Mr. Reciprocity is tired. In fact, he’s very tired.
It’s not a natural sort of feeling. It’s the sort of exhaustion that comes on fast and sudden, threatening to swamp his very existence. His ears droop. Then his steps start to slow.
Mr. Protection gives him a worried look. “Are you okay, brother?”
“Fine, fine.” Mr. Reciprocity makes a dismissive sound. “I think that I’m a might too old for jobs like this.”
Mr. Protection nods. “I feel the same way. But look! We’ve made it to the door! And it’s open!”
“That it is,” says Mr. Reciprocity, relieved. Eagerly, the two opossum’s squeeze through the slightly ajar door and into the next room.
It slams shut behind them.
Mr. Reciprocity growls and stomps his paws. “What in tarnation is this?”
They’re back in the room-hall. It looks exactly the same.
Mr. Protection gives a world weary sigh. “I suppose we keep walking, brother.”
Twice, they go through the door only to be brought back into the same room.
By the time they enter the room-hall for a third trip, Mr. Reciprocity is so exhausted that his bones are burning. “That’s it,” he announces, catching his brother’s attention. “I need to rest.”
Mr. Protection doesn’t argue. Instead, he leads the way over to the desk. There are piles and piles of paperwork on it. The pages spill over the edge, onto the floor.
“Help me pile these up, brother.” Mr. Protection starts using tooth and claw to scrape the pages into a large pile. “We’ll make up a bed right quick, and then go figure out what’s causing all of this madness.”
Together, the two opossum brothers pull the loose papers into a pile. They waddle and twist and scramble their way into it, uncoordinated but determined. With a sigh, Mr. Reciprocity rests his head on the papers. “Thank you, brother.”
Mr. Protection hums. “Never a problem, brother.”
They rest for what seems like hours, but Mr. Reciprocity never feels any better. Eventually, restless, Mr. Protection begins to look over the pages they are laying on. While most of them appear to have been taken from the White House staff, there’s one paper that’s been pulled from the newspaper instead.
Not wanting to mess it up, Mr. Protection uses his nose to push it from the pile. “Look, brother. This isn’t like the others. Maybe it’s a clue?”
“Clues won’t help us get out of this room,” says Mr. Reciprocity, without looking. “And they won’t make me any less tired, brother.”
Mr. Protection gives his brother a weird look. “That is the truth, brother. But they’ll help us get back home, and getting back home will make everything alright again.”
Katelynn E Koontz – Author