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Let us tell a story, then, of a wanderer crossing a vast wasteland. She hunts the mystery, though it is not here. Here, in this land under the broken sky, there is only shadow and shimmering fragments, baked land and frozen ice merged as one.

No living thing may venture here, but demons know it well. They know to avoid it.


She walked around the shattered spar that tore up through the earth, paying it no heed, for it was large and unimportant, like a piece of bad toast. She walked on past the perfectly cylindrical holes gored into the dust, past deep ravines and toppling hills, past icy yuccas and woolly ribcages. The land was strange. It was burly men unfolding umbrellas. It was a thousand dancing lemurs switched off in a single instant. It was a pack of singing llamas as they flew by a maintenance tower one evening. It was vast, but small enough that she already tasted what she was after. It was clearly around here somewhere.

Regional deficiencies for toast can be one sided, but here the toast flickered in and out of the lack of sky. The wanderer ignored it completely and picked her way past an endless set of matching teaspoons.

And then there is was, just ahead, with only a pigeon in her path. A space. Thin. Rippling. Undeniably forward, as much a way in as it was a way out.

Unfortunately there still remained the pigeon, which was a problem. It stared down at her with the sort of unnerving stare that only a two-hundred-foot tall pigeon could manage. She stared up at it in turn, not really thinking, just waiting.

Finally, she said, "Hello, pigeon."

The pigeon stared at her.

"I would like you to move, please."

The pigeon blinked at her.

"Any time now."

The pigeon stared down at her.

"I have got all day, you know. Can wait as long as you need. I do not particularly need to be anywhere."

The pigeon continued to stare down at her.

"That was a joke. There do not seem to be days at all here."

The pigeon stared.

"I really would like you to move, however.

"Before someone gets hurt.

"By which I mean you."

The pigeon stared at her.

She waited for what seemed an appropriate amount of not exactly time before continuing.

"Very well, then."

There was a horrible crunch as the pigeon disappeared.

The wanderer belched and made a portal of the rippling space. She stepped through, out of the world and into another, and then there was only silence.