Here's an unseen story for if you're a bit bored.
knew he was going to hate the job, it was in his wiring to be idle.
If he didn't accept the job then his benefits would stop, that didn't
mean he had to keep the job. He killed the engine on the bike. A
plump middle-aged woman was behind the glass restocking a badge
stand, she smiled. "We don't open for another forty-five
my first day. I'm working in the cafe."
pressed a button. "Go on through."
pushed his way through the turnstile with its click-clack
you know the way?" She asked.
turned. "Haven't a clue."
She pulled a map from the display and slipped it through the gap.
"It's basically just straight on, I'm Barbara."
he said, starting upon the wood-chip path, unfolding the map as he
lingered at the first enclosure where a tired old donkey was standing
around looking bored to fuck. Movement caught Steve’s eye. He
looked and saw a woman in her late twenties trudging over in
Wellington boots and overalls. She smiled and said, "Hello."
said the woman .
He wondered if they'd been tipped off.
dipped her head towards the geriatric donkey. "His name's lazy."
he replied. He watched another animal trundle out of its little
wooden hut. It was about the size of a pig, but hairy and had the
head of a giant rat. "What the hell's that?"
woman leaned up against the fence. "That's Milly, one of our
Capybaras, gorgeous isn't she?"
something like that." He watched the beast start to do something
gross. He thought, ‘Dirt bastard’ and asked, "Is it
eating its own shi...?" He kept himself from finishing the cuss
woman flashed him a grin. "Yep. It eats its own faeces."
you feed it enough?"
laughed. "We feed it plenty. There are bacteria in its faeces
that aids with digestion of the grass."
enough." Though he wasn’t convinced.
woman held a carrot out to Lazy. "I take it you're working over
at the café?"
a stab in the dark."
came to a strict halt as a loud crack tore open the quiet of the
morning. A plethora of startled birds took to the skies in mass
migration. The woman dropped the bucket of feed and yanked the
walkie-talkie from her belt. "John?" She gained no answer.
She took off at a run in the direction of the noise. Steve reckoned
it sounded like a gunshot and took off after the keeper.
bang had riled the animals. The caged birds darted from branch to
branch in a frenzy. They followed a kink in the path. He could see
the café. It was a one storey building what he guessed were his new
work colleagues standing outside gaping. Around the side of the café
lay a large veranda for patrons of the café that overlooked an
enclosed area filled with flamingos. The enclosure was a hive of
activity. A male keeper had a rifle levelled at the large birds
within; he looked poised to let off another shot.
The woman shouted.
keeper didn't lower the rifle, he called out, "Alice, don't
ran over to join John at his shooting range. Steve thought it best
not to follow. He looked over at the café workers and headed over.
There were two of them. One was a timid looking lad with a bounty of
zits on his face. The other a girl about his own age, she had her
hair tied back tight in a council house face-lift.
noticed him. "You the new starter?"
Claire, that's Colin." She was switching her attention between
the action and Steve.
happened?" Steve asked.
shrugged. "Not sure, we were inside when it all kicked off. Came
outside and it looked as if one the flamingos, the big'un, was trying
to kill the rest. Called John the keeper and he turned up, and then
fucked off again to get his gun. Came back, shot one of them with a
dart but it didn't do nothing so he shot it for real. Then you showed
up." She nearly said it all in just one breath. Steve watched as
John and Alice continued their heated discussion. John shrugged Alice
away and took aim. Their ears filled with another bang, and pink
feathers exploded like a firework. Steve went over to have a skeet at
what John had just shot. The flamingo was bigger than the rest. Steve
noticed there were about two dozen flamingos in total, and at least
half of them were lying dead about the enclosure.
keepers ignored his presence. They stared at the bird as it began to
twitch on the ground. Legs first and then its head began to flop from
side to side like a landed fish.
was shaking his head in disbelief. "It can't still be
it out of its misery." Alice urged, her voice a little
took a breath, worked the bolt on the rifle and put the stock tight
to his shoulder. "I'm going for its head." Steve thought he
should look away but he'd never seen anything get its head blown off
before. The rifle made another bang and John's aim was true. Before
the noise had finished the flamingo's head was gone. Its neck wavered
in the air like a pipe-charmed cobra. They watched in silence until
it was still.
rested the rifle against the fence and went about opening the gate.
