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Muzzled, I sat there on the cold flat squares of the large room. With no escape, my ears twitched with thought.
“Tigey pretty!” the boy exclaimed thrusting his hands together feverishly. “Speckled pretty…speckled black!” he giggled lightly for a second and coughed dryly for a few minutes.
“Yes, that’s right Lukey…the tiger has black spots.” A sharp voice cut through the silence like a razor. At the same time a thin sharp object pushed into my side. I cringed away slightly only to be quickly jerked upright right into the sharp object. Turning to face a tall woman human my eyes burned with warning. My eyes darted from the boy to where the ropes lead. Flashing lights of all shapes and sizes on a vast panel of more lights and beeping sounds. I felt watched. Peering behind me I saw the woman human shout whispering into what looked like a pink razor blade.
“Look I know that the Make A Wish Foundation is only paying for two more days but…”
Looking up at my keeper, he looked at his watch looking more like a lawyer than a zoo keeper. Turning to see the boy, his eyes stared right at me. A faint spark flickered in his eyes. Studying his face I saw curious little eyes, a blunt nose dusted with tiny dots that spread across his cheeks. One small tuft of brown hair remained on his tiny little head, displaying the contrast of the pale almost sheet white face of his. A thin cloudy white rope wrapped around his ears and under his nose and disappeared under the pink blanket. A maze seemed to appear beneath his skin starting at the tip of his pinky snaking like a Caribbean blue river all the up to his forehead and back down the other side. The boy opened his mouth wide and yawned baring the few fangs he had.
“Lukey… tigey go bye-bye now. Lukey needs chemo now.” The woman smiled. Her bottom lip curled up slightly.
“Bye-bye tigey!” the boy flung his hand around for a few seconds and then lay still.
Choking I was pulled up to full height and dragged out the sliding door. People in blue raced around the small halls with clipboards and rolling beds. Dead halt. A rolling bed went bye with three humans. One human was pushing the bed; another human was in the bed laying still and the other holding two flat ovals on the still humans’ body and yelling “CLEAR!”
Pulling the small body of my daughter close I settled in for the night.
Sun shone through the two windows…morning. I nudged Flash waiting for her to purr. Nothing. Stretching in what space I had I extended my paw and pulled the Flash towards me. The fur was cool. Rolling the body I came face to face with two glassy eyes. I scavenged for a sign of life. A faint light glowed in her eyes and slowly faded away. She was gone…
There he was again…the pale boy. Muzzled yet again I sat on the cool tiles and lay my head on the bed.
“Tigey me like tigey!” The boy cried out tiredly and reached out towards my fur. His hands were cold. The tiny fingers were as cold as Xteis’s body had been when I had spent my last moments with him. A strange connection flowed between the boy and me and I heard Xteis’s voice calling to me…
”Father! Father! I am here! Save this boy he needs you most now! I will find you…” his voice died and the boy’s hand suddenly went limp and a long cry came from a panel near me. Reacting like a father would I jumped onto the bed and lay on top of the icy body and slowly felt the warmth coming back. The panel stopped screaming and started to beep again slowly though. Everything froze. The woman gasped, the zoo keeper’s mouth fell open and the man in the long white coat fainted.