Go to Cover Lori and Brian kiss through a fence, and Brian has a puzzling meeting with Joshua.Derek waits until dark to leave the Reptile House.Kit and the pack get their uniforms back, and Kit watches as Jeffrey and Jack make friends.Jack befriends Jeffrey.Joshua attempts to share his passions with Brian.Saying: If the camel once gets his nose in a tent, the body will soon follow. - Saudi proverbTwo tigers and a lion, and a zoo cartGo to chapter 24 in Joshua's ViewGo to chapter 26 in Joshua's View

Chapter 25 Wednesday, 1600 hours (4 PM)

"We haven't had a good talk for a long time," said Joshua as he guided Brian over to a table by the window. There was an AK-47 assault rifle on the table. Joshua ran his finger tips along the smooth metal.

"Isn't this a magnificent piece of machinery," he asked.

"Um.. Yes," said Brian.

"It does things to me when I hold a device that so well fits to my hand and arm," said Joshua. "Do you ever feel that way, Brian."

"Yeah. When I'm working with a good, precision TV camera. It feels like it's part of my body; like an extension of myself."

Joshua picked up the weapon, cradled it in his arms and then aimed it out the window at the sky. Without looking at Brian, he said, "I've been thinking a lot about Andrew Steiner. I've been playing the bear attack over and over in my mind."

Joshua looked at Brian's reflection in the window. He saw a young, intense face - a beautiful face. Joshua hoped it would be the face of a disciple. He had to explore this boy's sensibilities, and to open him up to the excitement of killing. He'd have to be gentle. These emotions had to be drawn out slowly, for if they came too fast, Brian might be afraid of their intensity, and might even be revolted by them.

Joshua worked the gun's mechanism, punctuating his words with sounds of the compliant weapon. "I see it clearly in my mind, and when the bear attacks and he screams, I feel it throughout my entire body."

"I know what you mean," said Brian.

"Do you?"

"What do you mean?"

"What do you feel, Brian?"

Brian paused.

"I feel horrible. I can't believe I was part of it. It makes me want to throw up. I've never done anything that wrong and I hate myself for it. I try not to think about it, but I can't."

"Is that all you feel?" asked Joshua.

"I think so. Why?"

Joshua put the weapon back on the table. It was clear to him that Brian at the moment, was not disciple material. With time, maybe, but not now, and there was no time. Joshua felt his shell hardening around him again. He'd have to face the future alone. He turned to Brian.

"I'm glad we had this little talk," he said, "but we both have duties we must attend to now."

Joshua turned again to look out the window, and waited until he heard the door close behind Brian.

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