The thing about opossums is that a lot of people consider them to be pests. While this is far from the truth, it still means that Mr. Protection and Mr. Reciprocity have spent their lives working very, very hard at outsmarting the world around them. Being Presidential Pets only increased the need for that role.
As such, it’s instinct – the way their minds kick into over drive, the way they lurch head first into solving the problem. Mr. Reciprocity reaches out, hooking the fraying red string in one furless paw. “Hold tight, brother. I’m going down further.”
“I’ve got you, brother,” promises Mr. Protection. The words are like a swear, an oath. When Mr. Reciprocity pushes himself over the edge of the pit, Mr. Protection braces himself, tightens his grip, and holds on.
There isn’t even a hint of slippage.
Which is good, because Mr. Reciprocity has to put all his focus into this task. It’s of the utmost importance, after all. They can’t bear to lose their very good friend.
It takes just a moment to seek out his own red thread. There’s no visual difference between it and the others, but the fabric hums and sings to Mr. Reciprocity, calling out to his heart in a way that nothing else in the world ever could.
With quick, nimble hands, Mr. Reciprocity ties the two strings together. Then, because it’s not enough, because he can feel that it’s not enough, he finds the string that belongs to his brother. It’s right next to his own, so close they are touching.
Mr. Reciprocity ties that one to Cornwallis’s string, too, and then to his own.
The knots hold tight.
“Alright,” says Mr. Reciprocity. “Pull me up!”
Mr. Protection does so. As soon as they are all back on solid ground, Mr. Reciprocity risks a look.
The three strings are pulsing. A bright red glow drifts out from the spot where they are knotted together. It spreads, twisting around Cornwallis’s string and – mending it.
The rips, tears, and messed up spots fix themselves.
Cornwallis lets out a pleased sound. The same healing power washes over the dog, until he’s able to stand on his own four feet once more. “You did it! What- what did you do?”
“Gave you hope,” says Mr. Reciprocity. He pushes his side up against Cornwallis, an affectionate gesture.
Mr. Protection does the same thing to Cornwallis’s other side. “And a helping hand.”
“Something steady to lean on,” finishes Mr. Reciprocity. “Just like you should have had the whole time.”
The relief is clear on Cornwallis’s face. He gives Mr. Reciprocity and Mr. Protection both a big, thankful lick on the top of the face. “I’ll never forget this. Thank you. Thank you so, so much.”
Katelynn E Koontz – Author