Then, this world around me began to mutate. The clinical white of the Happiness Dimension altered to the grey and green of a sky and a field. In a minute, all quies had been put from me, replaced by the harrowing noise of a petrol-fuelled environment, a station evidently nearby. Despite the appearance of greenery that lay around me, a low stench lay in the air, not musty, but wretched with some sort of particle that hid in the other, larger particles of the mixed air. Breathing it all in, I coughed uncertainly, trying to pick out the essences of the Happiness Machine that remained in this new place. It was not to be. This was nothing at all like the Happiness Machine.
My bare feet already clotted with mud from standing in place, I began to wander away from a copse, in the direction of a motorway. The thought of trees, though mysterious, only brought distress in reference to my landing here. That buzzing amongst my eardrums was a natural sort, and yet, in the air, it glided along just as electricity in power-lines would. I looked up. Nope, no power-lines here, but still the buzzing continued, upping its tempo the nearer the motorway I ventured. No sickness came to me there and then, as I expected it might, but I did notice my path veer off the straight edge of the field I was following.
When I was about to stick my fingers in my ears to make sure that the sound wasn’t a figment of my imagination after all, I came to realise what I was hearing, though it made little sense. It could have been one of two things, and I was pretty sure that it was both, as contradictory as it appeared. Theory one centred on something mental: like electricity travelled, I began to imagine some sort of telepathic travel, where this new place, possibly an extension of that Happiness Dimension, had given me a superior level of mental auditory loop to detect the thoughts of others. The next supposition was a little less supernatural. Theory two speculated that I was hearing something quiet and mysterious, not yet in the distance; or it was something that was whizzing past me at a rate that my shaken brain could not calculate for it.
I had reached the worn banks of the field. A car zoomed past and I decided on the latter explanation. Engineers must have been testing the newest models, for these cars that passed my lone, roadside figure were as silent as the air-current; they had no exhaust pipe, so I deduced that they were the hybrid of electric-powered vehicles I had read about in the news.
Still wondering where on Earth I had been…transported (for it must have been something along those lines), I carefully crossed the road to notice a town emerging from the dip I was about to reach. Too, this place had no power-lines, but it was not that which I noticed first.
Oil-residue hung in the air just as loudly as the whispers had. In the midday sun, I could observe the town I descended into with apt disgust at the architecture: a horrid combination of red-brick and tin-foil, both roofs and structures full of the mismatched torments. Even during my time in the city, I had never come across such…futuristic huts and town-houses snatched from the right habitat into the wrong. Perhaps the heat of the sun, which was powerful in this canopy-less town, explained the reason for their choice of flat, colourless roofing. I stumbled through the combination houses. My head ached a little, vomit tore at my throat. I pulled a face at the coppery taste.
Finally, I rested on a block of marble-mottled stone that declared itself a bench, even if it were not the most conventional of seating. Why had I wandered away? I chided myself for making such a stupid move, when I could have stayed and waited for the Happiness Machine to reappear in whiteness all around my physicality. However, in the deepest depths of my mind, something told me that the science couple weren’t coming to pick me up.
As I massaged my face and my temples therein – the best action I could take for the time-being- I heard the gentle sounds of heels advancing. My head snapped up to stare threateningly at the person who was not even looking at me. With sleek jet-blackness falling far about her head and shoulders, she lifted a finger up to the air quizzically. Picturing a radar-disk and search-light, I began to laugh out loud. The only thing that stopped me was the switching of her expression, telling me that I needed to act now before I lost the chance to be upfront and in control.