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Zoo (Three Part Short Story)

Short story By: Zachary Wentzell

Tags: Zoo, Crime, Mystery

After a friendly, innocent trip to the zoo with his son, a mysterious man approaches Robby. He promises a zoo with amazing attractions. After dropping his son off at home, he goes to meet the man. But the zoo isn't a zoo. It's a sick, demented game that Robby has just accidentally volunteered himself for...

Submitted:Mar 12, 2013    Reads: 52    Comments: 9    Likes: 4   

Ryan clutched the hand of his son, Robby. Fascinated by the tigers, he was attempting to climb onto the railing seperating him from the animals. Since Ryan was only allowed to days with his son - one in the summer, one during winter - he took Robby to his favorite place in the world, the zoo.
Robby's birthday had been a few months ago. He had turned five in May. Ryan wasn't even allowed to be there. When he did show up, his ex-wife told him that technically, summer had been referred to as when the school year ends. So here they were now, at the zoo; Ryan had to make up for lost time.
Robby got bored of the tigers and dragged him along. He walked towards the elephants. Robby was a little, excited dude with short black hair and brown eyes. He would get bored of one thing and move onto the next, only to get bored again. He got acceptable grades and hardly ever got in trouble, or so he was told.
After a few more hours of wandering the zoo, Robby started leading Ryan toward random places. They eventually ran into a dead end; a brick wall leading to nothing.
"I think we've looked at everything here, Robby," Ryan said.
"Guess so, daddy. Where're we goin' now?" he asked.
Ryan stared at his son's big eyes. He had always found it hard to lie to his son. "That's it Robby. We gotta go home now."
Robby defiantly held on to his dad's hand and followed him to the car. Ryan strapped his son into the seat and shut the door.
"Pssst," called out a voice.
Ryan turned and looked around. He saw a man in the corner of the front gate wall. Ryan signaled through the window to Robby, telling him he'd be back.
The man met him halfway. He wore a black trenchcoat, black sunglasses, and a black fedora, just like the typical shady guy you met on the street.
"I happened to notice how sad you're son looked as he walked to the car. Doesn't see you much, does he?"
Ryan stared at the man for a few seconds. "Yeah. My ex-wife got custody of him."
"Son like the zoo?" he asked.
"Well, yeah. I didn't come hear for my health."
The man thrust out his hand. "I'm George. And I gotta deal for you."
Normally, Ryan wouldn't take deals fro ma complete stranger. But he took his hand.
George grinned. "Alright. I gotta special zoo, just for you. It's actually based here. Wanna go in?"
"Nah," Ryan said. "I just wanna, er, inspect it before I let my kid in. Okay?"
George smile tightened. Ryan shook it off. "Sure man. Meet me back here in an hour." He walked off.
Ryan walked into the zoo. He had dropped Robby off at the front porch, rang the door bell, and went back into his car. He didn't want to face his wife. He paid admission, (again) and walked in. George hadn't said where they would meet, so he hoped to find him somewhere.
"Over here," a voice called out. He turned and saw George waving his hand.
Ryan walked up to him. "So, where are we going?"
"Just follow me," said George.
They walked and eventually ran into a brick wall, the dead end Robby had led him to earlier. George pulled back a few plants and smacked something red in the dirt. The wall seperated vertically and led into a tunnel with purple lighting. George led him through it. The wall closed behind him.
They reached the end of the tunnel. George turned to face him. "Wait here. I'm gonna turn on the power source."
He walked into a small shack. A few seconds later, the whole place lit up with purple lights and George walked out of the shack.
Ryan looked at a screen showing security camera footage to his left. On it was a bird's view of a maze. Ryan looked ahead. It was a hallway leading to more hallways leading to more hallways. This was a maze.
Ryan turned to George. "What the hell is this?" he asked. "You said this was a zoo."
George grinned. "I know what I said, I just lied to you." He removed his sunglasses.
Where his eyes should have been, there was nothing. Just empty, black sockets. A cage fell from the ceiling and trapped Ryan in it.
"You see," George began, removing his coat; all that was there was bumpy, scaly red skin. "I am the attraction here. So are you, now. And I haven't been fed in a while. I am starving."
His back sprouted curved, deadly tipped spikes. He took off his hat and revealed a head of tangles, messy black hair. He grinned and revealed his foaming, curved fangs. His feet were webbed and huge.
"I like to catch my food," George - it - said. "Like a cat." You get a minute to run Ryan. Good luck." He opened the cage.
Ryan had no choice. If he didn't run, he'd be devoured without a chance to live. He got up. He took off. He ran away to the sounds of the creature's cackle, knowing there was no way Ryan would survive his game.


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