I glance around our temporary housing to take it all in. Brick walls, glass windows, and cold concrete floors surround me; the only warmth comes from my sister, Kay, who is curled up in the smallest ball imaginable trying to seek comfort. She’s scared, I’m scared too, but one of us needs to be brave—even if it’s only a little. I sit next to her trying to comfort her fears, in such a close proximity I hear the electric mummer of her heart racing. I stroke her side, attempting to ease Kay’s trepidation.
“Kay, try not to worry, we’ll get our Assignment soon, and we can forget about this place.” I try to soothe her anxiety.
“But Jay, what if our Assignment permanently separates us?” She stares me dead in the eyes, knowing she’s right to be upset, knowing her concerns are justified. If I were honest with myself I would say the same thing.
“Listen, nothing will separate us. You go that? I swear to you Kay I will make sure of that. And trust me, we are going to get our Assignment and it will happen soon.” I didn’t even believe myself when I said that, but I had to have hope that it could possible be true.
A burstful sharp cackle sparks behind me making my hair stand on end.
“You young slugs don’t know anything! You think it will happen for you just like that?” A bald slender fellow with a scar across his face flicks his wrist to emphasize his point. “Don’t kid yourselves. I’ve been in here for years. I’ve seen so many Assignments come and go, but none of them stick”
“Don’t listen to him Kay, he’s the slug, it’s no wonder he hasn’t received his Assignment yet.” I try to laugh it off, but I know there is truth in his cynicism. I can feel Kay becoming distant as the realization of our situation sinks in. My God, please let this end well for the both of us.
That’s when the Grabbers appear in front of our window with a brown-eyed woman.
“Oh my God Jay, oh my GOD!” Kay shuttered in fear, her whole body shaking until I feared her brain would turn to liquid. “I can’t do this Jay, I’m not ready!” she screamed at the top of her lungs clinging to me with dear life as the pair of brown eyes stared intently back at mine. I had heard stories of the Grabbers making terrible Assignments, was I about to become part of that statistic? Ol’ Brown-Eyes comes closer to our eye-level and silently examines my sister and I as we each dare not let go of the other. And that’s when I see it—a look of compassion. I can’t explain it, but somehow looking into those eyes, I knew we were safe. Ol’ Brown-Eyes straightens and turns to the Grabber, I can’t hear what she says, but she walks away.
“Jay?” Kay whispers in my ear, so faint you can barely hear it. Ol’ Brown-Eyes walks away, and the door opens with two Grabbers to lead Kay and I out into the hall. “Jay, what happens now?” The Grabbers take us directly to Ol’Brown Eyes in the hall–Kay and I look at each other, was this our final Assignment? The Grabbers address her directly.
“Here they are Mrs. Winston,” declares the stoutly Grabber, “I am pleased you’re willing to take both of them considering they were the only surviving two from the pack.”
“I could never dream of separating the pair” Mrs. Winston smiled to us warmly as she hands the Grabber a signed contract. The Grabber scans over the documents and claps his hands together before continuing on, “well that settles it, then Mrs. Winston! Kitten ‘K’ and Kitten ‘J’ are ready for your adoption. Have you decided on their names yet?”