“As I said two weeks ago,” Arnold began, they were in the airship well above Mondrago. “I had started to use my watch as a means of telling if I was home or not. I didn’t have to continue that trend for long.”
The cat felt something different about this realm even while he was slipping into it. Something about it was harsher, and it had a pull that was unlike the others, while at the same time there was some resistance.
He didn’t know how to describe the resistance, only that it seemed to be changing him. He began to notice hundreds of things that had been missing before. He was hungry now…and tired. His stomach was growling in protest and there were other necessities he would have to address later. He also recognized a pull that he hadn’t realized he was missing until now…gravity. Gravity was a thing in this realm where it hadn’t been wherever he had been visiting. He’d felt something like this in the reverse realm perhaps, but it hadn’t been the same thing.
All of those small things he had begun to notice went out of his mind when he finally saw where he had landed. He gasped as he gazed at a grand stone port filled with hundreds of vessels. There were the usual fishing boats and barges where the men were unloading or loading crates of goods for trade. But there were also massive passenger ships with smokestacks, and vessels with glass domes near the front or sides which the cat suspected were submarines. Except for the barges no two ships came in the same shapes or sizes, and it reminded him of home.
Turning around he found that his view was obstructed by a brick wall. He ran on all fours to the other side and gaped as he confirmed that he was in a city of industry. There were dozens of processing factories and warehouses nearby, and in the distance he could see a giant clock-tower made of stone. There was grime and filth everywhere, the only road was mud until you reached cobbles farther down. There was a slight breeze along with the ocean spray carrying with it the scent of men and fish, and which would eventually bring the smell of this wharf to the people in the city. Dock workers glanced at him oddly, but mostly ignored him as they went about their business…most of them were human, but there were a few moreau’s as well.
He heard a faint ticking noise, and he held his breath as he checked his hat watch once more. It was ticking properly, the second hand moving exactly as it should. He looked up knowing that this city, wherever it was, was not Babbage. The sky was still too blue and he didn’t recognize any of the familiar sights…but he was at least on Earth. He was home.
“At least, I thought I was.” Arnold said bitterly later. “I wasted at least a week before I found out otherwise.”