated on the balcony. Professor Donalds watched as they clinked glasses and drunk their champagne in one gulp.
He inhaled and exhaled, turning slowly towards Kate. ‘Kate, could you please show us this same address…fifty years into the future?’ Kate’s eyes widened. Fifty years was a long time, and she wasn’t sure she could manage it. ‘You’re placing a lot of pressure on her,’ Professor Adams scolded, standing up, ‘it can’t be easy, viewing the future.’
Professor Donalds scoffed. ‘I know what I’m doing, Professor Adams. For once, would you please just trust me?’ Professor Adams bit his lip and nodded, stepping backwards and sitting down once more. ‘Go ahead, please, Kate.’ The girl smiled and closed her eyes. Images smashed the screen; memories, visions, feelings…Kate’s mind was rebelling against the stress. After a few minutes, the girl’s eyes flashed open and she gasped. Static crackled and the professors frowned.
Eventually, an image came into focus. Some of the professors gasped. Some covered their mouths in shock. Professor Adams’ forehead creased in confusion, and perhaps a little bit of concern. Professor Donalds looked pleased, realising that his point had been made. He turned to the professors, after absorbing what was on the screen.
There was no longer a house at 105 Point Road, Holden Beach, Australia. Instead, there was an ocean. You could not see the surface, but you could see the bottom. Lying at the ocean’s base was a smashed wreck of a house. Of the house. Sea creatures darted between the wreckage, exploring the corridors and various rooms that now lay under the water. A smashed portrait of the couple floated in pieces around the wreck.
‘Professors, what you see before you is the future of our world. I’d hoped not to see this. I’d hoped to find we’d changed our ways. Unfortunately, we’ve started down a path of no return, and climate change is inevitable.’
Professor Donalds looked back at Kate, who had her hand over her mouth in shock.
‘We can’t stop what’s going to happen. But we can soften the blow. Prevent it becoming worse. Warn your family, warn your friends…do whatever you can to prevent this becoming worse.’
The professors stood up, some rattled, some calm, and began to exit the room. Professor Adams stopped and turned to Professor Donalds. ‘Thank you, Professor. You’ve given us a lot to think about.’
Professor Donalds smiled and nodded, before turning back to Kate. His smile dropped and he frowned almost instantly, seeing the image on the TV. Builders worked endlessly on the construction of a house at 105 Point Road, Holden Beach, Australia. There was no ocean except the regular one on the beach. Kate smiled and held up a piece of paper. On it she’d written, ‘85 Years’. And just like that, Professor Donalds knew that everything would be okay.