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.
On top of the Cathedral of Sainte Decius, a man with a long nose lay prone, gripping his weapon so tightly that his right hand ached. In the last two days, Smith had been threatened, shot at, tossed into a mysterious bureaucracy, shuffled along into a pile of socks, given a gun from the sky, forced to run for his life and finally, most distressingly, he had run out of cigarettes. Filled with an abundance of nerves, his hands shook and he had to grip the gun with two hands to keep it still.
Despite all of the adrenaline and fatigue, Smith raised the handgun, unsuited for sniping as it was, and focused on his target. In a voice he hoped the abomination would never hear, Smith whispered “Death”.
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
Mel was still tired after sleeping, but this was not unusual for him. Ever since he was a young boy, his parents had trained him to expect danger around every corner. This practice of constant vigilance left him groggy and unfocused most of the time, especially when his father would come into his room in the middle of the night, liquor on his breath, with a long wooden staff in his hands with which he could wake and break his boy until he was a man who could carry on the heritage of his name, untainted by the Redshirt goons breathing down his neck that Rei Okabe would never tell his son about until maybe someday they could break the whole damned cycle of money and corporate violence and finally their plans would all come to fruition and the family could-
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.