Dangerous Animal

You are a zookeeper, and one day a shady looking man brings in what he calls an “exotic animal.” This animal is in a wooden box with small air holes on the top and the box is stamped DANGEROUS. He throws a picture on your desk and you look at the strangest creature you’ve ever seen. Write a scene describing the animal and the man’s story for how he found it.

Post your response (500 words or less) in the comments below.

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One thought on “Dangerous Animal

  1. kathleenmagner

    Emery signed his name along the bottom line and tossed the request for an extra order of bamboo into his outbound pile. Leaning back, he laced his hands behind his head and stretched, earning a creak from his shoulders and the springs of his chair.

    A breeze through the lone side window carried the fresh scent of hay and manure, the trumpeting of an elephant from the safari exhibit, and the steady tread of footsteps and banter of visitors migrating from one environment to the next. Closing his eyes, Emery perused the plains and the grazing zebras, antelope, and giraffes sharing the space and the vine covered the walls of the ape palisades further on. Although a respectable distance kept both expanses and the other living quarters throughout the park a respectable distance from the walkways, he sensed the awe in adults and children alike and an appreciation for the variety on planet Earth being stoked.

    Thumping steps neared, bringing Emery out of his respite and quieting the tingling at the base of his skull. Tilting forward, he propped his elbows on his desk’s spare patches while Sandra’s knocks pecked his door.

    “Come in.”

    “I’m sorry to bother you but Mr—” Sandra glanced behind her, blonde ponytail swaying.

    A warbling tenor supplied a name Emery missed. When Sandra turned back, however, he noted the sickly cast to her tanned face, the brighter whites of her wider than normal eyes.

    “Darrell has brought something I think you need to see.”

    Emery stood and motioned them to a side table where he cleared the file boxes, grant applications waiting for his edits, and an empty carrying crate. “Put it here.”

    Sandra pressed herself against the door, her gaze locked on the shoebox a wiry Darrell held at arm’s length. Duct tape encircled the cardboard and the dents marring the once straight sides. Another thrust from whatever the box contained added a bulge when Darrell set the container onto the spot designated on the counter.

    Through the air holes punctured in the top, a familiar acidic smell trickled and Emery braced himself on the table while covering the back of his neck with his other hand. The counter’s metallic surface chilled the sudden heat flushing his fingers but failed to quell the sweat starting along his spine.

    “It looks a little like this.”

    The tremble in Darrell’s arm caused paper to rustle and drew Emery from his tunneled stare of the box. He cupped the palm-sized camera the shorter man offered and clasped the edges of the page.

    Freed, Darrell stuffed his hands into pockets of muddied jeans. “My little girl drew the picture this morning when…the whatever-it-is fell through our garage.” He tipped his chin at the camera. “My wife snapped those while I was corralling the thing into the box.”

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