He looked back over his shoulder at Steve. "You work here,
it's my first day at the café."
need you to help me get the dead birds out of the enclosure."
supposed to just be washing dishes, and stuff."
is stuff. We're going to open up in," the keeper looked at his
watch, "a little under half an hour and we can't have visitors
looked from the bird massacre to the café. Claire and Spotty had
disappeared inside. He looked to John, scratched the back of his
head. "Okay." He set his crash helmet down. He couldn't
believe that he was helping. He was aiming to get the sack.
followed John into the enclosure. The birds, the ones that were still
alive were cowering in the corner. John counted the dead. "Eleven
dead, Christ, nearly half of them." He shook his head. "What's
Steve, grab the legs." John reached down to grab the wings. They
managed to get it out of the enclosure and set it down in the
flat-bed of the truck.
get the rest of them."
Steve turned and walked back into the enclosure and over to the
nearest one. He looked at the other corpses, nine dead. He stopped
and quickly counted again.
just said there were eleven dead, right? I mean not including the big
one you shot."
right." John said, heading towards the gate.
you might have miscounted?"
a quick recount."
started bobbing his head as he counted each corpse. He counted them
all, then counted them again. His face contorted in puzzlement. "I
counted eleven, I know I did."
there's only nine…eight now." Steve said, as he pointed over
to one of the flamingos that was on its back with its legs in the
air. The legs started to move, all twitchy as though in the midst of
isn't right." Alice said, watching another couple of dead
flamingos pull a Lazarus.
said, "I'm not picking up another, just in case."
rubbed at his brow in disbelief.
watched as the ones that had gotten strangely better went to have a
go at the others. They were in a frenzy. Their beaks lashing out to
tear at feathers and pulling free flesh. Others that had fallen and
had arisen were making a full speed assault towards Steve and
made for the gate.
was rooted to the spot.
refused to move. "They're flamingos, they don't attack
not waiting to find out!" Steve said, as he got to the gate.
Once out of the enclosure he watched as John stayed put to prove them
all wrong. Steve couldn't look away, the same way he couldn't when
John had made the bigger flamingo three inches shorter. The first
flamingo got to John and proved him wrong as it took a strip of flesh
from his cheek. That broke John's resolve to be rational and he moved
for the gate. The flamingos swarmed him and worked with beaks to
pinch little bits off him. John made it through the gate, but so did
a couple of the flamingos before Steve managed to force it shut.
Steve didn't have time to think as he grabbed the rifle by the barrel
and swung the stock at the birds beating them off John. The flamingos
fled. Their long wings struggled with each flap until they got
fell to his knees, his hands covering the gore of his face. Both
Steve and Alice could hear him muttering, repeatedly, "Not
natural, it's just not natural!" Steve didn't know shit about
animals but he reckoned that John was right. Alice watched the birds
fly out to other parts of the park. She looked down at John, then to
Steve. "We need to get him back to the centre." She put her
arm around John and began guiding him to the truck. Steve stood still
until the birds got small in the sky. He cast a glance back towards
the café. He could see Clair and Spotty watching from one of the
windows. He took John's other side. "Are you still going to open
the park?" Steve asked.
looked at him. "I never thought."
they had gotten John into the truck, she unclipped her radio.
"Barbara?" There was a long moment before a reply
not open up the Park. We'll be closed for the morning at the very
why's that then?"
been an incident. John's injured, I need you to call an ambulance
muttered something along the lines of, "I'm fine." Blood
dribbled between his fingers.
sounded instantly worried, "Okay, will do."
started the engine. Steve got in the far side of the truck without
thinking. Alice put the truck into gear and they started down the
a few minutes of silence, Steve couldn't help but ask, "Have you
ever seen anything like that before?"
shook her head. "Never, we've had animals turn before, but
nothing like that. And the way they seemed dead and then got back up
and attacked. I just can't explain it."
remembered what Claire had said outside of the café and asked, "The
big one, the one that John ended up shooting. The people at the café
said it was attacking the others, do you think it was
managed to chip in. "It had been through quarantine. We only put
it in with the mix last night. There's supposed to be a female coming
too. We were hoping to breed them. Haitian Great Flamingos are an
endangered species, it was going to be great."
not surprised they're endangered if they go around attacking
everything," Steve said.
turned off from the path that they'd earlier sprinted down. She
slowed for a moment before putting the truck into reverse. Steve had
heard it too. So did John. He lowered his hands from his face for a
cringed. The flamingos had done quite a lot of damage to one side of
his face. Strips of skin and flesh from his cheek, a chunk from the
corner of his mouth and a little bit of an eyelid had been rent away.
