It's Christmas Everywhere
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In the window of what in any other world would be a toystore, there is a collection of dolls all dressed for Christmas. Red and green outfits, tinsel, tiny sprigs of artificial mistletoe... admittedly it's red and green leather, and some of the dolls have decidedly wicked grins beneath angelically curled hair and above neatly-stitched clothing, and the two dolls in the cage seem to be wearing an absolute minimum, but still. It's Christmas. They're dolls. The shop window seems to present them with the impression that their behavior is common; for this world, it is.
There are other toys in the window, peeking out of tissue-filled boxes... small collar-and-leash sets in pretty green plaid... a tea set done all in black china, so dark the lights barely reflect from the polished surfaces... a pair of remote-control pets designed to crawl around, and bark, and sit up and beg, their hands and feet and faces quite detailed, the pretend shock collars on their throats gleaming with little digital gems of color.
Outside the window a young boy and girl are looking in, brother and sister; oohing and aahing over the displayed goodies, debating the merits of the two remote-control pets, tiny cold-reddened noses pressed to the glass for a long moment before they hurry back to their errands, shivering a bit in the thin silken livery that is the only clothing they were allowed that day, the metal collars and cuffs they wear feeling colder than usual as the chilled wind set the steel rings to near-freezing against their skin.
Some days it's like the universe we all seem to live in is just this thin, fragile thing... like a pane of tinted glass, and if I unfocus slightly, look past the color and swirl of this world I can see the next... and the next... and the next... a near-endless procession of images seen faintly, but solidly, just out of reach. Some days it goes even further and I would swear if I could just take one step in the right direction, I would step through the glass, through the veil that is all this world becomes, and into whatever other universe I am viewing so much more clearly than this one. Just that one step... gods, I wish I knew how to take it.
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