“Czernobog grasped Shadow’s arm. “Quickly, come here,” he said, pulling him over to a large glass box by a wall. It contained a diorama of a tramp asleep in a churchyard in front of a church door. THE DRUNKARD’S DREAM, said the label, explaining that it was a nineteenth-century penny-in-the-slot machine, originally from an English railway station. The coin slot had been modified to take the brass House on the Rock coins.
“Put in the money,” said Czernobog.
“Why?” asked Shadow.
“You must see. I show you.”
Shadow inserted his coin. The drunk in the graveyard raised his bottle to his lips. One of the gravestones flipped over, revealing a grasping corpse; a headstone turned around, flowers replaced by a grinning skull. A wraith appeared on the right of the church, while on the left of the church something with a half-glimpsed, pointed, unsettlingly birdlike face, a pale, Boschian nightmare, glided smoothly from a headstone into the shadows and was gone. Then the church door opened, a priest came out, and the ghosts, haunts, and corpses vanished, and only the priest and the drunk were left alone in the graveyard. The priest looked down at the drunk disdainfully, and backed through the open door, which closed behind him, leaving the drunk on his own.
The clockwork story was deeply unsettling. Much more unsettling, thought Shadow, than clockwork has any right to be.
“You know why I show that to you?” asked Czernobog.
“That is the world as it is. That is the real world. It is there, in that box.”“