Steve thought the man lucky not to have lost an eye. It was the
chimps that they could hear. Alice steered the truck to Chimp Island.
They got out of the truck; John was pressing a jumper to the injured
half of his face.
chimps were insane. They could see one of the chimps swinging a
flamingo as if it was a toy against one of the trees. The flamingo
was limp. The chimp finally discarded it. Alice could see blood on
the chimps face. She wondered if it was its own or the flamingos. It
turned to one of the other chimps and rushed it. Arms held up over
its head and ready to come down like dual jack-hammers. Within a
couple of minutes it started to look like a brawl. Chimps were
smacking each other down and beating each other to a pulp. The fallen
ones were rising to fight the remaining chimps, never attacking each
other. Most looked ruined, yet they still moved about.
three of them watched from the wall until the last chimp had been
cornered, slain, and picked up to its feet again by an apparent
resurrection. The flamingo also had gained back its functions and was
trying to take to the air; it was futile as it only had one wing.
Steve watched as the chimps, most with body parts hanging at funny
angles or missing altogether lined up at the edge of the water and
stared at them. Steve could see the fury on their beaten up faces. He
noticed something else.
you see their eyes?" He asked.
had noticed it too with the one eye that wasn't covered up.
eyes, were red as though there was haemorrhaging occurring behind
chimps screamed in frustration at being landlocked. The biggest of
them, the one that had played with the flamingo like it was a bat was
building up its fury. Its rage reached a crescendo and it picked up
one of the many large logs and tried to throw it at them. It was a
valiant effort and the log went nearly ten feet before landing with a
splash in the water but it was still a good thirty feet shy. The
chimp started to tantrum, then stopped to watch as the log floated
gently towards them. The chimp broke into a dash and hurled itself at
the bobbing log. Its weight forced the log to dip beneath the water
for a moment before resurfacing. The chimp screamed in panic.
chimp's act of diving onto the log caused it to move forward. The
remaining chimps cottoned on and started grabbing the other logs and
tossing them into the water.
eyes were wide. He thought of the old saying 'Monkey see, monkey
they make it to the wall do you think they'll be able to climb
are afraid of the water, we've never had this problem before."
spoke and he was thrifty with the words, "Get the rifle."
ran to the truck and grabbed the rifle. He went to hand it to John
who shook his head, still holding the bloodied jumper to the injured
side of his face. "You ever used a gun?"
fired an air rifle a few times."
friend in the arse."
idea, just aim higher."
looked to Alice who shook her head. "I abhor guns, especially
when used on animals."
raised the gun. He felt a little dizzy. This was not what he'd been
expecting when he'd gotten out of bed this morning. He'd been
expected to be bored shitless cleaning tables and washing dishes. Now
he was about to smoke a chimpanzee. He wasn't sure whether it was
fucked up, or cool. He caught a glimpse of John's face and realised
the whole thing was for real. He set the butt of the rifle to his
shoulder and took aim. The telescopic sight made the chimp look like
it was only a few feet away. He could see the wound caused by the
flamingo. The chimp's bloodshot eyes were blank. It was as if there
was nothing working behind the scenes apart from an automated need to
get at them and tear them to shreds. He took a breath and squeezed
the trigger. It gave one hell of a kick. The shot was true. It struck
the chimp in the chest with the force of a body shot from a
heavyweight. It flew backwards into the water. It flailed for a
moment before sinking beneath the surface. Steve lowered the rifle.
The chimps that were about to embark on the same journey continued as
though not caring about what had just befallen their alpha
looked to Alice and saw tears rolling freely down her cheeks.
broke the silence. "Do you think you can fire a couple of
warning shots at the bank? We don't want to hit any more of them,
just scare them into staying put."
give it a try." Steve replied, and worked the bolt the same way
that he'd seen John do earlier. He took aim and fired at the dirt
bank. The chimps didn't care, they carried on.
looked to John, who shook his head. "There's no way we can shoot
them all, there's not enough ammo."
are we going to do?" Steve asked.
looked to Alice. "Who else is on shift today?"
wiped at her eyes. "Kat's back at the centre sorting out the
feed buckets and minding the phones. Alex will be in later. Barbara's
on tickets, and the two at the café."
want Alex in sooner. We need to work out what's happening with the
animals before we lose any more."
sniffed back some snot. "Don't forget there's an ambulance on
the way for you."
