Nobad, the physically diminutive yet enormously wretched canid, was now roughly two layers into his little doggy existential crisis. What's that been in your "time?" Nine weeks? Fourteen years? You didn't wander off to one of your "bath's rooms" did you? You'd better hurry back or you'll miss whatever vile thing this soggy biomass was going to do next. He had just bore witness to some deep, dark truths that troubled him about as profoundly as his kind were capable, and he had found that this was not mitigated in any way by eating, excreting, or soiling any more of his surroundings. He'd even managed to catch that little vertabral knob that stuck out of his backside and given it a good gnashing, just in case it was the wicked mastermind behind his woes, but then he looked around and noticed that nothing else about the universe had changed in any obvious way, so he must have been wrong, and now he had to wonder if sometimes, maybe, even he could be something that was yes-bad.

At long last, Nobad did the thing he always did when he was frustrated and confused by forces he could not control, such as whenever he knew mother was behind one of those little walls she could somehow swing open but forgot to bring him with her to the other side, or when he was feeling hungry but everything edible in his vicinity had already been through his digestive system somewhere between one and four times. What he did in these situations was an action his mother "affectionately" referred to as scrombling, which was when he rolled over, uselessly flailed his stubby limbs in the air and wiggled his body in such a way that he sort of scooted and wormed around aimlessly on his back, all the while making a mournful sound he believed was a flawless imitation of how the tall beasts like his mother sounded when they spoke, but to those tall beasts sounded only like some sort of "hobgromlin" or "boogedymanster" wheezing "wrrrong-wrrrrong-wrrrrong-wrrrong-wrong" while gargling a throatful of potato salad. Still not really sure what's up with your kind and these "dog" characters. You just sort of...willingly sustain them in your presence? Just for kicks?

Nobad spent quite a bit of layer scrombling about the library floor, leaving an ever so subtle yellowish grease stain from the part of his back he couldn't reach easily enough to ever accidentally clean when he was trying to taste the last thing he'd been wallowing in. He scrombled until his little flailing head would bump into something, and keep scrombling until he pushed his way around the obstacle, still utterly indifferent to the fact that, yes, immense monstrosities were still fighting for their lives all around him. The surrounding reality was collapsing under the carnage of primordial concepts-made-flesh, but he was BOTHERED, damn it, and he would scromble as much as he pleased until someone or something came by to fix it!

Unless, of course, there was actually some hypothetical action he could take other than simply scromble.

Dimly, very dimly, his subconscious could detect three things of interest.

The scent of "grandma" had grown stronger, which was in fact the scent of the Old Flesh, but for those who hadn't worked this out yet, the only remaining instance of this in the library was your good pal the Isaac. Isaac therefore registered to Nobad's brain as an authority figure higher than even his mother, though it has also been established that Isaac is not fond of dog things. Does that necessarily mean something undesirable will happen if the two meet? Who knows!

But there was something else, too, from the same direction he had been getting little whiffs of his mother; a smell he faintly recognized from his many travels with her, and one that was usually not good. This smell carried notes of predation, speed, sonic vibration and a briny, salty sort of quality. It also bore the uncanny funk of an idea given life before there was ever a world fit for it to life in, whatever that means. This confused him, because why would his mother be in the company of these creatures without taking them apart, yet? Maybe she wasn't really there? Maybe they were trying to trick him? Then again, maybe she was saving them, like all good mothers probably do, so he could play with the pieces??

Finally, he picked up something newer still, and a little more distant. It felt important, but he didn't like it, because it reminded him a little of the place his mother, always otherwise so brilliantly infallible, had accidentally put him once when he had gotten terribly terribly sick, like those other dogs he'd smelled that had sent him on this whole psychological spiral to begin with. The not-mothers there had done the most terrible, most AWFUL things, like putting him in water without ANY mud or engine oil or dead frogs floating in it, until they had taken away all the flavors he'd been keeping in his hair, and wrapped him in a towel that didn't smell like anybody's crevices at all before they stuck a sharp thing in him for just NO reason! Fortunately his mother had realized the only mistake she ever made and came swiftly to his rescue, which was in fact when he finally knew for certain that she was the very best one out of all the different things that there were anywhere forever, and boy oh boy was he lucky that he randomly stopped being sick after all that nonsensical torture! Why, then, did some squiggly little pathway in his brain want to go towards this distant smell? Good thing it was slowly but surely weakening!


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