Blood Sweat And Glitter (rewrite)

Dr. Cornelius Everett Wondertainment sat on a boat in a stagnant pool, hunched under an umbrella of his own devising. It was quite honestly a thing to behold; a perfectly transparent cone floating half a metre or so above his head, catching the raindrops and accelerating them before forcing them into a slight curve that sent them flying skyward once more. A miniature fountain, giving off a slight white glow that cast rainbows in all directions. He'd planned to hand them out free of charge, for visitors and citizens to use on rainy days. A little taste of Wonder to keep spirits high in the face of the depressingly capricious Bostonian weather. Not that there were any spirits to keep high.

He'd pored over the reports enough to know the figures off by heart. Expected № visitors on day one: 8,000. Actual: 1,850. Average № expected visitors per day for the following month: 4,000. Actual: 130. Expected № permanent residents after six months: 35,000. Actual: somewhere in the region of 50, including himself, a dozen remaining staff members, and a lot of squatters who were still in the process of breaking the wrecks down for parts. He'd given up trying to chase them off after a while. There didn't seem much point.

He leaned back in the boat and looked to the sky, modulating the UmBrilliant to allow a faint patter of raindrops to fall around him. Somewhere in (an ill-defined spatial direction approximating) the distance, a car alarm sounded, poking through the extradimensional fabric like a soft, auditory knife. Cornelius let out a sigh, deep and heartfelt, and tried to make himself comfortable on the deck. Above him a poster, finally torn loose by the storm, caught on the mast. As he let his eyes unfocus and his thoughts wander, he was reminded of the fact that he'd never been able to have the images move like he wanted. One more failure to add to his monumental checklist. Probably for the best that he hadn't spent all that money, really, given how things panned out in the end. Would've been nice. Pricey, but nice. J. K. Rowling was a hell of a negotiator.






and it can last FOR A LIFETIME!

Grand Opening FRIDAY 12th JUNE, 19##

When he awoke, the rain had stopped, and the place's approximation of a sky was caught flickering somewhere between sunrise and midday. The horizon was streaked with great orange-red blotches, erased in great square chunks by pale, cloud-speckled blue, and the two suns pulsed in and out of existence as the algorithms competed for aerial supremacy. Cornelius rubbed his eyes and sat up, wincing as he grazed the tender flesh around his jaw. The rust was getting worse and worse each day.

With shaking hands, he pulls himself over the edge of the boat and onto the platform, straightens his hat and tie, and sets off. Still shaking off the effects of an unexpected night's sleep spent sprawled on an abandoned theme park ride, he staggers from building to building, down alleyways and high-streets, not one of them populated by anything more human than a promotional billboard or an empty can of cola.

"It could have been so good", he whispers, more to the city than to himself. "It could have been amazing. A whole city, a whole magical, beautiful, wonderful city. People should have flocked here from across the globe. I'm not one to toot my own horn", he lies, "but it should have been a utopia."

He turns down a cobbled lane lined with the glass-fronted holes made for businesses that never came. In some of them the glass was still unbroken, and bare mannequins watched in silent judgement as he passed.

"It's not my fault. It can't have been my fault. I did everything I could have. I put months… years of my life into this. Decades, even. It's not fair. It's not right."

Of course it wasn't right. When had anything ever gone right for him? He hadn't asked for the company. When his uncle (Cousin? He wasn't actually sure. They'd never been close) had died, he'd just been desperate for a job. He thought they made sweets or something, which wasn't too far from the truth. Still, though.

Cornelius catches sight of his reflection in a shop window and shudders. What little of his face remains un-bandaged isn't pleasant to look at.

Still, though, he certainly hadn't asked for this.

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