Barbara and tell her to wait at the gate until they come. Then tell
her to ride with them up to the centre and not to get out for any
leaned back against the compound wall and got on her walkie-talkie.
John looked to Steve. "We'll swing back by the café to pick
them pair up, Should of brought them with us in the first place,
don't know what I was thinking. Then we'll head to the centre where
we can hole up until the vet gets here.”
hooked the radio back onto her belt. "Barbara says she'll do
what you…" She screamed the last of the sentence. Both Steve
and John spun see what the matter was. The chimp that Steve had shot
from the log had managed to make it to their side of the moat and
climbed up. It dragged her to the ground and started to beat her with
both fists. John grabbed the rifle from Steve's hands and used it
like a club. It connected with the chimps head but it only faltered
in its attack on Alice. John reversed the rifle and worked the bolt.
He shot the chimp in the chest, hoping for a heart shot. The chimp
flew back against the wall but was soon back on the attack. Alice was
laying still, her facial features blurred into mush from the
relentless blows. John readied and fired the gun again. This one took
some of the chimp's right shoulder off. It continued with its left
arm whilst the right hung idle at its side. Steve could hear
splashing over the sound of lunacy and gunfire. He knew the other
chimps were making their way across.
the others are coming!"
ignored him and worked the bolt again. "Fuck, out of rounds!"
He turned it into a club. The chimp managed to get hold of the gun
and ripped it out of his hands. It threw it to one side and bore down
on him. He stood no chance and the chimp quickly bested him. Steve
didn't know what to do. He could tell that both Alice and John were
dead and that the chimp would come at him next. He ran for the truck
and jumped into the cabin, slamming the door shut and locking it just
in case. He tried to get his breathing under control. It was a hard
with his adrenaline pumping like it was.
kept talking about the centre but he had no idea where that was. The
only place he could think to head was back to the café. He could
hide there and call for some help better than an ambulance. He
started the engine. He didn't have a license to drive cars, not that
it mattered, not in such circumstances, besides, he didn't have one
for the bike anyway.
a heavy thud the chimp landed on the hood and started to wail on it
with its good arm. Steve ground the gearbox into reverse and hoped to
spill the beast from the truck. It worked when he spun the wheel
hard. He threw it into gear and tore up the path in the direction of
the café. He chanced a glance in the rear-view mirror and saw the
big chimp in the middle of the path thumping the ground in
frustration whilst the other chimps made their way over the
he opened the truck door, he could hear the riot of noise from the
flamingos that they'd managed to contain within the enclosure. They
were all mindlessly pressed up against the fencing making as much
noise as they could.
Called a voice from behind him. Claire was standing in the doorway
with Spotty hovering behind her.
closed the door after him and asked. "What the fuck's
went to the fridge and helped himself to a coke, broached it and took
a long swig before sitting down on the nearest chair. Spotty piped up
with, "You can't just help yourself to stock."
adrenaline had ebbed away and Steve was suddenly feeling worn-out. He
looked up. "I just did." The realisation of how serious
things were came crashing down upon him.
fucked up," he said.
shit. What's happened though? Those birds out there are just
was the matter with those flamingos must be contagious, they passed
it on to the chimps. They went about killing each other and then got
up and acted like nothing had happened, but they were different,
changed somehow. Then they escaped. Alice and John are dead, I didn't
know the way to the centre so figured I'd hide out here with you. An
ambulance is on its way but I think we need to call something a
little more useful. I shot one of the chimps in the chest and it got
back up and attacked again. Where's the phone?"
the kitchen." Claire replied.
stood and headed for the kitchen.
shouted after him, "You can't get an outside line on it. It goes
through a switchboard. Dial nine," she said, as she followed
pushed the button and listened as it started to ring at the other
end. He looked over at Claire and saw Spotty rambling on about
something in a hushed tone. It took a good minute until someone
decided to answer the phone.
here." Was the greeting.
