Map of the zooBrian reconnoiters the zoo.Derek's story starts at chapter 3.Rom babysits two unusual children.Kit tries to change, without success.Joshua tours his art collection.Fact: The Egyptian pharoah Ramses II had a pet lion. Its name was Antam-nekht.A lion, and another lion.Go to CoverGo to chapter 1 in Brian's View


Prologue (also Novel's Prologue)

The savagery was beautiful. Through the zoomed-in camcorder viewfinder, cut off from the wider extraneous world, he saw only the beast and the bloody flesh. Brian made a soft, low sound from deep down in his throat; a growl of brotherhood with the ravening lion.

While dagger-like teeth plunged into the carcass and massive paws held the once live meal to the earth, the lion's head yanked from side to side, worrying off thick hunks of blood-moist flesh. Brian, motionless and scarcely allowing himself to breath for fear of breaking the spell, felt himself an extension of the animal. As the lion ripped through the carcass, so too in his mind, did Brian. Their beings were effectively linked through the viewfinder. The camcorder hummed and time seemed frozen until the oneness was ended by the off camera shriek of an excited six year old shouting for his father to come see.

The spell broken, Brian turned away from his camera, blinked in the unusually warm, late September brightness, and got on with his mission. "Zoos," he muttered to himself as he stowed his tripod, hefted the camera to his shoulder and set off through the park, "animal concentration camps." With notepad and camera, he walked the zoo, stopping occasionally to make notes or to shoot a few seconds of video.

Finally at dusk, when he was losing the light and the long shadows were making his camcorder reconnaissance ineffective, he called it quits. Not that he had completely traversed all paths in the zoo. That would have been hard as the Bronx Zoo is huge. No. His last camcorder battery had given out and he felt blind without his camera. Brian put away his gear and headed back to the Bronx Park South zoo entrance to catch his subway home.

"Abolish the Zoos," he said aloud as he swung through the zoo exit turnstile. "Free the animals now," he continued, softly intoning the mantra of CALF, the Captive Animal Liberation Front.

Brian padded up the steps to the train platform, ignoring the ancient escalator. He smiled at the roar of the subway train pulling into the station, felt the rumble in his feet and the vibration through his body. The subway's roar was like the lion's--an announcement of raw power.

His face hardened. The Bronx Zoo was huge, but they could take it. He patted his camera bag. He knew where he would station Jack’s snipers.

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