The terrarium seemed to have developed a strange mess in the lefthand back corner. Isidora moved it this way and that – carefully, always carefully; even though it was on a rotating platform, she always made certain to move it very slowly – until she could get a magnifying glass aimed at the corner in question.
Yes. She frowned at it for a moment. It seemed to have gotten a ruined building. Ruined, mostly abandoned, the roof collapsing.
When was the last time she’d looked at that corner? Maybe last week. The terrarium was mostly self-sustaining – it needed a little water and a little food every so often and she kept it plugged in to a battery back up to make sure it stayed at about the right temperature and such things, and it had been a busy week.
Still. She took a series of photos and made a couple notes. She’d have to keep an eye on that.
Two days later, the building had fallen further apart and, closer to the center of the terrarium, another one had popped up, already in a state of disrepair. The first one had graffiti on it now, some of it very artistic and other parts clumsy.
If things didn’t self-regulate soon, she was going to have to interfere.
Two more days and another building had popped up. Isidora frowned at the thing. It wasn’t inherently ugly, that was the worst part. In 3⁄8 scale, you could still see the careful detail on the stonework. Someone had put a great deal of effort into this tiny building.
And then something else had ruined it.
Isidora dropped a triple measure of food into the terrarium that evening, extra grain and a measure of extra sweets. She sat back then and watched.
The creatures she had built lived much faster than humans, died much faster, built much faster. She’d designed them as messengers, but found she was too fascinated with them to risk them out in the world.
Exactly what they needed to survive and thrive, however, that was taken more study than actually building them had.
As she watched, a crew of tiny bipeds worked their way to the broken down buildings and, with paintbrushes no bigger than a couple strands of Isadora’s hair and hammers that might’ve been made of toothpicks and brads, they repaired the buildings, they painted them, and they they moved in.
By the time Isidora drifted off to sleep, the family in the first of the formerly-abandoned buildings had a baby and they’d painted the stonework a bright blue.
In the morning, she’d realize it was the color of her eyes and give them a possibly-excessive extra serving of food.