Steve, I work in the café."
can I do for you, Steve, kinda busy here."
been some trouble…" He went about telling her the
he was done there was a long pause at the other end, followed by,
"This better not be a joke."
know it's not, there's an ambulance on the way, but we need something
bigger, armed police, whatever, okay?"
was no reply.
spoke loudly into the handset. "Kat?" He had to yank the
handset away from his head as a scream flooded out from the receiver.
All went quiet. Steve looked to Claire and Spotty. The way they were
standing it was clear they'd heard the scream. Steve hung up and
leaned against the wall. He could hear them fidgeting beside the
door. He looked over. Spotty was urging her on but she looked
up?" Steve asked.
did a little bit more shuffling. Claire elbowed Spotty. "All
right." She hissed. She took a breath. "Colin reckons he
knows what's going on."
on," Steve said.
scowled at Spotty and pushed on. "He reckons they've become
zombies." She stared at her shoes, looking embarrassed at making
such a fanciful statement.
that the subject was broached, Spotty seemed keener on getting
verbal. "It started with that flamingo, the new one. I read the
plaque yesterday, it's a Haitian Great Flamingo." Spotty stopped
and looked at Steve, then Claire. They stayed quiet. Spotty ploughed
on, though he looked uncomfortable in the spotlight. "Voodoo!"
had seen all the usual films and he wanted to laugh but couldn't. He
started thinking about the big flamingo. The way it had kept getting
up until John had blown its head off. Steve had something to say,
don't know, they use chickens in their magic, maybe they use
flamingos from the wild. Something went wrong, maybe it got free and
some conservationists picked it up, I don't know."
nodded. "It's a better than any explanation I have."
looked chuffed to fuck they were listening. He chirped up with. "What
do we do now?"
shrugged. He wasn't a leader. He was a nineteen-year-old fuck up and
this was supposed to be his first job. He scratched at his head. The
only thing he could think about was getting the fuck out of the place
and leaving it all for someone else to sort out.
go to the centre, wait for the ambulance, then we get out of here.
How's that sound?"
you think that's the best idea," Spotty said.
not in charge here. That's what I'm doing, come along if you
was quick off the mark with, "I'm coming."
too." Added Spotty.
started the engine. "You'll have to give me directions to the
head back the way you came as far the chimp enclosure," Claire
added. "Do you think John and Alice will still be there?"
had been wondering the same but had decided to try not to think about
it. He couldn't help but look as they approached the chimp's
enclosure. He breathed a sigh of relief. Both bodies were still
sprawled where they'd fallen. Steve looked to Spotty. "Any
be communicable to humans, animals only," Spotty said.
nodded to show he got the gist. "Do I just follow this path all
had been quiet since seeing the corpses. That had made it real for
her. Spotty was looking pale and a little sick. Claire nodded. "Just
until you get to a fork in the path, take the left and keep following
drove in silence. Steve took the left path. The building was like the
café in that it was a squat single storey building, but more spread
out, like a small complex. There were a couple of vehicles parked
outside, but no ambulance. Steve swivelled in the seat, scanning all
around, remembering that the woman Kat had screamed. The chimps or
something else had attacked her. He'd seen the flamingos and the
chimps turn but God knew what else they had come into contact with
and tainted. He looked at Spotty. "You seem to know a lot about
don't think I want to be working in the café for ever do
other animals do they have here?" Steve wanted to know exactly
what he might end up coming face to face with.
took himself a moment to do a stock check in his mind. "Loads of
birds, wild cats, chimpanzees, monkeys, deer, raccoons, snakes,
cut him off. "I get the idea, any sort of animal I could
from elephants, we don't have any of them…or giraffes."
get the idea."
came out of her quiet reverie. "Why don't we stay in here until
the ambulance arrives and then they can use their radio to call for
took a moment to think. "I want to use the phone. I know we're
out in the middle of nowhere but even an ambulance would have been
here by now. What if something happened between the entrance and
here? We could be sitting on our asses forever."
pointed out that. "You don't even have a weapon."
had a gun before and that didn't make much difference, I think my
feet are my best asset as this point." He grabbed the handle and
knew the pair of them weren't planning on joining him. He hopped down
and slammed the door. He motioned for Claire to lock it. She
was aware of one thing; and that was he just wanted to get out. If it
meant ducking into the centre and making a call to the cops and then
darting back to the truck he'd do so. He thought about maybe just
heading back to the main gate but remembered the fencing and walls.
skidded to a halt at the door as a thought came to him and it struck
him hard, he hadn't asked where the phones where. He swore beneath
his breath and tried to open the door as quietly as he could. He
dipped his head in first, saw the hallway empty and slipped inside,
closing the door silently behind himself. He could see where the
phone was. Not the phone itself, rather a set of feet sticking out
from one a doorway.
edged over, bracing himself to come face to face with the rest of the
body. He looked around the corner and then fell back. He doubled over
and dribbled bile as he rretched. If it wasn't for the tits on the
body there would be no way of knowing whether it was male or female.
