As they progressed, Montrose realized that the humans were dressed in all manner of clothing, ranging from modern to ancient.
“Barnabus, what is the story behind the diversity of clothing.”
“People are dressed appropriate to where they are from. Some have been here for a long time, but others are just passing through. Stop staring.”
Montrose stared at the back of Barnabus’ head and followed in his wake. He did notice that the crowd parted for the bears, but felt it prudent to stop questioning his companion for now.
It wasn’t long before Barnabus led him into a door that looked no different from countless others. Inside was a mix of curio shop and cafe. The low-ceiling room held as much variety as the street and they made their way to a booth near the back of the shop.
“I don’t see him, so we must wait. The pear cider is quite good here.” Without waiting for a response, Barnabus held up two fingers. Within moments a clockwork figure approached with two drinks, set them down, and disappeared as quickly. Montrose did have to admit that the drink was good.
Before he could speak again, Barnabus spoke.
“Everything and everyone here is either part of a dream that escaped or are visitors such as us. It’s actually a rather calm place.”
“How do you know the difference between the dreams and travelers?”
“It’s difficult and considered rude to ask. You’ll get used to it.”
While they spoke, someone entered that drew Barnabus’ attention.
“There he is,” the bear sighed.
“Is there a problem I should know?”
Wee Hamish is just…different.”
Montrose looked again. The figure looked like a corgi wearing the finery of a Scottish Highlander. He strode through the room with a great smile, stopping to speak with everyone he encounters.
“He is certainly jolly, Montrose noted.
“Many plush animals in particular will take on attributes given to them by their first owner,” Barnabus said.
“So was your first owner such a bitter, sarcastic…”
Wee Hamish arrived before Montrose could finish. He jovially shoved in next to Barnabus, spilling some of his drink. The look of disappointment was almost a physical presence.
“Barnabus,” he squeaked in excitement, “you never come around here these days! What brings you to town?” He threw an arm around the bear’s shoulders. Barnabus’ discomfort was obvious to everyone but Hamish, to Montrose’s glee.