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.
Penitents clogged the streets, marching solemnly under banners of Mild Discomfort, Vaguely Unsettled and Something Rashy.
Objects began to merge into one another. The terrifying substratum bubbled up like burning sugar.
“One town over, that place with the moat, and the car husks stacked up, you’ll see a palace made of old tires and plywood. Ask for Mr Peepers.”
He realized every third world was like this, pretty blue on the outside, blistering and fiery on the inside. If it wasn’t some devious master plan, it was certainly a terribly unfortunate coincidence.