At first, we believed that the horizon splitter was only a myth. It sounded like a parody of the atomic bomb at most, inspired by the horror of something indivisible being mutilated by science. Word traveled from radio to radio that it was enroute, which we initially wrote off as disinformation from the enemy, just another of many attempts to incite fear. In the end, whether or not this was the case did not matter, as the bomb was able to do its job without existing at all.
Events had long since escalated beyond the scale of “world war.” This was a conflict that had expanded further than the world’s known borders by employing methods of “non-traditional geography.” Researchers on all sides were working tirelessly to inject new battlefields into the planet’s in-between spaces. This allowed the conflict to expand without the risk of apocalypse; in turn, however, outside influences had begun to emerge. We no longer recognized the uniforms of the soldiers we fought, the languages they spoke, or the materials they used. Violence was expanding faster than it could be understood, nourished by the void.
When it fell, the surviving members of my squadron and I were occupying a skyscraper somewhere in the remains of New Miami. The effects were small at first. In the distance, water and sky began spiraling together into a fingerprint-like whorl. For a moment it was magnificent, a pattern of increasing complexity that braided clouds and stars and sunlight into something impossible. When even our reflections in the windows had begun to distort, however, we knew that its beauty wouldn’t last.
The sea itself ripped open once the tension reached its peak, diagonally at first, revealing the naked skin of a second sky below. What was once the horizon warped into a pair of dueling hyperbolas, each curve reaching towards its own infinity. The new gravity jerked us sideways, and we peered down through the windows at our feet, watching as nearby buildings took off like rockets into the endless waterfall that was forming above. The two atmospheres began exchanging fierce gales, making it difficult to breathe on the surface.
We gripped to the walls as hard as we could for hours, praying silently, conserving our breath. Eventually, we heard the cloudpavers arrive, their leviathan propellers barely audible over the winds. They dropped their payloads and sealed the sky shut with fireworks of adaptive concrete. Gravity returned to its original state with a sudden collapse, causing a vile confetti of sea life to rain down on what remained. It was over.
Having survived, we attempted to celebrate out of a sense of obligation. We wandered through the splattered aftermath and took our pick of the finest meat that remained intact. We grilled snapper and swordfish and lobster in decadent heaps, but the shock was too great for most of us to actually eat. The scent of rot was everywhere, and all that remained of the ocean was a handful of saltwater ponds rippling in calcareous ooze. There was no victory to be found here.
While the laws of reality have temporarily stabilized, the war has only expanded since. The curvature of the world has not returned to normal, and some say that it never will. The Navy has commissioned a new, deeper ocean that can hold more shipwrecks to accommodate for their projections. As for my squad, we’ve since been stationed on the sky’s inner surface, tasked with fighting whatever manages to rise through its fractures. There aren’t many, however. The cloudpavers have been very thorough.