I was in the loft of a building - all open space (open beams, ductwork, windows high up). It was dark outside - stormy - rain battering at the windows. But inside there was a pool of light cast by those hanging metal lamps. One of them hung directly over a large trestle table - the table all battered and scarred.
Across the table were strewn all sorts of papers - maps mostly, charts, graphs. One particular map took precedence - it was laid out on top of all the others and a man - his face hidden in the shadows cast by the angle of the hanging lamp, was standing on the other side of the table, bent over the map. He was tall - his hands were large, with long graceful fingers, and he was tracing barely discernable indentations in the map with his fingers (like the lines that you get on the paper below when you write on the paper above it with a sharp pencil or ball-point pen). The map - seen from above - was a map of New York City - specifically Manhattan.
"They're traveling by water." He said, and it was a statement. His fingers touched the deepest of the indentations, where line upon line had been traced, the lines followed the rivers and water currents around and through the island.
"you do know that it's raining?" said a voice from somewhere else in the room - someone in the shadows that I couldn't see.
"That will just speed it up I'm afraid" said the man.
He looked up at me - and I could feel the intensity of his eyes, but still couldn't make out the features of his face.
"You're going to have to get out of the city." He said in a no-nonsense voice. "And you're going to have to avoid the rain as much as possible."
"Have you seen the traffic?" I asked, non-plussed. "The whole city is gridlocked - they're evacuating the island. No one's going anywhere for a while."
"You don't have a choice," he said matter-of-factly. "You have to get out of here, we can't take the chance of you being here when all hell breaks loose. When you get out of the city, you're going to need to go here" he indicated a spot on the map with a long finger, then handed me a scrap of paper with an address on it. "Once you get there you'll find that everything has been provided for the next step in your trip."
"All right then," I said, a sinking sensation in my stomach. "I'll do my best. I'll head back to my apartment now, pack up a few things, then join the queue."
The man on the other side of the table gave me a curt nod, then, as I turned to go said, "Stephanie, would you mind giving _____(I can't remember the man's name) a ride to Rosita's?" (somehow I knew that Rosita's was a deli not too far from my apartment).
I was annoyed - Rosita's was out of my way, but I said "sure, I can do that".
So I got in the car, with the second man, he was blonde, or sandy-haired, I can't remember specifics about his face, but he was very quiet. Polite, but not prone to talk.
"I really appreciate this," he said as we pulled out into traffic, and we chatted a bit as we drove, but then things started to get odd, there were police baracades everywhere, and every time I thought I was getting closer to Rosita's, they would re-direct us down a different road, all the time I was getting farther and farther away from both Rosita's and my apartment.
Finally with astonishment I realized as we crossed a bridge that we'd been shunted right out of the city, and were in one of the neighborhoods on the other side.
"That was weird" said my passenger, shaking his head. "Look! We're almost exactly at that address he gave you." And so we were. But I was PISSED! Now I was going to have to negotiate traffic back into the city to get my things - my cat and canary particularly (for some reason - even though I have three cats, there was only one cat I knew was in my apartment, and that was my black and white Sarek cat), and I'd brought nothing with me, no clothes, no papers, not my passport, none of the things I'd been planning on packing.
When we reached the address I decided to go upstairs just long enough to use ther restroom, then run back and get my things.
"Hon, you can't leave" said the owner of the apartment, this one was dark-haired (I can't remember his face either). "The situation in the city is deteriorating rapidly."
"But my CAT is back there!" I nearly wailed. "He's waiting for his supper! If I don't go back I've abandoned him!"
"Don't you understand? It's too dangerous! If you go back - chances are you won't make it out alive!"
But I was determined that I was going to go back - Sarek was my responsibility after all! I'd agreed to watch him for my daughter - I COULDN'T leave him.
Just as I was about to walk out the door, a woman with short red hair, dripping from the rain walked into the apartment.
"it's raining" she said by way of greeting. a friend of the apartment owner tossed her a towel, which she used to dry herself off. "It's spreading fast," she said, exchanigng a look with the apartment owner, "we need to get her out of here as soon as possible."
"No," I said, shaking my head. "I have to go back for my cat."
"Honey, there is nothing you can do for Sarek now," she said, then opened a bag that she'd brought in with her, and out of it popped my calico cat Bellatrix (who for some reason I hadn't been worried about in the dream). Bellatrix made a beeline for me and climbed into my arms, purring like a mottor boat and butting me in the chin with her head.
"I knew I was coming down, and I knew you'd be here, so I decided to bring her with me," said the woman grinning at me, "she hasn't been happy without you. I'm sorry about Sarek," she said seriously, "but you need to focus now on what needs to be done."
And with that I woke up.