# Tiger on a limb
“Honey, I’m home,” I announced to the warm welcoming house. ”Man, it was really weird at the office today. The network was acting all glitchy, and my computer even gave me an electric shock when I tried to turn it off. Still a little numb in my right paw.”
I went into the kitchen and ... no-one was there. No food cooking. The stove hood was off.
And no Riven.
This was unexpected. Normally Riven was home cooking dinner for us to enjoy. Her round belly swelling with the new life within. Our new life as parents to be. Her employer, an IT company, had been very generous with the maternity leave. She was a real whizz with the home tech.
“Babe, are you home?”, I declared to my home. Maybe she’s just indisposed. Yeah. Knocking on the doors of the bathrooms and toilets. No response.
Check the yard. Check the garage. Her car is gone. She’s not home? Has she gone to the hospital? She’s not due for a two more months... right?
In the living room I’m on the couch. Picking up my phone to find her current location when at that instant the TV popped on, and a video played. It was my wife, with a serious look on her face.
“If you’re watching this, Roller, I’m gone. I’ve been taken. My dear sweet husband, the people who have taken me also want our child. I haven’t figured out much, but ... She’s going to be special. The good kind. We didn’t get ultrasounds together because she’s... different. Sorry honey, I got them on my own. She’s half tiger and half fox like we hoped, but she’s... a taur... and I think she’s going to have some kind of abilities, Roller. She’s going to be magical, like my grandmother.”had
“I never told you about my Nan, but she could... do things. She could grow extra limbs, Roller. Not just in herself, but in others too.”
Photos showed on the screen of an elderly tiger and a young Riven, hugging. Four arms on the child, and six arms on the wizened old tigress.
“Yes, that’s me, Roller. This is the only photo I have of my nan. When I was 5 she asked to share a secret with me. When she hugged me the way she did, I grew two extra arms. They would always grow back away within a few hours, or when Nan made them grow back before Mum picked me up. It was our amazing secret. I was amazed at having extra arms when staying with Nan. We would play complex clapping games, juggle, do four-armed handstands and cartwheels. “
“She would at pages in this old dusty book she had, and told me that because the magic skipped my mum’s generation and I was only growing two extra arms, instead of the four extra my Nan would grow, that I would have some more powers when I grew older. And that my firstborn child would be something special. A healer. A multi-limbed tigertauress.“
“When she passed, Roller, I was only 9. I barely remember the feeling of having my temporary extra arms. I never did get more magic. Maybe that’s because my mum didn’t know anything about the magic, and couldn’t help me unlock... whatever abilities I was supposed.”
“Roller, I’ve told you before, this all feels like a dream come true. What I didn’t tell you is I can feel this magic within my belly. I can already feel her extra limbs, and her magic. And... when I do this —“ I saw my lovely tigress revel in growing two extra arms under her existing arms, paws forming on her sides and reaching out as strong tiger limbs extended out and became the same length as her regular arms. ”— well, I haven’t been able to do this since Nan passed. It feels so good, Roller. I wish I could share this with you, and I’ve wanted so much to let you know about this.“
“But she’s not safe, husband. Nan said my child would be... detected... by the Sneps. The Snow Leopards people. Tigers and Sneps have been at each other’s throats for hundreds of years. The Snow Leopard Federation... I think they’ve been following me. I don’t know how, but ... somehow... I don’t feel safe. I’ve made plans, and if I’m not home for dinner, then this encrypted video will play. “
“My dearest Roller, find my Nan’s old book and protect it. It’s with my old things in the attic. I couldn’t read it, maybe you’ll have better luck. Then find me. You’ll find me when they find you. I love you.”
And then the TV melted.