Mel and Smith gasped for air as water poured through the large gap in the barrel. Of course it wasn’t airtight; why would it be if it was meant to be a guest room? The river had swirled in through the cracks in the hull and only a tiny amount of air remained by the time Mel had the good sense to crack the glass window floating above water level. The leaks continued, but breaking the glass any further meant being showered with the shards and perhaps even tipping their makeshift vessel fully underwater.
One of the most burdensome things about going anywhere, whether it’s down the street or into another universe, is trying to figure out what to wear. It can be frustrating to balance fashion with comfort, practicality with cost, weather with time, all while secretly wishing you could run out into the street in your underwear without being judged or, worse, arrested.
Smith continued scribbling in the notebook Mel had so generously provided even as the three Earthlings exited the forest. Mel walked behind Smith, still gripping his sword as it bobbed in the jury-rigged sheath at his side. Carla was the only one of the three who was actually looking where they were going, which worked out as her perch on top of her uncle’s head was the best vantage point to serve as lookout. Over the past few days, Carla had been working on her pronunciation to the point where it was clear even to Smith what she meant when she declared that they had arrived at a desert.
Out of the dirt-covered trees came flying a hamburger.
Carla thought she was opening her eyes, based on the fact that she could see again. Then again, it didn’t feel anything like opening her eyes usually felt. Her body felt cold and stiff, like what she imagined waking up from a coma must feel like.
In front of her, Carla saw a bloody stain on the ground. Continue reading
Carla woke up with a problem. For the last two days, the young woman had been experiencing an enormous amount of stress, from fighting with her uncle to interdimensional travel to watching a man bleed to death in front of her. Besides all of that, everything that Carla had eaten in that time had been prepackaged and canned food- mostly beans and corn. On top of this, she’d spent a lot of the time dehydrated and moving around a lot more than most days. Of course, any dramatic change in stress, diet or level of exercise can lead to problems with one’s digestive system. And so it came to be that Carla had not used the bathroom since coming to the Lost Dimension.
In the land of Papyrus there exists quite a few cities. There are large cities, like Townsburg, Watson, Dewey Central, River Fun Land and whatnot. There are a few hidden communities, lost even to the Lost Dimension, such as Bielefeld, Agloe, Alfheim and North Dakota. Far more common than either of these, however, are abandoned buildings and vestiges of towns with no known origin. Whenever something or somebody goes missing, it is likely to be found somewhere in this lost world. Nobody knows why, although there are theories, but the important thing about lost structures is that someday, in some strange way, they will be found.
It was late afternoon on the tenth of the month, the first day that everyday civilians traveled from Earth to Papyrus, when Mel finally saw some sign that he and his niece might ever return home. Lying in the woods in the center of a nearly-overgrown and then recently traveled path that the two had found themselves on was a torn up piece of stained cloth. Mel picked it up and sniffed at the red stain to confirm his suspicions.
The sun rose.
It was not the same sun as Mel and Carla had seen the previous day. Sure, it was just as bright and warm and far away from the planet, but the planet itself was not one either of the Okabes had ever seen. A few hours beforehand, after a lengthy debate which had been wiped from their memories, the young woman and her uncle had landed in a warm, soft hill of fabric and fallen asleep almost instantly, exhausted from the events of the previous day.
Carla woke up first. Eyes still squeezed shut, she reached up and around to where her hat usually was, right on top of the dresser. The hat was not there. The dresser was not there either. What was there was a sock.
Maybe she’d acted a bit too quickly.
Carla did not have grandparents, at least not any she’d ever met, but from what she’d learned of her family their fatal flaw was a penchant for rash decisions. Her mother had been kicked out of the house for getting pregnant and her father, well, he’d gotten her pregnant in the first place. Then he had to go and die, leaving Carla nothing but his genes.
Well, that and the hat. There was always the hat, except when it wasn’t there, and that was now. Because like an idiot, Carla had decided to blow up at her uncle and storm out without taking her dad’s old hat.