Two men walked through the snow storm. The were wrapped up against the cold, they were not in filtration masks and there faces were uncovered.
This is Pre-Collapse, before we feared what fell from the sky.
One held a small device. He stopped, held it up, turned left, right, trying to orient himself in a plane of white. He partner carried on, his steps crunching in the distance. 10 strides later he stopped.
“Are you going to do that all the way?” His voice was muted, the snow stealing it across the distance.
“I said,” louder now. “Are you going to do that-” The one with the device started walking.
“I don’t know where I am! How are you navigating? Look at this place.”
There was no landmark, no way point. Nothing that anyone would use to get their bearings. They both looked at the screen. It was white with a single blip in the middle of the screen. At the top left of the screen there was a large arrow.
Now they have spoken, it’s clear that the one holding the device is the younger of the two. The other looked in the direction of the arrow, hands on his hips, breathing heavily.
He took another look at the screen.
Finally he spoke. “It’s wrong. It needs to be about 15 degrees to the north. Come on.” He strode off. Slightly shifting his direction.
“How do you know!”
“You learn, son. You learn. Now come on.”
Their journey continued like this for a while, until they found their stride and marched in silence.
The older spoke, then. “It’s beautiful, you know. The first time you see it. It’s vast. It casts a shadow across the entire plane. Everything changes. You, your place in the world, your understanding of it. Everything.”
“Have you ever wanted to go back? You know – with them. To see it?”
“I’ve never been asked. Actually, I’ve never even seen them. All communication is done over the airwaves. But…I don’t think so. I’d rather not know. What about you? Would you go?”
“In a heartbeat.” He looked up. “Look at it. It’s vast. To be able to see it!”
The older chuckled. “Maybe you’ll get your chance, young’un. If we ever find the place.”
“What? Why are we stopping?”
“What’s that machine of yours say?”
“It’s at least 2 clicks off that way.” He pointed into the distance.
The elder bent down, and fumbled in the snow. “Hmm.”
He moved round, and did the same again. Each followed by a confused “Hmm.”
The elder of the two took the younger and stood him in place.
There was a hiss as a doorway lifted up, groaning under the weight of the snow. Lights flicked on beneath it, bathing the area in an orange glow. He stepped forward watching the darkness recede revealing a staircase.
“That’s why you don’t pay any attention to those toys, son. It’ll be OK. You’ll learn soon enough.”
He made his way downstairs, pulling off his gloves. “Welcome to Wonderland.”