Whatever had slain her had removed her face all the way to the bone,
the eyes were gone too. He saw the handset of the phone dangling. He
stepped around her and picked it up. He reset it and called the
up at the wildlife park and things have gone bad."
in what way, Sir?" Her nonchalant voice was annoying him.
in the way that three people are dead, the chimpanzees are loose,
killer flamingos, fuck I don't know what else, probably fuck-tons
lady, just send coppers with guns, now!"
Claire Raymond there?"
pulled back tight with a bad attitude."
cottoned on to whom she was referring. "Yeah," he
her that I'll be reporting this to her father." The woman hung
up. Steve stared at the handset. Not believing what had just
happened. He dropped the handset as he heard the screech of a chimp.
It was chased by the smash of glass. The chimp kept making its noise,
but it was getting quieter, further away. Steve hoped that meant it
was moving off in the opposite direction.
phone call had narrowed down his options. He stopped and shook his
head. The muppet from the government that had been holding the
interview for the poke-hole job was called Mr. Raymond. Steve laughed
but it was a short laugh. There really was only one thing to do now.
That was to get the hell out of there. The thought of ploughing
through the big-ass fence was a fleeting one. It would open the way
for all the animals to escape. Steve retreated the way he'd come. He
checked outside before running for the truck. Claire was sharp enough
to spot him and open the door. He settled in and stared at her. "Your
pop's a bigwig for the council?"
looked Spotty and said, "We're gonna have to make a break for
not through the fencing?" Spotty said.
Already thought about what that'd mean, we're not gonna let any of
these things out."
seemed happy. "Good."
just looked puzzled. "How're we gonna get out then?"
put the truck into gear and said, "I'll think about that on the
way." He pumped the pedal all the way and spun the wheel around.
He knew the way back to the entrance and he just hoped that
inspiration would pitch up before he got there.
was only three turns in the path before he learned he was driving too
fast. He slammed the brakes on and locked the wheel. They missed the
overturned ambulance by inches but managed to find the ditch beside
the path. Steve head butted the wheel and everything went dark for a
couple of seconds. He sat back up, touched his brow, knowing that the
tips of his fingers would come back red. He looked over at Claire she
was holding a hand to the side of her head and wearing an 'ow'
okay?" He asked.
nodded. "Yeah, I'm fine, just bumped my head on the window is
all, bet it leaves a mark."
about you?" He called to Spotty in the back.
fine, had my seatbelt on."
opened the door and climbed out. Just looking at the truck he could
tell there would be no way to get it out without a tow. He went to
check on the ambulance. Claire and Spotty clambered out and joined
him. He wasn't a doctor but could tell they were all dead and all
three hadn't died of natural causes. They were all slumped with their
faces three times the size they should have been. He felt a little
bad that it took a few moments to remember her name, but it was
definitely the woman, Barbara from the kiosk.
do you think did it?" Claire asked.
shrugged. "Who knows what else has been infected. The driver
probably swerved to miss something in the road. Rolled it, the
windscreen shattered and then the animals came to play."
was looking around nervously. "We can't just stand around
on." Steve tested the wound on his brow, it felt tacky, that was
a good sign, meant that it had stopped bleeding. "We all up for
a run? Might as well make a dash for it."
nodded. Steve could see the side of her face was bruising from the
nodded from where he was standing having a good gawk at the dead
squealed like a little bitch. Steve and Claire turned and saw a black
smudge on his face. It was a spider, and a big one at that. More were
climbing out of the windscreen. It was a marching army of undead
Arachnids, all leaping to join in the poisoning of Spotty's face.
Spotty collapsed to the ground. Steve and Claire couldn't help but
stand and watch as a good dozen fist-sized spiders repeatedly worked
their fangs into Spotty's exposed flesh.
rustle of the foliage being disturbed yanked Steve's attention back.
