The young boy exclaimed with joy as he came scampering from his bed and down the stairs. The brightly colored tree caught the look of the child. Below it sat presents, more than he could count. He darted into the room, yelling about Santa and began dancing excitedly around awaiting to tear into the colorful packages.
The illusion disappeared and the robot, Sonny, is left standing at the foot of a tall chimney that was once surrounded by an old wooden house. He realizes he was dancing as the child was but stopped. The feelings and excitement and eagerness had been washed away when the illusion disappeared.
“Another one for Mother,” the low mechanical voice muttered after disappointingly losing the sensation he felt moments before. He looked about the area where the house once stood for an artifact, anything that would represent that child and his family. The long distant past seemed to be a happy one, and so he often liked to collect relics of those long forgotten.
Sonny moved some of the rubble and found a small spherical object with a circular base. He turned it over to inspect it. “Looks like the Chronosphere,” he noted to himself. He put the spherical part upwards again and is surprised, the best way a mechanical being can be, by the little scene that took place inside the sphere. A tiny house with a car outside it and some trees on either side were being snowed on in its tiny atmosphere. Sonny sat and watched the scene for a while, fascinated with his discovery. “Could this be an earlier iteration of the Chronosphere?” he asked out loud, his robotic voice echoed against the brick walls. “Must collect this and take it back to Mother,” he said as he placed the small object in his bag.
He made his way through the streets of the ancient city. The white marble buildings that once stood here, now black stained from what could only be guessed the fires that burned down all the wood structures. The red brick houses, the ones unclaimed by nature’s greed, had only just begun to become loose and crumble. All that was left were the steel structures. Once they had adorned windows into the far reaches of the heavens, now they are rusting old obelisks, that swayed in the high winds.
Sonny had a particular place in mind that he was searching for. A place that he had only been told about in passing by Mother. A pillar of marble that was once held in great regard. He walked slowly following the directions he had searched in the old databases. There it was the top was as white as a cloud but the bottom as black as night. He walked past it and began looking for the stairs he saw in one of the illusions. A staircase going up to some kind of temple, with a statue of what could only be described as a giant sitting on a throne. The giant’s head had long past fallen off, and its body was worn by the winds of time, but the steps leading up to it were still there, and that was Sonny’s destination.
Walking halfway up the steps Sonny sat down and admired the blackened marble pillar from a distance. He looks up and begins to calculate, “Three minutes till sundown.”
The small device he wore as a pendant on his neck began to hum. Sonny pulled it out and inspected it. A small metal ball that has some slits cut into it so that a small light could escape. He held it out and pressed a small circular button on the top of it. It began to float and then sections of it began to spin right, while other segments began to spin left. The light from within seems to get brighter and brighter, until it was nearly blinding to Sonny’s sensors, it grew until the whole world vanished behind its pure white light. And with a flash the world is different again.
Sonny is now a young man, sitting on the steps of that temple as Sonny was, looking out at the now tall white obelisk. He turned and looked behind him, crowds of people covered the steps, some stood, some sat. At the foot of the giant on his throne people inspect it with great awe, as they looked up on its massive bearded face. The young man looked to his right, sitting next to him is a woman. His heart fluttered as he scurried his fingers up to hers, hoping to get an opening to slide his between hers. She looked down and grinned at him and took his hand and pulled him close.
She’s so beautiful, the man thinks as he lays his head on hers, nervously sick, yet extraordinarily happy. He holds her there, believing that in this moment not a single terrible thing matters. He looked out toward the marble obelisk and stared in awe, as the sun set. A most perfect moment.
And then it was all gone. The waters of the box lake are a rusty color, the obelisk blackened, the trees and fields overgrown and the temple to the unknown giant worn by ages of wind and decay. Sonny leaned his head over, as if there were something there for him to lean on, and right as he realized that there isn’t he lost balance and caught himself. He reached down to his abdomen, and placed his hand where a human stomach would have been, the nervous-happy sickness he felt began to fade, and before he could recall how it felt, it was gone. He looked up, and saw a glimpse of the twilight, in all its splendor, but nothing he had felt as the man had remained here. It was just sensors picking up fading heat and solar energy. The world grew cold.