Presidential pets are a very strange thing to understand. They rely on the fact that time travel exists, and that they are all connected on a level no human could possibly realize. Traveling through the time zones is a very arduous task, and not one to be taken lightly. For the most part, they simply meet in the Room, where they convene and confer, to discuss the events of their current lives.
As such, Tom Quartz and Slippers have never been to a time outside of their own. Still, they walk through the dog door together, with their tails twisted together to try and offer each other a bit of comfort. The darkness of the pathway adjusts to fit their size, occasionally lit by a burst of red light.
“I’m nervous,” admits Slippers.
“Me too,” says Tom Quartz. “But there’s the exit. If we’re going to do this, we have to do it now.”
“We’re doing it,” says Slippers, and then she surges forward and pushes her head through the flap of the dog door. Her shoulders follow next – the tip of her tail – and Tom Quartz is left scrambling to go in after her.
The dog door is plastered to the side of a large boulder. It vanishes the moment that the two cats step out, fading seamlessly into the gray until it’s nothing more than a series of cracks and crevices. Only a Presidential Pet would recognize the shape for what it is, or take the time to notice the fine red moss growing around it.
The boulder, of course, is settled into a small enclosure. A massive metal fence has been erected around the land, which is meant to replicate, in some small fashion, the plains of Africa. It’s sparse, though, and the metal scattered about is obvious.
“I guess we have to find Ada,” says Slippers.
Tom Quartz says, “shouldn’t there be two of them? I thought there were two tigers.”
A shadow casts over the two cats. They look up, and come face to face with the brilliant green eyes of a tiger cub. It stands on the top of the boulder, brilliant even in her youth. “Who are you and what are you doing here?”
Slippers yelps. She scrambles away from the boulder, struggling with the instincts to run in the presence of a predator. “Sorry! So sorry! We didn’t mean to intrude or anything like that, Miss Tiger!”
“We did mean to intrude,” says Tom Quartz, moving to stand next to the she-cat. “We’re looking for Ada. It’s important business. Is…is that you?”
The tiger cub blinks. “No. Ada’s my sister. I’m Ebe. Who are you?”
“Slippers,” answers the she-cat. “And Tom Quartz. I’m just here to help. I promise.”
Katelynn E Koontz – Author