Aphelion Issue 245, Volume 23
November 2019
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Where is Allasneda?

by Sascha Hannig
Translated by Toshiya Kamei

Santiago de Chile, February 21, 12:42 p.m. A well-dressed man, holding a box of tomatoes and wearing a top hat, steps up on an overturned wooden box and pats himself on the chest a couple of times. Around him, men and women bustle about, following the rhythm of the city that traps them and turns them into the gears of a great machine of the twenty-first century.

That strange figure takes out a small bottle of dark brown or black liquid and begins to call in an energetic, convincing voice: "Step right up, folks! Don't miss this golden opportunity to get magic in a bottle! Only science has managed to surpass the old potions of yesteryear! From hair loss to migraines, this liquid will cure all ailments!"

For several hours, no one so much as throws him a glance. He's a ghost in a crowd, ignored by women and children. Finally, a man stops in front of him.

"Why haven't you gotten off that box once? I saw you here in the morning, and you haven't sold a thing." The young man, standing in polished shoes with a couple of books under his arm, smiles. His hair is held back by a pair of glasses and his belt by a gear.

"Because I was waiting for you." The salesman smiles, and the young man steps closer.

"My great compatriot, so you've already noticed."

"Why am I dead?" asks the salesman. "I suppose I don't fit into this world like a stranger in the southern land. I still can't find Allasneda."

"When you manage to sell a bottle, you'll have arrived there."

"What's there? Are they all ghosts?"

"No, you're alive there. Here, in the twenty-first century, you're only an invisible fictional character, not even a memory. Don't you get it? You exist only for those who have been to Allasneda."

2019 Sascha Hannig

Born in Santiago de Chile in 1994, Sascha Hannig made her literary debut in 2010 with the novel Sombras de venganza. She is the author of the Allasneda series whose volumes include Misterios y revelaciones en Allasneda (2011) and Secretos perdidos en Allasneda (2015). Allasneda is a steampunk fantasy world created by Sascha as an alternative setting for the magical lands of Southern Chile. For more information, visit https://saschahannig.wordpress.com/ . She's on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SaschaHannig

Find more by Sascha Hannig in the Author Index.

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