“Hey Gus, come ‘ere boy!” There was no sign of him. I cupped my hands around my mouth, let out a long whistle and then shouted again, “Here boy! Come on Gus!”
We’d walked out here a thousand times and, since no one was ever around, I always let him off leash. Occasionally he’d head off after some scent or another, chasing imaginary rabbits or whatever but he’d always come back when I called. This was different. He’d let out a yelp as if he had been stung and shot off at full tilt. He disappeared from sight in seconds and it wasn’t long before I could no longer hear the whisk of leaves left in his wake.
I scratched my head. Should I go after him? I couldn’t see his trail in the autumn underbrush and I knew there were no roads or houses for miles in that direction. That’s if I kept a straight line. No one ever really walks in a straight line, no matter how good their sense of direction. I figured I’d be lost in five minutes.
I pulled out my phone and brought up the GPS. It was doing crazy things. At first it showed me over Australia and then I was traveling at about Mach 9 over Siberia. I’d never seen it act so erratically, it always brought up my position right away. I lost patience after only a few seconds and put the useless chunk of plastic back into my pocket.
What could I do? I thought about going on. When Gus came back, which I of course knew he would, he could follow the trail. I know dogs, Gus would find me after a week and a monsoon storm. Or would he? Obviously I couldn’t go back. Waiting seemed idiotic.
I began to shiver. I noticed that it was growing dark, huge shadows passing over me from behind. I’d rarely seen clouds move so fast so I knew it must be on heck of a storm on the way. That decided it, I couldn’t go after him because the storm would surely throw me off track. And despite my earlier thoughts about Gus’ tracking ability, I began to doubt if he really would find a sent after such a huge storm as must be blowing in. I’d have to hunker down and wait it out right where I was.
I called out after him again, not having much hope as the still, cold air seemed to absorb my sound within inches of my mouth.
That was when I realized that despite the almost supersonic movement of the clouds there wasn’t even a breeze in the woods, it was perfectly calm. There wasn’t a noise except for…
I turned and froze. I began to tremble, more than the shivering of the cold. This was deeper, more psychologic, it came from an even more primitive part of me than simple nerves to detect heat or cold.
In glimpsing it I could feel the energy of the primordial universe, when matter and antimatter annihilated each other, quickly extinguishing the new-born creation in flashes of energy and anti-energy. It was a battle for the soul of the Universe and matter won, but with a hidden secret, and the secret was now unleashed on Earth.
Some may call the monster created from the reaction of matter and antimatter, an Old School god, but it is worse than that, much older than the oldest of evil gods and demons. I don’t know how I knew. Something primitive came out, and I saw it for what it was.
The thing took a step towards me, its head scraping the ground and passing through the clouds. There was a deep rumble as the earth lamented the pollution cast upon its soil as the monster passed. Another step and another groan from the poor Earth. I stayed frozen to my position. It would be futile to try to run, even if my brain was capable of coming to the decision to try.
A great claw came swinging down, having been raised from three continents away and scraping the moon as it came to me, a mighty velocity thousands of times faster than the fastest jet created by puny Man. Through the terrible roaring that I knew would turn into an avalanche of sound once the waves had caught up I thought I heard a familiar voice.
The claw stopped a nanometer from my head and began to shake, then retract. The blast wave of the swing of the claw caught up and almost knocked me over, scorching the ground around me, but I was protected by the claw itself and was left whole and still standing.
I heard the sound again and was instantly freed to move. Turning, I saw Gus slowly, but sturdily approaching. There was a low pitch growl coming from the dog. The beast backed up one step. Gus barked again. It backed up another step. Gus charged and the Thing fled, ripping straight up through the atmosphere at the speed of light.
Gus turned towards me, a big smile on his face. Man’s best friend saves the day again!
“Funny. I’m sure that’s exactly what Gus thought. So what really happened?”
“He chased a squirrel up a tree and stood at the base barking. When I came and got him he gave me a look telling me he was saving the Universe from a great evil. I patted him on the head and he came with me, looking pleased as punch.”
“Look at him smiling at us! He knows exactly what we’re saying and is thinking we poor humans don’t comprehend the dangers he has saved us from.”