Cornwallis has been around for many, many years. Unlike the other dogs, who come and go through the Room, he has turned it into his own personal home. There’s a gray dog bed tucked in a corner that no one else can see, and a raw hide bone pushed into the shadows.
He is content here, alone, in the silence. For the most part, the other pets leave him alone. His crass nature makes them leery; his harsh words and short manner of speech makes them unwilling to start up a conversation.
And that’s exactly how Cornwallis likes it.
But, today, something changes. The moment that Cornwallis wakes up, he knows that something has changed. There’s electricity in the air. It seeps under his fur, makes his whip like tail curl around his slender back legs. Long nails clatter against the black floor.
He walks away from the council station and away from his bed. Cornwallis ventures deeper into the black. There are no shadows. There is only pitch black, and there is Cornwallis. On and on he goes, for what seems like an infinite amount of time. Eventually, though, he comes across a flash of white. It’s pinned to the ground, held there by an unseen force.
Cornwallis peeks into the white. At first, there’s nothing. Slowly, though, fine, red lines appear. These lines are the mark of the various time streams. None of them are tangled up, which is a very good thing indeed. But one line is starting to fray. The strings are coming unfurled, right at the point where it connects, not with another time line, but with the room itself.
“I don’t have much time left,” mutters Cornwallis, unhappily. “Something has to be done. But what? What?”
There’s no one else in the Room, and so no one answers. But then, even if Cornwallis was alone, there would be no way for anyone to offer him help. This is a problem that transcends time, after all. It’s a problem that no one else will understand.
As Cornwallis is standing there, sulking, glowering down at the fraying string, another red line starts to pulse. It flashes bright red twice, and then the red coloring begins to fade. “No,” growls Cornwallis. “No! Whose line is that?”
Paws scrabble at the white. Nails catch on the fading string, pulling it up and away from the white backdrop. It snaps against Cornwallis’ paw, and a new image appears in the white. There, huddled in the white backdrop, is a small, brightly colored tiger cub.
“Ada,” says Cornwallis. “There’s something wrong with Ada!”
Katelynn E Koontz – Author