THE CREATURE STOOD UNNATURALLY ON TWO LEGS. THOUGH SIX FOOT TALL WERE IT TO STAND UP STRAIGHT, IT WAS HUNCHED LOW IN A PROTECTIVE STANCE. CONSIDERING ITS FANGS AND CLAWS AND THICK LEATHERY HIDE, IT DIDN’T LOOK IN NEED OF PROTECTION.
“Freeze!” shouted Officer Greer, immediately regretting the word before he finished spitting it out of his breath. Here he was, trying to talk English to some kind of weird animal thing.
“Please, don’t!” replied the Creature, plaintively, its strangled voice barely above a whisper. The fact it spoke at all startled the rookie. In a panic, he fired his gun without thinking about the act.
The kick from the gun hurled the flashlight beam into the air and an instant later Greer focused it on… the spot where the Creature had been a moment before.
Gone? But how was that possible?
Officer Greer raced to the spot the Creature was but saw absolutely nothing to indicate it had been there. Slowly, he turned his attention to the direction the Creature had first come from.
He kept the flashlight directed far in front of him as he walked in the direction of the gorilla pen. First, on the sign that said “Under Construction. Opening soon!” featuring a cute cartoon drawing of a gorilla lugging a suitcase filled with bananas. The adorable drawing only accentuated the horror that was the Creature he had seen only moments before.
Then he saw her.
More accurately, he saw the remains of a woman dead on the floor of the gorilla pen. In the dark of night, she appeared like a lifeless island in an ocean of black.
Officer Greer fell to the ground, the only sound he could make out was the sound of his own body retching and expelling his food and bile.
He didn’t hear the other animals in the zoo screaming.
Or the birds in the park screaming. The horses violently straining against their harnesses over twenty blocks away. The dogs howling and cats hissing for a mile in every direction.