After the troops landed on shore the witches were summoned to cast their hexes and imprecations. The enemy was paralyzed with piles, flatulence, impotence.
Wallpaper peeling. Water stains. Mummified mice caught in ancient traps. Old sardine tins. It was like Airbnb but promised specializations for the miserable and the gothic.
Pulling herself together, she glared over the edge of the boat. The device was down there, not so far. But she stopped herself from diving into the brackish water.
Crawling back through the bathroom window he caught his belt on the hinge. As he dangled there he considered the death of his father in the war.
A ball of twine. A feather. A bowl of chowder. A snail. These were the things she would have to get the doctor for tomorrow’s experiment.
The tiny thing spoke in a loud, booming voice. Then there was scrambling and digging. Bricks were dislodged. Everyone stepped back.
They stood close to the edge, the moist air making them gag a little. The recording was impossible, the exchange made no sense.
Passing back into existence was accompanied by loud static. When complete, then the sound of a little bell.
The interface was a single, glowing red dot. The housing and battery weighed just under ten pounds. For optimal use, swing the articulating arm to the south, with an eye on the Dog Star.
The stage coach pulled in, empty, each horse painted a different, vivid color.
Surfacing the internal world one millimeter at a time, printers hummed day and night, workstations overheated with computational efforts.
These tools aren’t meant to be used, she said. She took the hammer from him and carefully placed it back into the cabinet, giving it a small, reassuring pat.
At the cusp of the wharf, the widow MacKenzie threw him half a pack of cigarettes, and swore at him with eloquence created by decades of unrequited passion.
He raised his hand across the domain–his perhaps, in imagination, as a usurper of local custom and hauls of fish. He chewed tobacco and spat it into the streets.
They bunched them up, trying to avoid the wind and rain. The leaves were supple like good leather.