Here’s another excerpt from Where Little Birds Go. Hope you enjoy.
The sun was getting itself ready to set and a voice came over the P.A. system announcing the zoo would be closing in an hour.
Hand in hand we walked, passing the petting zoo, the single elephant, the giraffes, and stopped at the pen containing two zebras.
Abby seemed entranced by the black and white patterns moving over muscle as the zebras chased each other back and forth.
“I want one.”
“Yeah! Can I have one? Please…”
“Maybe for Christmas. If you’re good.”
We stood there, the only two watching. Abby beaming at the prospect of a Christmas-zebra.
The voice came through the P.A. speakers again asking all visitors to please make their way to the front and that the zoo would be closing in fifteen minutes.
“Come on. Time to go. We can come back tomorrow if you want.”
Abby wasn’t moving from her spot.
“Come on, honey. Time to go. They zoo is closing and it’s bed time for all the animals.”
“But look, the zebras are kissing!”
The zebras were face to face, nuzzling each other, sharing secrets with each brush of their long faces.
I reached down and grabbed her hand, trying to lead her to the exit. She wouldn’t move.
She let out a loud scream that choked and silenced into mute sobs and hysterical tears.
The zebras were fighting. No, not fighting. They were eating each other. Huge chunks of black and white flesh fell from their mouths to the dusty ground. White stripes glistened red.
They pulled back on their back legs and started to hit each other until one finally buckled and fell to the ground, its brain leaking into the dirt.
The zebras were silent, seemingly calm, the whole time.
My hand was covering Abby’s eyes. I was trying to move us back, to escape. The living zebra looked up and locked eyes with us.
“Run, Abby. Run away. Fast.”
The zebra started to walk towards the fence, red foam dripping from its mouth. It started to ram the fence with its head, splinters flying, bones cracking with each harder hit.
I heard sirens.