short story, story promptKarliah sees a vision of a very different world to her own – it’s more mechanical with strange flying ships. When she suddenly finds herself trapped in this alternate world, will she find her way back home?


Karliah stopped in her tracks. She’d glanced out of the open window in passing, but the view was not what she was used to seeing. The city looked similar to what it usually did, but there were also definite changes. The buildings were dirtier and made more from metals than stone. Steam rose from all different areas of the city, creating a slightly overcast effect. Iron embellishments adorned bridges and buildings. Strange contraptions moved themselves along the streets – there didn’t seem to be any horses pulling them along.

The strangest thing were the ships floating in the sky. That was ridiculous. Ships were made for the sea, not the sky. It was impossible for them to fly.

“Karliah? Are you listening?”

She blinked and glanced at her friend and fellow maid-servant. “Marzi, look!” She pointed out the window then hesitated.

“What am I looking at?” Marzi asked, peering through the arched opening.

“I … it was … the city was different.” Looking out the window now, all she could see were the stone buildings of her home city. There was no trace of the metal machines or belching steam.

Marzi gave her an odd look. “I don’t see anything.”

“I swear I saw it,” Karliah murmured.

“Come on.” Marzi tugged on her arm. “We’re going to be late to the festival and we still need to get the stall ready!”

Taking a last hard look out the window, Karliah followed her friend. She let Marzi do the talking, only vaguely paying attention. A memory had stirred in the back of her mind. The image of the flying ships seemed to have stuck with her for some reason. It was almost as if she remembered them. It seemed impossible, but she was sure there was half a memory of seeing one of them before. Perhaps it had been in a dream?

She must have been hallucinating, that was the only logical explanation. Otherwise, a wizard had been experimenting with magic and created the vision. If that was the case, surely others would have seen it? No one else was talking about it though. All the conversations around her as they walked away from the castle centred around the festival.

“Did you grab the blue ribbons for the bakery stall?” Marzi asked.

Karliah groaned, mystery forgotten for the time being. “No! I left them back in the storage cupboard.” She waved Marzi on. “I’ll catch up. Let me go grab them.” She turned and headed back to the castle.

Passing a side street, a wave of heated air swirled around her blue skirt and ruffled the black apron. She paused and peered into the alleyway. The overhanging roofs of the surrounding buildings darkened the street, but she could see an intriguing glint and hear an odd puffing, grating noise at the other end.

She threw a quick glance at Marzi who was still heading away towards the large field where the festival was being held. She really should hurry and bring those ribbons back, but a quick look down the street would only take a minute.

She ducked into the side street, the heat intensifying. Tendrils of humid steam snaked through the alley. Seconds later, she emerged at the other end. She shook her head and blinked rapidly.

Twice in a row? The city had seemed to change around her. The metallic buildings surrounded her, glinting in the sunlight. One of the strange horse-less carts rolled past her, puffing loudly. Clanking and grinding noises filled the air, people around her talking over the sound.

She swallowed and rushed back into the street behind her. This was too bizarre. Emerging back at the other end, she panicked. The world still looked wrong! Why hadn’t she gone back to her world? Where was she? How did she get here?

How did she get home again?

From a fantasy world to a steampunk one!

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