A three-legged puma, the fourth nothing but a bloodied stump skulked
out, eyes red and with strings of slaver idling at the sides of its
ran full pelt. He looked over his shoulder and saw the puma ravaging
Spotty. They ran past the donkey and the shit-eater, both had red
eyes and were trying to batter down the fence. The fence wasn't
budging and with each fresh connection from the beasts they lost a
little bit of their animal faces. Steve grabbed Claire's hand and
yanked her onwards, knowing that the main entrance was only a hundred
meters away. He kept glancing back. The puma was struggling with its
front, bloodied stump. Its red eyes showed it wasn't in the mood for
giving up, no matter what the cost as it limped and raged after
yanked on the door to the kiosk as Claire tried to force the grated
turnstile. Steve cussed. The woman had locked up when she'd left to
get into the ambulance. Claire looked back. The puma was still
coming. Steve wheeled and grabbed up a rock from the side of the
path. He used it to smash the window. He reached in and worked the
are you doing?" Claire asked.
how do you set the turnstile?"
make beans on toast, how the fuck would I know!"
started pressing buttons. He heard something grind to life and kept
his thumb on that button. He looked at the lumbering tripod of a puma
and relaxed a little, it was a good ways off. "Try
pushed, the 'click-clack'
aired, and she was outside of the park. Steve rushed out and pushed
at the turnstile. It didn't budge.
eyes were wide. "Come on!"
won't move!" He looked over, the beast was getting too close for
comfort. There was no way that he could reach and the button whilst
he slipped through. He grinned, remembering when he'd taken the dare
of setting off the fire alarm in Safeway's. All the emergency doors
had opened and door locks were released.
snapped. "Give me your lighter!"
dug it out of her pocket and through it over the top. Steve snatched
it from the ground and rushed back into the kiosk and began to set
fire to the maps. He looked up at the smoke alarm and the wisps of
grey that were rising in a twirl.
red light started to flash and a concealed siren began to wail. Steve
hoped it was connected to the Centre and that the fire engines would
be automatically called. The police would probably pitch up too, or
so he hoped. He looked down and saw lights come to life above the
switches, followed by the same noise he'd heard whilst he had thumbed
the turnstiles button. He yanked open the door and made to dash
through it. The puma was too close. He pulled the door to with a
slam. Steve shouted through the gap that Barbara had originally
passed him the map through, "Claire! Run, just run, the fire
brigade and cops will be here soon. Get away, just in-case."
were tears of panic in her eyes. She looked past Steve at the head of
the puma that was trying to thrust its way through the window that
Steve had broken. She backed away as she looked to him but refused to
nodded. He turned and began to pelt the puma with cans of pop, and
whatever else felt heavy. He moved on to his fists. He could feel its
wetted snout meet his knuckles and it felt cruel, like sucker
punching a dog.
took a step back, looked at his knuckles, back to the puma that
wasn't giving up. Fear shook him as he heard the screeching of
chimpanzees. Then they were upon the kiosk. Already damaged ape-hands
punched through the glass. Blood spurted as the shards clawed at
their brutish arms. He looked at their battered faces pressed up
against the glass. Sunken, blood red eyes wept crimson. Their
strength brought further panic as he watched them destroy the wooden
frames. He grabbed the badge stand and started slamming it into the
customer window. A half dozen attempts later it was clear it was
reinforced glass, yet he could see the onset of a crack birthing. He
grinned at Claire, hope rising within him. The grin slipped away as
he realised that if he broke through and escaped then the chimps
would be able to do the same. He dropped the badge stand.
eyes widened. "You've nearly broken it!"
know." He dug a hand into his pocket and brought out his bike
keys. "Can you ride a bike?" He asked.
had had a few goes on a moped; they were nearly the same thing.
pushed the keys through the money slot. "Take my bike and get
away from here, just in case. Go." The sound of the final frame
giving way under the brutal strength of the chimps sounded behind
closed his eyes.
screamed and staggered away towards the car-park, towards the bike,
Sammy passed the rag-doll a plastic cup filled with sweet but
invisible tea. She smiled and served teddy. She looked up to the sky
and her smile widened. A pretty pink bird was flying over head.
waved and shouted out a loud, "Hello" Her smile grew even
wider as the bird wheeled in the sky and looked to be heading over to
say a 'Hello' right back.