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Todd looked quizzically across the square, his chesnut hair whipping about his face in the wind. The puffy clouds overhead seemed to fly across the sky, and on it the wind carried the sound of frantic windchimes.
He had been sitting on a parkbench about a block from school, waiting to be picked up. He was feeling sorry for himself, being eighteen and without a car, but all that was lost when something at the coffe house across the street caught his eye.
A girl who looked about his age was sitting at one of the alfresco tables outside the coffe house, this one without an umbrella which was stange in and of itself. She was plain in appearance, with mousy brown hair and flat brown eyes, but that was not what caught his attention.
On the table before the girl was a small metal ball on a pole, with several silver rings spinning vertically around it so fast that they had become an indistinguishable blur. It emitted a low whirring sound that carried easily over the chimes and the sound of the wind raking through the trees.
Suddenly and without realizing it, Todd was off the bench and crossing the street. Cars honked their horns as they swerved around him, but he paid no mind, breaking into a light jog.
"What's that?" he asked the girl. She just stared at the strange device as if in a trance, totally catatonic. Todd placed a finger at the top of the spinning rings and the whirring ceased. He could now clearly see seven silver rings as they rode out their momentum.
"Hello," the girl said, noticing Todd for the first time. It sounded like a question.
"What is that thing?"
"Hm? Oh this?" she asked, pointing at the device. "I found it."
"Looked like it was hypnotizing you or something."
"No, but it makes pretty pictures if you look into it. Here, take a look."
Todd did not see her smirk as she pressed a green button at the base of the device. The rings started to spin again, but this time making a high pitched shriek unlike the low whirring he had heard from across the street. He felt as if he was being torn apart atom by atom, as in fact, he was. He saw no pretty pictures.
Where Todd had once been was now only empty space. The girl hit a black button and the machine ceased. She smirked again as she picked up the device and walked away.