Pauline Wayne steps through the doggie door with all the dignity a cow can muster. She enters the tunnel, making relatively short work of the dark walkway. At the other end of the tunnel, she comes to an impasse.
There’s no doggie door.
“Well,” says Pauline Wayne. “This is certainly a conundrum.”
There’s no answer.
Which makes sense, because there’s no one else in the tunnel. Pauline Wayne looks around. She snorts, stamping one hoof on the floor.
Behind her, an overhead light turns on. Pauline Wayne turns to face it. Slowly, more lights flick on, forming a path back to where she had just come from.
“Alright,” says Pauline Wayne. “What does everyone always say? The room knows best, I suppose.”
Pauline Wayne walks back the way she came. She stops just in front of the doggie door. It looks different. That rusted orange light is ringing it. “I suppose you want me to go through here, don’t you? It would be so much easier if someone could just tell me what was going on. I don’t think it’s much to ask to have someone go, Pauline Wayne, this is what you have to do, so give it your best shot.”
The Room, of course, doesn’t answer.
So, with a sigh, Pauline Wayne steps through the doggie door and out the other side. It lets her out in a stall, old and worn. Or perhaps not old, per say, but older than what Pauline Wayne is used too. The door is closed. She can hear movement in the barn; the sound of hooves pushing through bedding, of strong teeth munching on hay. A pile of coastal hay rests in one corner of Pauline Wayne’s stall.
“At least I’m doing dealings with a barn,” says Pauline Wayne. She flicks her tail, shooing away a fly. “It could be worse. I could have to try and make my way through the actual White House.”
Slowly, Pauline Wayne walks over to the door. She gives it an experimental nudge with her wet, black nose. It’s not latched shut. The door pushes open, hinges giving a low, drawn out creak. “Well,” says Pauline Wayne, pleased with the revelation. “At least I won’t have to go back to Cornwallis and apologize for not being able to find my way out of the stall.”
Not that going back is an option, of course.
The doggie door that Pauline Wayne stepped out of has vanished.
There’s no way back home until this job is done.
Katelynn E Koontz – Author