The Ancient One awakens, first startled by the sound of foot prints sinking into the surrounding carpet. ‘Is it time? he wonders as the creature that woke him up releases the bouncing little young ones. They drive him nuts and he knows they are bothering him on purpose. No matter how much he tries to grab them to settle down, they just move too fast for him. ‘I am so happy there are only two of those,’ he thinks. As he tries to lift his weight off the floor the door closes so he lies back down.
It seems like an eternity to him, he is thirsty, hungry and he wants to play in the ‘outside’ as his pack leaders call it. He doesn’t have to wait long, the Master that left returns carrying the two little ones that hop. He calls them trouble1 and trouble2. Trouble2 smells of pee.
The Troubles are returned to their cage and the leader walks out – leaving the door open! This is his chance, the ancient one thinks, as he uses all of his strength to raise his old body. He stumbles along, walking up and down the hallway in search of an open bowl to drink from. It figures that this Master has closed them all. ‘He does that every morning because the smaller younger Masters never listen as well as I do.’ Giving up his search, he realizes that he too must go ‘outside’ because it is time. The ancient one continues his journey through the dark house until his ears pick up the click clack of someone tapping in one of the rooms. He enters the room, waiting for his old eyes to adjust. Now he sees him, the glow of two dimmly lit monitors and the well used keyboard highlighting his face.
He smiles, as best he can, and wags his thick 13 inch tail, banging it on the wall. The Leader raises his head, the dark brown eyes looking over the black framed glasses, and the Master lets out a long sigh. He rises from his workspace, the body cracking in joints he didn't remember having and the ancient one is happy, once again.
His tall lean body seems to bend like a snake as he turns around and heads back into the hallway. At the top of the steps leading down into the dark depths of the house he pauses, glancing at the Master with the never ending frown on his face. He looks down the treacherous steps, he has taken the easy way before, and it was quicker that one time he did a belly slide. He's had a little more trouble getting up recently and he didn't want to chance it again. He waits, looking up and then down the steps, waiting for the stupid human to get the message. It doesn’t take as long as it usually does. The light comes on as he grumbles.
With carefully measured steps, one at a time, he makes it down the stairs, almost losing his footing when he touches the floor as each leg tries to go in a different direction. He catches himself quickly and lumbers on; the Master is in front of him as it should be. He has to take each step carefully because the soft things covering the floor, rugs, he thinks they are called, have been disappearing. No one hears him when he tells them he really has to go to the outside, and if he is old, well he cannot do anything about that. Sometimes he can’t hold it.
Finally he feels the cold wind on his face; the ‘outside’ is getting closer. It is a little slippery out on the white stuff, but it tastes good and is almost as good as water. The coldness numbs his tongue so his noise is low and hushed. He walks around the guard points, making sure all is as it was yesterday and no intruders have entered the area. Once he feels all is safe, it is time to return.
But he is lost, turned around and disoriented, his brain can’t remember directions anymore and sometimes he can’t even see. He remembered the time he ran into Master and fell down. Noise and smiles came from the Masters, young and old. He felt embarrassed, but couldn’t figure out why!
Finally, he spots the light that leads to the inside and soon stands in front of the door. He can’t see anyone moving around so he tries to tell them he is done and wants to come inside where it is warm. As his noise becomes more urgent the Master finally opens the door.
Safely inside, he shakes any of the cold white stuff off that he can, almost falling on his chest again. The Master disappears after the entrance is closed so the old one follows. Soon he comes to more steps – these are going up – that’s where his Master went. One sniff of the ground and he smells the fresh scent lingering over the older ones. His mind is slow, but he recognizes all, the Troubles’, the medium ones that look like the Troubles, there are three of them, one female, he likes the female best but they won’t let him do what he is supposed to do when it is her time. The Masters keep saying ‘No Komopitts!’ He calls them the Chasers
He focuses his mind; he needs to get upstairs and soon stands above the slanted drop off. That was a little tiring so he decides to patrol, making sure all the Masters are home safe and sound. One is missing. He walks to the room she is usually in, sniffs the Master at the desk, the garbage can, the Master makes a horrible sound and he backs away. More pacing until he feels the urge and once again stares at the Master, one soft throat clearing cough gets his Master’s attention and he is also glared at for his efforts.
The Master smashes his hands to the desk and stands up. Once again – he takes the treacherous steps to the solid level where he is let out again. After remembering why he returned to the cold outside he heads to his favorite spot and marks it as his own. This time it takes a while longer for the Master to come when he calls. ‘Master is not happy, maybe he is doing something.’
After another slow climb, he makes it to the top of the stairs again and decides that this will make a great place to watch over things. His eyes close only for a few moments…
…they open again as the Troubles and the Chasers (called that because they chase after everything – and he hates them because he can’t) are suddenly jumping over him and running down the dangerous steps, “be careful!” he calls to them but they don’t listen. Now both the Masters are up and tell him to move down the treacherous incline again. Not very eagerly he does what they say and is forced, (this time against his will!) back to the Outside. It is colder now; more snow to eat, more walking the designated path checking the line – no breaches again.
It seems like forever since he was forced out here, but he wants to be with his Masters, especially the one that feeds him – but that one is missing today. Suddenly; he hears his Masters footfalls by the door. It is time! But wait… he isn’t letting him inside to enjoy the warmth, just the Chasers and the Troubles! “Don’t forget me! I want to come too! I’m still out here!” he protests in vain.
Finally, they let him back in. No further than where the food is created. He lies on the floor, closes his eyes and sleeps again; waiting till the next time one of the Masters comes back. He knows they are gone, he can’t smell them, but he can smell one and the noisy ones. He sighs, ‘it feels like I did this yesterday…’