“Alright, brother. I suppose there’s nothing to it now.” Mr. Reciprocity gives a rattling sigh.
His brother mimics the sound. Mr. Protection slaps his tail against the ground. “Got to figure this out on our own, I do suppose. The Room isn’t being helpful at all, is she?”
“I think the Room is hurting,” says Mr. Reciprocity, mournfully. And, true, there is an empty space in Mr. Reciprocity’s head where the information on this White House should be. It’s a strange feeling, like the cotton has sapped away all of his thoughts. “She’s usually right more help than this.”
The two opossum brothers start down the hall of the broken White House. The doors change in size, and the halls bleed together, like the building can’t decide on a shape. Despite the fact that Mr. Reciprocity and Mr. Protection have been around for a very long time, this isn’t something they’ve ever had to deal with.
Over the years, the White House has gone under several renovations. Sometimes, it’s reflected in the time zone they land in. It’s mimicked by the ladders and paint buckets set up in the halls when Mr. Reciprocity and Mr. Protection pop in to help out. But it’s never been like this before. It’s never been broken, and fractured, and pieced together wrong.
Mr. Reciprocity pauses outside of one of the doors. It’s sitting partially propped open. Pale golden-brown light streams out of it. “Brother, I think we’ve found out first clue.”
“You’re right, brother,” says Mr. Protection. He steps forward, using his nose to push the door open wider. “I’m a gentleman at heart, don’t you know. It would be rude of me to go first. Age before beauty, as they say.”
“We’re the same age,” huffs Mr. Reciprocity. “And you’re hardly the beauty in this group.”
Still, Mr. Reciprocity steps into the room first. It appears to be an office of some sort. An impossibly large desk sits against one wall, and plush chairs litter the front of it. Papers have been spread out on the floor, as though someone knocked them off the desk in their rush to get outside.
Mr. Protection says, “this doesn’t look good.”
Mr. Reciprocity says, “no, brother, it sure does not. Do you see anything that might tell us who’s around these parts?”
“I don’t see much of anything,” admits Mr. Protection. “Everything’s the same color around these parts!”
“You don’t have to see color to find a clue,” says Mr. Reciprocity. “I’ve already found one, brother. Look at this. A collar. Can’t read the words on it.”
The brass is smooth. It doesn’t look like there are words on it. Mr. Protection hums. “So it’s something with a collar. Alright, brother. That’s a start, at least.”
Mr. Reciprocity nods, agrees, “can’t go wrong with a start, even if it’s small.”
Katelynn E Koontz – Author