Chapter 25 Wednesday, 1600 hours (4 PM)
Derek stayed hidden in the Indian desert diorama until well after all the Calfers had left. Then he got up, stretched, and brushed off the sand. It was harder though, to brush off the horrors he had seen. This Joshua was a madman, capable of anything.
Derek wanted to rush out to Jeffrey, but he was shaken. He'd wait for dark, when it was comparatively safe. Meanwhile, he'd hunt through the building for rope to rescue his son.
He scoured the building but there was no rope. Then he had the gruesome thought that he could fish out the dead hostage and use the electrical cable that tied him. Derek leaned against the wall and felt as if he were going to vomit.
No. I'll find some other way.
When the nausea passed, Derek paced the building like an animal, waiting for nightfall. He consciously avoided the alligator exhibit, and took pains to avert his eyes from the cobra den.
Finally, at about five, Derek peeked out the door and judged it dark enough. He eased the door open and found he was trembling. He made sure there were no SkySafari gondolas in view and darted out the door. It might be dark for him, but for the Calfer in the gondola with his night vision scope, it would be as bright as day.
Keeping first to the cover of the building, and then to the safety of the zoo's vegetation, Derek made his way toward the snow leopard habitat. He was afraid now, not of wild animals particularly, but of Joshua.