024: The New Build


There is a building in the city center that has been under construction for at least the past four decades. It’s not hidden, it’s not disguised – it’s just taken for granted. However, no workers are ever seen on the site, aside from those who visit the building once a fortnight to check for signs of vandalism. When someone looks at the New Build and realises that work on it has never moved on, a set of interesting properties of the New Build make themselves known.

Once such property is the absence of an interior. Trying to enter the half-constructed rooms or climbing down into the structure reveals that, though it should be possible to get inside the half-a-dozen solid, sheltered rooms, the acolyte will always be standing outside, no matter how they try to get in. Bizarrely, thrown objects are immune to this rule – one could easily toss sensitive documents, old personal effects or things that might be used as evidence in undesired police investigations into the unapproachable rooms and be assured that it would not be discovered… more or less. It is simply impossible for living creatures to enter the rooms; they either find the passage impossible, or find themselves in a different building entirely.

This is down to the New Build’s second interesting property; by looking through the scaffolding of the building at different angles, different buildings are quite clearly visible. This is not down to the building being a mash-up of various architectural styles – although several are employed to disguise this bizarre quirk. In fact, the geometry of the scaffolds actually allow for passage from the New Build to specific other sets of scaffolding in construction sites around the city. There is no guarantee of safety, however – running along the wooden planks on the second storey of the New Build may cause you to shift to the seventh storey of an unfinished building in Queen’s Park – but this may prove vital if you need to make a hasty retreat from the city center. These “spatial shortcuts” do not always remain constant, and can switch even as someone is passing through them, leading to our third interesting property; the inhabitants of the New Build.

The Inhabitants are those people unfortunate enough to have been crossing between the New Build and another place when the shortcut they were on suddenly changed. Because of the unusual geometric effects of such a change, most inhabitants simply resemble fleshy canvases spread across frames of metal scaffolds, human forms punctured by bursts of broken brick and wood, heads bisecting corrugated iron with steel-wire nerves. The Inhabitants reside in the unapproachable center of the New Build, making themselves the custodians of all the unwanted objects that are tossed inside. They know our deepest, darkest secrets, all the things we want to hide, and they collect them when they fall into the New Build, stashing them away in some unseen room. Those that have secrets so dark they must be hidden here must pray the Inhabitants are never released from the unapproachable room.

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