I recently decided to try my hand at short stories. Really short, and limited in a way that should result in me working hard to edit them. This is the second of my efforts, written in 750words.com and edited to my word count standards. If you are reading on an RSS feed you should see the story right after this paragraph. It you are reading on my blog itself, you may have to click "Read more" to get the story. Feel free to comment, criticize, enjoy, or ignore.
I woke suddenly from a nap, aware that something was very wrong. Instead of the quiet of my living room, I could hear voices echoing, as if in a large hall. I opened my eyes and sat up, not from my couch, but from a padded bench. There was a man sitting in a chair near me, watching, and beyond him was a building full of people. The people were chatting with each other, moving around the vast space, and glancing over at... well, me. I focused on the man in the chair, and he smiled in a reassuring way.
"Greetings! You must be confused," he launched into the patter as if he'd said it a thousand times, "you've entered the Trade Dimension. It's a place where people from all over meet and share. We can bring one person from each world here, and you are the person from yours!" He paused to take a breath, and see if I had any questions.
I didn't. I was trying to absorb everything. After a moment he continued. "We've found that almost every dimension has at least one thing that every other dimension doesn't, and we trade those items. It's made those of us who make this trip very rich in our home worlds."
My relief at knowing I could go home showed, because he smiled again and said, "Yes, you'll be rich! And hopefully you'll have some fantastic invention for us to share!" I looked out at the room, at mini-dirigibles, handheld computers, lasers, holograms, things I couldn't name... and I wondered what I could possibly contribute. The man in the chair stood up and held out his hand, "Come with me and take a look at what we've found so far."
Walking around the place, I learned that new people were brought into the Trade Dimension about once a week, the time it took for the dimensional doorway to open a new world and integrate enough to allow a person to pass through.
As we walked, we discussed what inventions my dimension had to offer, and I worried as I found technology far beyond what I knew existed in my world. I chatted with other dimensional travelers, most of whom were here today in the hopes that I would bring something new for them to take home. But a couple of hours of walking and discussion brought us no closer to anything unique I could supply.
Finally, as I sat discussing wind power with a group of travelers, someone made a reference I thought was off the mark and I said, "That's comparing apples to oranges!" To my surprise, many in the group laughed while others looked confused.
"What's an apple?" asked one of the confused. Two of the laughers answered at the same time, one said, "A mythical fruit" while the other said, "An extinct food."
I rocked back on my heels, then smiled as I finally realized just what my world had to offer.