It took a few moments for their vision to clear. When it did, they could tell they were still in the airport, but it was drastically different. Rather than the relatively sparse and empty hall they had just been standing in, they now found themselves surrounded by people, lights, and displays. Every nook had a different visual display, though where they came from, Maite couldn’t tell. They seemed to float in the air.
All of the people were milling about, dashing from one place to another with intention, as if they all had some place to go. The people around them were both familiar and strange. She recognized the stereotypical Basque features in a lot of the faces – the big noses, the big ears – but there were a lot of other faces as well, African, Asian, South American. It was a much more diverse crowd than she was used to seeing in the Basque Country.
More surprising than the faces were the sounds. Everyone seemed to be talking in a different language, even to one another, but they all seemed to understand. Maite could only hear occasional snippets of Basque, Spanish, or English, but they were different than what she knew. She recognized sounds and fragments, but the accents were… off. Mixed in were languages she couldn’t understand at all and yet, somehow, the others around her could. The cacophony of sounds was almost overwhelming.
And their clothes! Maite wasn’t necessarily as sheltered as Kepa, living in Gernika and going to school in Bilbao, but she had never seen the types of fashion that now flooded her eyes. No one wore anything she recognized. Some had on sleek, one-piece, form-fitting outfits that had no seams or zippers, but covered almost the entire body, hugging it and leaving little to the imagination. Patterns and colors shifted dynamically on the surfaces of some as their owners moved. Others wore even less, their outfits essentially transparent, leaving precisely nothing to the imagination. Maite saw Kepa staring at a few of the women that walked by, almost mesmerized by their curves. Yet others were on the opposite extreme, seeming floating wide-brimmed hats with what Maite could only describe as curtains falling from the brim to the floor. She assumed there must be people behind the curtain, but she couldn’t actually see them.
In contrast, other people were wearing the most elaborate costumes Maite had seen outside of movies. There were people dressed as pirates, as eighteenth century revolutionaries, as ancient Romans, and as native islanders. Almost every period was represented, as if some role playing game had gone berserk.
And, finally, there were those that simply defied description, outlandish outfits that seemed to come straight from some science fiction story. Some wore large mechanical gloves that seemed able to crush anything they touched. Others, both men and women, had skirts that seemed rigid, as if made from plastic, that formed sharp angles against their skin. Even others wore coats and pants that rippled with spikes up and down the arms and legs, spikes that somehow retracted and extended dynamically as the wearer moved. Many had what appeared to be geometric shapes that somehow floated around them. One woman had circles that encircled her head, tilting this way and that as she moved. Maite saw a man who had a series of pentagons that wrapped around his arms and legs, changing shape and orientation as his arms and legs swung.
She shook her head and closed her eyes, the visual chaos overwhelming her even more than the audio cacophony.
She felt Kepa pulling at her arm. She turned, opening her eyes to see him pointing as he pulled her along. He pulled her to a window. It took a moment for her to register what she was seeing. Looking out the window, which covered the entire wall, her field of view was filled with skyscrapers that went up as far as she could see. They had more organic shapes than she had seen before as they twisted into the sky. Some seemed to branch like massive trees while others consisted of spheres attached to a central tower that seemed to rise to infinity. Green vines cascaded down many of them, with flat terraces covered in trees and other plants. Looking down, Maite couldn’t see the streets. Or, rather, there were no streets. The spaces between buildings were filled with vegetation, not nicely manicured but also not entirely wild.
Maite looked over at Kepa. “I think we’ve gone into the future.”
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