Perky and bubbly as ever, the real estate agent opened the door and ushered them in, exclaiming as he did that, “you’ll be amazed at the space in this one!”
He watched them fall into the void until they were out of sight, then carefully locked the door.
They had always hated the cold, growing up. Thick clothes and as many layers as possible defined the winter months. But now, as they felt the heat of the overworked reactor move through the ship, they actually looked forward to feeling the cold of space.
He had said he wanted to be a star his entire life. They didn’t understand until he started to glow, incandescent, heat pouring out of him, immolating everything around him as he grew ever larger, brighter, and hotter. He finally got his wish.
“I thought you said this haunted house was supposed to be frightening,” he complained.
“No,” she said calmly as she led him onward. “I merely promised you’d be frightened. I didn’t tell you when. Or why.”
It’s not the scarecrow itself that’s bothersome. Okay, we don’t know who put it up, and it’s a bit disquieting that it’s dressed in our child’s old clothes. But it’s the slowly oozing goo that constantly drips off of the stick fingers that really gets me.
She was used to seeing the street disappear into the distance in fog, or in the dark. Seeing it fade away into nothingness in the bright light of mid-day, however, was a new experience. As she started walking, she wondered if she would fade away as well.
They had been observing the planet for close to seven orbits around its star, and yet they were still avoiding making contact. Never before had they found an advanced species where every identified language had the concept of “being mean”.
Fashion had reached such heights over the years, with everyone doing their very best to upstage everyone else at every event, that perhaps it shouldn’t have been a surprise when the prize for best fancy dress went to a janitor in plain unadorned overalls.
Nobody knew if people left the town on their own, or were taken against their will. All anyone knew for sure was that one day, they were there, and the next, they were gone — and there was one more mark carefully inscribed on the wall surrounding the town.
The key didn’t look particularly important. Just one of many on the keychain. Weathered metal, obviously long-used, but nobody could remember when it was last turned. The mystery wasn’t what lock it would open, but what would be released when it was used.