A shadow walked along the crumbling ruins of the empty city, not really sure where it was headed. Wherever it was, it seemed in no hurry to go.
Constantly stopping every few blocks to examine a coffee shop, a library, crowded apartment buildings, the shadow could see how the city might have once been a lively place, but that clearly wasn’t the case now. Covered with dust from a bygone time, the shadow observed how everything was falling into disrepair: the buildings overgrown with ivy and creeping vines, leaning every which way like hastily built towers of building blocks, the paved streets giving way to dry cracked soil- even the sky was a muddy orange, tired and devoid of life.
So imagine the shadow’s surprise when it saw a real, working neon sign, reading “Welcome! Please come in and have a seat.”
Glad to get out of the rather depressing city, the shadow put its hand on the door handle and gave a firm push, only to be met with what looked like an empty and rather boring waiting room that was just as dirty and miserable as everything else in the city.
Disappointed, the shadow turned around to leave but was blinded by a sudden bright light.
“Welcome to the Ideas Desk! How may I help you?”
Encountering the first sign of intelligent life in the otherwise completely abandoned city, the shadow slowly opened its eyes, trying to comprehend what it was seeing.
What seemed at first like an empty room was suddenly filled with all manner of people that the shadow had no way of describing. The only thing that the people seemed to share in common was a certain emotion, a certain look. It seemed that one part of the shadow’s first impression was correct- it was a waiting room, and all these people were waiting for something. But for what?
“Ahem,” the receptionist coughed politely. “Do you need something?”
Startled into action, the shadow awkwardly shuffled toward the door, laughing apologetically. “Ahaha, no, I think I just stumbled here by mistake, but thanks. I’d best be going-“
“Not so fast!” the receptionist caught hold of the shadow, looking it straight in the eye. “What urgent matter is making you want to leave so soon? No one stumbles into the Ideas Desk by mistake, dear.”
“Ah, well, I have things to do-“
“What sort of things?” The receptionist said impatiently. “They can’t be all that important if you’re skulking around the city of Inspiration.”
“I wasn’t skulking,” said the shadow indignantly. “And this city doesn’t seem all that inspiring. Who are you and what the hell is this place?”
“Well… perhaps skulking wasn’t the right word,” said the receptionist thoughtfully. “Maybe striding? Or sauntering? Slinking? Maybe even-“
“That wasn’t what I was asking,” said the shadow in frustration. “Let me say it again since it seems you didn’t hear it the first time. Who are you and what is this place?”
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