As I was ripped from the tree's grasp, as the too blue sky whizzed past my vision I managed to catch a glimpse of what had yanked me bodily into the air, what tremendous power was treating me like a rag doll, completely at it's mercy.
It was a woman.
More specifically it was a woman standing in the bed of a pickup truck with a rope. She had caught me in a loop in the rope as they drove by. The power that was pulling me was the truck. She pulled on the rope as I flew and maneuvered me into to land on my upper back in the bed beside her.
"You alright?" She asked, looking down at me. I couldn't speak at first, having just had the wind knocked out of me. I nodded.
"You after that girl?" She asked. Again, I nodded. "You got to stay out of the water, there are things in there."
She had a New England accent. She was a healthy, fit middle aged woman with a farmgirl build and straw colored hair under a faded Boston College cap. She told me her name, I'll call her Doctor Zoe because she was a Biologist from Boston College who had come down to study the affects of the storm and flood on the biology of the area. When she arrived she found that she was blocked from entering as a scientist until the area had been secured and cleaned up. She joined a volunteer group. She was part of a larger group of animal collection and control. They were the same group I had originally encountered, but her group was involved in collecting and rescuing non-domesticated species.
The man driving the truck was another scientist. It was his truck and he had convinced Zoe to make the run they were on. I'll call him Doctor Kin since he was a Physicist. I had no idea why a Physicist was involved in collecting animals, but I was in no position to argue.
I asked what she meant about things in the water, if she meant microbes. She replied in the negative. There were much larger things, she had seen them once or twice before in the past two weeks, but this day she had seen several and moving much more, obviously.
I asked what she thought they could be, she didn't have time to answer because just at that point I had spotted Brown again.
"There!" I shouted, "We have to get her back."
Zoe told me to sit and knocked on the back window of truck. The small window was open and through it she told the driver to turn right at the end of the block.
"They aren't like anything I've ever seen," she told me.
I asked how much of them she had seen. She said that she had not seen much above the water, but the size and what looked like fur did not seem to go together. She mumbled something about tentacles, but was very hesitant about that.
I told her that I had seen one out of the water. I described it for her in as much detail as the urgency of the bouncing truck would allow.
She stared gape-mouthed at me. The only thing she could say was, "Really?"
I asked her what she thought they could be. I had to ask her again, she seemed to be off in her own mind. Finally on the third try she came around to me again, "I have no idea," she managed.
I asked her where she thought they could have come from and she shook her head.
"I think I know how they got here though." I said and told her that it looked like the one I saw just materialized.
"I wonder," she said. She told me just the other day that she and Kin had been talking about the weird things going on, about how the time and spaces didn't seem right.
"I noticed that too," I interjected.
She said that she had suggested to Kin that it was almost like friction, like our universe was rubbing against something and the uneven friction was causing the time to go faster or slower depending on how the two things rubbed and jumped between each other. She thought that they could be distorting each other too.
She said that Kin thought that it was nonsense. He didn't suggest an alternative or an explanation, just told her it was ridiculous. When she pressed him, and told him that she had read something about the universe being a bubble inside of other bubbles he laughed and asked her if it wouldn't be just as reasonable to think that maybe our universe was just a giant gas bubble inside the gut of some trans-dimensional monster, and the titan had just taken an antacid.
"He's very odd about it," she said," I know he's considering it seriously, but it's like he knows something and he's hiding it."
I asked her, "Do you think it could have anything to do with these creatures appearing? Do you think he might know something about that?"
She looked at the back of his head through the window. "If he did, he wouldn't tell us. There she is!" She shouted this last as she jumped up in the bed of the truck. She had spotted Brown skipping through knee deep water. Everywhere here it seemed to be flooded, though before there had been patches of higher ground that were clear.
Zoe tapped on the window. Kin shouted, "I see her, let me just get around these trees." She sat down as he slowly drove around some downed trees in the road.
"Brown!" I shouted, she showed no sign of hearing, or caring. She didn't look like she was following any dog anymore. She seemed to be gleefully skipping off to some predetermined location. I shouted again, and again.
Zoe didn't join me, instead she put her hand on my shoulder, "Wait, do you hear that?"
Above the slosh of the truck's tires and beyond the distant splashing of Private Brown's skipping I heard the music again, if it could be called music. Now it sounded more urgent, more pleading and calling. The pan pipes were more pronounced and the rhythm quicker.
Brown seemed to hear it too, and it drew her quicker. I could see her laughing and her skipping changed to running.
We came around a particularly large tree and Zoe pointed ahead, "Look!" She pointed at the dark waters behind Brown and how they bulged menacingly with the portent of two pursuers. The things we had seen and only glimpsed were clearly and purposely following the Private who obliviously ran forward.
I looked ahead to see where it was she was so intently heading and saw several streets converging on a corner where prominently stood a brick building. Though it had no markings as such and no actual steeple, it clearly had been a chapel. All around it were littered vehicles, but not like we had seen before. These were much less damaged and some seemed to still be running. There were others there too, other people moving toward the chapel, and they all seemed to be singing.
Then I heard the strangest thing I had that very queer day, I heard Kin humming the same distorted tune in the front of the cab.