Author: Chad Bolling
“I’m not sure I remember your name,” a soft, gender-neutral, synthetic voice said.
“I can’t see anything,” a human, female voice responded.
“Can you smell or hear anything?” the synthetic voice asked.
“No. Wait. I can smell. It smells like a farm! Hold on. I can see something. It– it looks like we are on Earth but, it’s not our Earth. Oh no, I think, I think I’m going to be sick.”
Her vision cleared. She could see fields of cereal grass and a farmhouse with a large barn but, she could see all six sides of the box-shaped barn at once. It appeared to be shifting, rotating so that every point of view was apparent. She looked at the surrounding landscape; everything in sight turned in a sequence just like the barn. The world turned on its axis, and so did its point of view.
“I… I can see the back, front, sides, top, and bottom of everything, all at the same time. It’s all, all shifting like it is breathing. My god,” she said as she kneeled and undid the top of her flight suit. “But… no sign of our ship.”
“Where am I then? Something is different…” the synthetic voice said.
“Different? Different! I think– I think I might throw up.”
“Close your eyes until you feel stable, then see if you can locate our ship.”
She looked down and saw that her shadow was three dimensional.
“My shadow! It’s, it’s three-D. It has depth and roundness to it. I would say this is cool but, it’s just— just too much.”
“I imagine, you must feel just like Alice after she fell into the rabbit hole,” the synthetic voice said.
She closed her eyes and laughed, almost hysterically. “I think you’re right. But this wonderland is an old farm in 20th-century rural America!”
“Is that where we are?”
“I think so.” Alice paused for a long moment and let her stomach stop spinning. “So, if I’m Alice, then you must be The Cheshire Cat.”
“Given the state of our amnesia, the names will do. Alice, can you check again for the ship?”
Alice slowly opened her eyes. She felt sick again.
“Ugh. Wait! I see people!” said Alice.
“Yes, they are coming this way! They look like those farmers in that painting. What was it called…?”
An older man and woman approached Alice. Farmers, just like in American Gothic.
“Do you need help?” the man said.
“You can come inside and rest. You don’t look well,” said the woman.
“Is there something wrong with this place?” Alice asked.
“No, dear. It’s just you. We don’t have many visitors here” said the woman. “The last one was dressed just like you.”
“Turned out to be a great farmhand!” said the man with a grin.
“You really should come inside and rest,” the woman said.
The American Gothic couple walked back to the farm.
“Alice, you should go with them. Wait. I feel myself starting to fade.” The synthetic voice sounded distorted. “Perhaps, the ship is finally gone, ripped to shreds in the wormhole. Regardless, Alice, you’ve been a good companion…”
“Cat? Cat! Are you there?”
She walked to the farmhouse.