Josiah jerks up onto all four paws. “Snipes! You rotter, who said you could follow me?”
Snipes fluffs up his feathers. “Who said that you didn’t have to help? Have to help! Help!”
“I’m no bird,” says Josiah. “And there are plenty of other pets to do the job!”
A third, softer voice says, “you might not be a bird, but Snipes isn’t a cat or a dog – and he’s helped them plenty.”
It’s Punch, the Toy Terrier owned by James Buchanan!
Josiah groans. “This is a secret place. It’s my place. Neither of you have been invited.”
Snipes clacks his beak together. “And the whole of the Presidential Pets will hear about it, if you don’t help us. Help us! Help us!”
Punch adds on, “we’ve been looking into this on our own, me and Snipes. And we’ve figured out that whatever’s happening, it’s coming from your time!”
“Bother and rotter,” say Josiah. “There’s nothing going on in my time.”
“There is,” insists Snipes. “And you’re going to help us figure out what!”
“Get Slippers to help you,” says Josiah. “That cat is always looking into things she’s got no business looking into!”
Punch steps forward, ears flicking back. She was small enough that she could easily fit into a bowl, which made her little snarl and the way she raised her hackles quite a sight! Small dogs often bit off more than they could chew, and it looked as though Punch would take on an army of rats, if it was asked of her.
“You need to help us,” growls Punch.
Josiah asks, “why?”
Punch says, “because if you don’t, we’ll tell Cornwallis this is where you sneak off too every time there’s a meeting!”
If Cornwallis figures out that this tunnel exists, he’ll do his best to either close it up, or at least to make sure that Josiah isn’t allowed to wander off and get a nap in. Either way, it will mean the end of his favorite sleeping spot.
And so, it’s with a great, weary sigh that Josiah agrees, “ah, bother. Fine. I’ll help you with the molting problem. But I don’t want to dillydally with it! We’ll – “
Before Josiah can finish saying we’ll go now, the Room very helpfully creates a doggy door, right there in the middle of Josiah’s napping nook.
The light around it is a pretty, bright shade of blue.
Cheerfully, Punch announces, “that’s our cue to leave!”
And then Punch vanishes into the doggy door.
Snipes says, “after you.”
Josiah gives a very put upon sigh, but goes through the doggy door, too. It looks like there’s no getting out of this job, after all!
Katelynn E Koontz – Author