Stepping out of the doorway, he blinked in surprise. The entire costume shop was gone. Not a rack or counter remained, simply a single banner hanging ten feet off the ground with the words
NO RETURNS printed on it.
Even as he watched, however, the words changed. They rearranged themselves, mutated to new ones, and others faded into existence. When they’d finished, the banner read: WELCOME TO
“Corsica?” he muttered. “Where the heck is that?”
A strange birdcall outside wrenched his attention away from the banner. It didn’t sound like any bird he’d ever heard before. It sounded…bigger. Different.
Paul ran to the door. It seemed like a blink to him before he actually hit the door, so surprised was he. Blinking through tears of pain, he began to realize that he hurt not only in his nose, but now a more unfamiliar place as well.
Looking over his shoulder, he realized he’d landed on his tail. The tail twitched and moved! Icy tendrils of fear and superstitious dread trickled down his spine. Under his horrified gaze the appendage continued to writhe as he realized he was sitting on a curve portion from where he’d fallen. He was sitting on his own tail, and it hurt.
He got up, muttering to himself in stunned disbelief. This was impossible. He shouldn’t have a tail. What was he to do now??
Unsure and unable to fathom what had happened, he heard the birdcall again. Realizing that he could identify the bird and have something he could accomplish, he scrambled through the door and out into even more strangeness.
Where there had been a bustling metropolis before, now there stood only dense pinewood. Conifers of every shape and description imaginable clustered together in thick lines that looked remarkably like soldiers marching in staggered formation.
A blue-gray bird the size of his forearm trilled smugly down at him. As he watched, it ruffled its plumage and flapped off to another tree a short distance away and called again. It seemed to be searching for something but that’s not what he noticed the most about it. What really caught his attention was the wicked, scimitar-like beak seemingly made for tearing flesh and little else. “What is this place?” he asked himself. Unbidden, the thought came to him: Corsica.
Written by Snore23 on 18 May 2017