No sign of her brother when she returns to the condo. She puts on the glasses and the gloves and slots virtual Kyoto...
Once perfected, communication technologies rarely die out entirely; rather, they shrink to fit particular niches in the global info-structure. Crystal radios have been proposed as a means of conveying optimal seed-planting times to isolated agrarian tribes. The mimeograph, one of many recent dinosaurs of the urban office-place, still shines with undiminished samisdat potential in the century's backwaters, the Late Victorian answer to desktop publishing. Banks in uncounted Third World villages still crank the day's totals on black Burroughs adding machines, spooling out yards of faint indigo figures on long, oddly festive curls of paper, while the Soviet Union, not yet sold on throw-away new-tech fun, has become the last reliable source of vacuum tubes. The eight-track tape format survives in the truckstops of the Deep South, as a medium for country music and spoken-word pornography.
The Street finds its own uses for things - uses the manufacturers never imagined. The micro-tape recorder, originally intended for on-the-jump executive dictation, becomes the revolutionary medium of magnetisdat, allowing the covert spread of banned political speeches in Poland and China. The beeper and the cellular phone become economic tools in an increasingly competitive market in illicit drugs. Other technological artifacts unexpectedly become means of communication ... The aerosol can give birth to the urban graffitti-matrix. Soviet rockers press homemade flexidisks out of used chest x-rays..."
Fifteen stones against white sand.
The sandals of a giant who was defeated by a dwarf.
A pavilion of gold, another of silver.
A waterfall where people pray ...
Her mother removes the glasses. Her mother looks at the timer. Three hours. "But you don't like games, Kelsey..."
"It's not a game," tears in her eyes. "It's a city." Her mother puts on the glasses, moves her head from side to side, removes the glasses.
"I want to go there," Kelsey says.
"It's different now. Everything changes."
"I want to go there," Kelsey insists. She puts the glasses back on because the look in her mother's eyes frightens her.
The stones, the white sand: cloud-shrouded peaks, islands in the stream...
She wants to go there...