The fire and brimstone of shangri-la

So there I was, sitting in the lobby of the Ritz Carlton hotel, indulging in yet another one of my rather outlandish fantasies when in walks the most peculiar man I have ever seen. I'm sitting in a chair, consuming my somewhat droll and gritty vending machine coffee, casually people watching, when I see him. He walks in the door with all the bravado of a small town cop, yet all the enigma of a sleuth. He was of average stature and possessed an average looking build. But the mediocrity stopped there. He had ferociously curly dark hair, piercing black eyes, and a wry smile. He had on a theatrical black pinstripe suit and a feathered top hat. His sharp features were arranged in a most particular fashion, as if he were neither vapid nor overly anxious. The most peculiar thing, however, was what he held in his hands. Enclosed in his fist was a key. A very bitty key, the deep red color of blood. It was very ornate, slightly Victorian looking. This in itself wouldn't have been too odd, however, it was shimmering. Not glittery, not sparkling, but shimmering, almost as if it was slipping in and out of view, wobbling between dimensions. He walked right up to the bell boy and slipped him a sealed envelope, glancing over his shoulder as he did. After this, he promptly twirled around and slipped out the door. True to character, I was so intrigued that I couldn't help but follow. I got to the door right as he was vanishing around the corner. I took a breath, weighing my options. After precisely three seconds of deliberation, I set of after him, feeling as if something important was going to happen, for better or for worse.

I finally caught up to him in an alleyway in a side street near Central Park. He stopped suddenly and began examining the wall, like he was trying to find something. I for one thought he looked positively batty staring at a wall like that. Imagine my surprise when he thrust his peculiar shimmering key in to the wall and stepped through. The wall didn't slide away, a secret door didn't open, it was just as if he was some sort of ethereal being, able to walk though walls! I let out a small mouse like squeak as I tried to process what I had just witnessed. I couldn't come up with any rational explanation, so I decide to investigate. Tentatively, I followed him through the wall and suddenly found myself in a place that I had absolutely no explication for. I saw large, ornate Victorian looking buildings, reminiscent of the Gothic revival. Directly in front of me was a ginormous building that I assumed was some sort of central building. It has long, twisting spires, colossal windows, and pointed towers that extended into the to the clouds. The color of the building was a dusty pink, with illusive gold flecks spread out all over. The streets were cobblestone, and I saw several small cottages and shops lining the path. I felt as if I had been transported back in time. That was, until I saw the robots. They were everywhere, dressed in the same flamboyant looking clothing as the peculiar man. In fact, I noticed, everyone was dressed rather elaborate and bombastic, the men in suits and feathered top hats and the women in various outfits that made them appear as if they had just walked off an avaunt-garde runway. The loud banging of a robot emptying the garbage can brought my attention back to them. They seemed to be everywhere, doing the most menial of tasks. I saw one emptying a garbage can, another sweeping the street, and another shining a mans shoes. I was inexplicably flabbergasted! I must be dreaming, I told myself. I shut my eyes and forced myself to wake up. I opened them, as was very much still there. With out delay, I recalled my most adored line from one of my heroes, the brilliant Sherlock Holmes: "when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth!" Well, I'm not dreaming, at least I don't seem to be. Could it be that this peculiar, improbable situation was actually happening? Well, there is only one way to find out, I tell myself, as I set off for that large building.





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