The great, creaking creature was slowly rotating the lever in a slow circular motion, spinning a massive cog built into the center of the sun. Smoke poured from the towers on its shoulders, its skin slick with oil that streamed down its metal plated face like sweat. Its eyes were two endless wells of darkness, the only features that painted its immense, square head. I traced down its body, catching seams in its metal skin, plates of iron and enormous bolts that constructed and held together its figure.
“What is this…?” I asked breathlessly, eyes wide, heart racing. I spun around to stare at the cliff at my back and a saw that I was on an isolated rise, a steep, grassy slope that sharply dropped down into the world below. I shook my head, disbelief rattling me.
And that’s when I felt something poke my leg.
I jumped, almost tumbling off the cliff, a cry springing from my lips. I looked down and saw a child no older than four years old staring up at me. He too was clothed in stalks of corn that spun and protruded from his tiny body, a shock of short golden silk tumbling down his face over his chubby, rosy cheeks.
His massive blue eyes sparkled as they met mind, a smile turning the corners of his face to reveal tiny white teeth.
“Got ya!” He giggled, wiggling his finger at me.
I blinked and tried to find my voice, tried to understand just what the hell was going on. The kid just stared at me, his pudgy cheeks bulging beneath those big blue eyes.
He started wiggling his pointer finger at me again, “Here it comes…here it comes!”
I almost laughed at the absurdity of what was happening. The little boy took a step closer, holding his finger out like a knife.
“Don’t let it touch you!” He laughed, taking another exaggerated step towards me.
I finally discovered how to speak again and cleared my throat, “Hey, cut it out. Who are you? What…or where am I?”
The kid dropped his hand to his side, disappointed, “Aw you’re no fun. Don’t you wanna play?”
“I want to know what the hell this place is!” I sputtered, shaking my head, “What the hell are all those people? What are YOU? And what’s that…that massive metal thing over there!”
The kid rolled his eyes dramatically, voice ripe with sarcasm “What’s the matter with you mister? Never been here before or something?”
I barked a laugh, the seams of my mind beginning to fray, “Does it LOOK like I’m from around here!?”
The kid furrowed his brow at me, “Hey, don’t yell at me.” He raised his finger menacingly, “Or I’m going to have to BOOP you again!” He wiggled his tiny finger and then fell into a fit of giggles.
I got down on one knee, sizing up the strange, small boy. At this proximity, I noticed that the sheathes of green protruding from his skin looked almost like strips of cloth.
“Don’t…please don’t boop me,” I said, trying to calm myself, “I’m just confused and have no idea how I got here. Or what this place is.”
The boy’s eyes grew wide in disbelief, “Are you lost mister?”
I snapped my fingers, “Yes! Yes that’s exactly it. I’m lost and I need to figure out how to go home.”