The universe is full of life. Some good, some not so much. It can all be seen at the zoo.

The Zoo


By J.R. Kost



"Daddy, where do babies come from?"


Those questions.


"Well, sweetie, they're made by a male and a female of a species. Each has their own special contribution that, when combined, creates a new life, a baby."


"Did you and mother each have a special contribution when you made me?" Suzy queried, as she grabbed on to her dad's hand.


Derick chuckled and replied, "Indeed, it took special things to make you, that's for sure!"


They strolled down the walkway slowly, taking in the beautiful day and all the fascinating life that abound. There were huge trees, some 100 meters tall. Flaming red bushes, that seemed to wave like fire in the breeze. Of course, there were the flowers. Purple, indigo, yellow, and red in varying petal sizes and configurations.


The insects were just as colorful. Large, small, winged, and multi-legged. Suzy was always amazed at the diversity of life. Of course, then there were the hairy beasts.


They soon arrived at an exhibit with rock cliffs, a pond, and waterfall. Fish swam nonchalantly up the small current created by turbines behind the waterfall. There was only an invisible fence to keep what was in from getting out. The exhibit was Suzy's favorite.


The beast came out from a small cave behind the cliff.


"There he is, daddy!" Suzy exclaimed. "Bo looks like he's put on some weight for winter."


"Always the observant one, aren't you Suzy?" Derick said with a grin.


Walking on all fours, the beast slowly lumbered toward the father and child. It seemed to recognize Suzy. At least she liked to think so.


"I think he's smiling at you, Suzy."


"Yeah, we're pretty good friends, you know."


As it got closer a shimmer appeared between the beast and Suzy. The beast then stood up on its hind legs before turning back toward the direction it had come. The invisible barrier had given its warning not to get any closer.


The hairy creature must have weighed at least 500 kg. It was big for its species, but it ate well in captivity. The claws were also impressive. Over 100 mm for sure. They were impressive fishing gear.


As the beast turned around another, smaller one came from the cave.


"There's Bea, she's coming out to say hello too!" Suzy said in an excited voice. Not far behind was the baby cub.


"What!? A baby! Dad, there's a baby with them!


Derick smiled. "I told you I had a surprise for you. The little one is only a few weeks old.


Derick and Suzy stayed at the exhibit for hours. Watching the family hug and play together. It even seemed as if the parents were teaching the young one how to fish.


In time, the sunlight began to dim, it was time to head home.


"We better start home, Suzy. I'm sorry, I know you'd stay here all day and night if you could."


“Awh daddy, can’t we just stay a few more moments? I just want to watch the baby for a little longer.”


“Okay, just a little longer.”


Too soon for Suzy’s liking, they started to head to the exit.


“Do you mind if we swing by the new exhibit before we head home, Suzy?” Derrick asked. I know it’s not your favorite, but the species interests me.


“Okay, but not for very long. Okay daddy? Those creatures are always fighting with each other. Not to mention, they’re ugly!”


“Yeah, just for a quick look.” Derick confirmed.


As they rounded the corner they saw the creatures. There were four of them. None looked exactly the same as the others. They all had the two, staring eyes, but of different colors. Their skin was black, brown, or white. Their heads were not quite round with varying amounts of hair that covered what was identified as their hearing appendages. The creatures always stood on their legs and had arms with five fingers that always seemed to be in a fist, ready to strike out. Two had breasts and longer hair. Sometimes they pull at the others and scratch with their claws.


No one knew what they were saying, but the tone was undeniably hostile. Not just to those passing, but among themselves as well.


“Daddy, can we go now? They’re so violent. They don’t even seem to care about each other.”


“Okay, sweetie. I’m sorry I made you stop here.”


The binary sun system soon reached the horizon. The white dwarf sank first, with the more massive yellow following shortly after. It started to get cold and Suzy started to shiver. Derick brought his arm around Suzy, his wing membrane helping to hold in the heat. Their huge eyes soon adjusted to the diming light as they homed in on the infra-red emitted from the path guide rails.


“What kind of world could create such beasts, daddy?


“Your hairy friends come from the same world. I know, hard to believe they could co-exist.” Derick said, looking tearful at his daughter. “Actually, that planet has been in decline for some time. Humans have been destroying it for centuries, with little regard for other living things. Soon, the great hairy beasts, grizzly bears I think the humans call them, will be gone, just like so many other creatures in their world.”


Suzy turned to her father and asked, “Where in the universe could there be a place so hostile to life, even their own?”


Derick replied, “I think they call it Earth.” As they both flapped their wings and took off for home.



The End






Cover image: DrPrattDatta, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons









Submitted: December 18, 2022

© Copyright 2023 J.R. Kost. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:



I honestly thought these were human characters initially. Good one

Sun, December 18th, 2022 6:51am


Nicely done (-:

Mon, January 9th, 2023 11:31pm


Thank you! Please like if you haven't already.

Mon, January 9th, 2023 3:32pm


Done! (-: you're welcome (-:

Tue, January 10th, 2023 2:08am

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