Feb 28, 2021 1:11 AM
Permalink

Brenda remembers that Mr. Wilson being cryptic isn't her main problem right now, and looks around for the snake--

oh fuck it's huge and what's that thing on its head--

and now she's not in the bioengineering building anymore.

Total: 27
Posts Per Page:
Permalink

Nope! Now she is in the middle of the woods.

Permalink

Also there is an octopus on the ground next to her, and she (somehow this is obviously a girl octopus) is not dealing well with being on the ground instead of in the sea, and this is really bad and Brenda feels like she can't breathe either even though she's observably breathing fine.

Also the fucked-up snake must have gotten out of the room it was in because now Franklin is here too, flapping and cawing in distress because he doesn't know where he is and something is wrong with his human.

"We need to find some salt water I can breathe in the next 20 minutes or we're fucked," says the octopus.

This situation has all the hallmarks of a pre-thesis nightmare but waking up doesn't work and taking control of the dream to make there be an ocean right there doesn't work, so Brenda scoops up the octopus and sets off at a run in whatever direction looks most likely to lead to somewhere. Franklin gets out a ways ahead of her, staying in line of sight and screeching.

Permalink

She can find a pond after some running! It's not ideal - in particular it isn't salty - but it's water.

Permalink

Brenda puts the octopus in the pond. Now she (both of them?) are dying a bit more slowly. She tries to find the outlet of the pond and keep heading downstream, but runs into a new problem: going more than a handful of meters away from the octopus adds an entire second layer of "everything is incredibly bad and this has to stop immediately". 

"Aaah, fuck, what--"

"Wait for me!"

"Sorry. Sorry. What the fuck."

"We need to stay close to each other."

"This is either the stupidest nightmare or the stupidest real event of all time." They set off again, Brenda on the bank and the octopus nearby. Franklin, his movements unimpaired, gets altitude and looks for any sign of people.

Permalink

There's - an owl! ...the owl is Not An Owl. Franklin may not be human-shy but humans are definitely different from owls and that's Not An Owl.

Permalink

Franklin isn't used to things that look like owls and aren't, but some owls have humans and maybe this not-owl does too? Franklin squawks again and banks around looking to see if there's a human anywhere nearby.

Permalink

Not obviously! The owl says, "Aren't you acting weird. Birds can't get rabies, so what's your deal?"

Permalink

Franklin dives indicatively toward the trees above where Brenda is, swoops back around, and makes a go-that-way follow-me head gesture.

Permalink

Sure, the owl will go that way. He lands in a tree near where Brenda's at. "- are you okay?"

Permalink

"Not really," she says without looking, then makes eye contact and thinks, huh, more animal people. "I need salt water, there's this octopus," this is such a bizzare problem to have to explain but hopefully the talking owl won't think she's nuts, "and I'm super lost, are we near an ocean or a town or anything, she can't survive in the creek." Of course her brain had to pick this time to forget how to assemble coherent sentences, because it always picks the worst possible times for that and this is one.

"I appeared spontaneously a few minutes ago, I didn't decide to be a saltwater creature in the middle of a forest and I super don't have a plan for it and we need help," chimes in the octopus.

Permalink

"- you appeared spontaneously - uh - I can get my witch here and she might be able to manage something." He lifts his talon to his beak and bites a couple times. "To clarify you don't mean that she just settled while you were out fishing with your eagle or something?"

Permalink

"I was in Boston with no talking octopus, I got eaten by a giant snake except then I teleported here and then there was a talking octopus. I am aware of how fake this sounds but I swear I don't have a less fake-sounding explanation." Also he's a talking owl who asserts the existence of a witch so there isn't really a consensus standard of fakeness available here.

Permalink

"And she wasn't just not an octopus before, she wasn't present at all?"

Permalink

"Exactly." Possibly the owl is a human or something turned into an owl and is wondering if the same thing happened to the octopus. Actually possibly the octopus also teleported here from some third location?

"I didn't exist and then I was an octopus; I was never anything else," confirms the octopus.

Permalink

"And... you can't shapeshift into not an octopus?"

Permalink

 

 

"Not just by wanting to, apparently. If there's a more complicated way I don't know about it."

Permalink

"That's... basically it... long shot anyway, you're too old... my witch has emergency spells for this, uh, general sort of situation. Is there still water around? That will help. If she puts salt in the creek it'll flow away fast."

Permalink

"There was a pond a little way upstream. We can go back that way."

Permalink

"Do, there might be a relatively still place where salt will stay long enough for my witch to get a backpack tank for you. How did you... get here?"

Permalink

Brenda and the octopus turn around and start hauling back the way they came. Franklin takes up his accustomed place on Brenda's shoulder. "I was supposed to fight this snake, right," she says over her other shoulder, "but it was some kind of weird monster snake with a mirror instead of a head, and it--hit me? And then I was in the woods." She belatedly wonders what the fuck was wrong with her thesis, to merit a snake like that.

Permalink

"...and you don't normally expect weird monster snakes in whatever situation you expect to for some reason fight a snake?"

Permalink

"No. I mean, I wouldn't have been surprised by a giant snake, but this one had a mirror instead of a head and I've never heard of that even being possible, I mean where would its brain go? And the teleporting definitely isn't known to be possible and I don't know why Mr. Wilson--he's the guy who picks the snakes--would even have wanted to teleport me instead of a normal fight." Maybe if he figured she would die otherwise? But he never intervened to help anyone else, and this would be a weird way to do it even for him. "Are magic animals normal here, do you have teleporting monster snakes all over the place?"

Permalink

"No, no teleporting creatures of any kind, no magic animals," says the talking owl.

Permalink

"So I was using 'magic' as a catchall for 'things the scientific consensus doesn't know about and can't explain' and presumably you have at least some understanding of yourself, so, uh, how are you talking while being an owl?"

Permalink

"...well, I'm not a real owl, obviously, I'm a daemon. Scientists have those. There's magic, my witch is on her way to do some, but scientists also know about witches."

Total: 27
Posts Per Page: