Chapter 7 Tuesday, 0700 hours (7:AM)
Joshua woke at his usual time and tried to roll out of bed. He had a flash of panic as he found he couldn't raise his arms. He thought he was in a straight jacket again. Then he came fully awake and realized he was in a sleeping bag. He hadn't spent a night in a sleeping bag for many, many years. He unzipped the bag and stood up. He felt great - like a new man. He hadn't any nightmares, nor thoughts of his own death. He was even hungry. Joshua dressed, and bounded down to the kitchen to snag some breakfast.
The Calfers not on duty were still asleep. They were college students and kept college student hours. After croissants and re-warmed coffee, Joshua left by the back exit and commandeered an electric zoo cart for a tour of the zoo perimeter. Aside from the hum of the quiet electric engine, and an occasional bird call, there was no sound. It was like being far from civilization and if one didn't look above the tree tops and see the distant apartment buildings, one could well imagine a jungle city. Joshua expected there to be activity at the zoo's perimeter fence. There should be police cars, cordons, and maybe even the National Guard. But there was no one outside the fence. No one! Joshua felt insulted. They were not taking him seriously. Maybe they didn't even know the zoo was in other hands. Joshua wanted the zoo to be cordoned off. It would be good for the Calfers to perceive an enemy on the other side of the fence. Furthermore, with the zoo closed off, it would be harder for any of his Calfers to get cold feet and defect.
Joshua was preoccupied with these thoughts and he didn't see the tiger on the path until he was almost on top of it. It was a huge beast with malevolent yellow eyes. It growled threateningly and exposed long sharp teeth. Joshua slammed on the breaks and watched as the tiger crouched and stared at him. "Was there a reverse gear on these carts?"
Joshua wondered idly if being attacked by a tiger would be a better death than being shot by his own cross-bow. No doubt, yes, but not now. He didn't want to die right now.
The tiger eyed the cart for a little longer, then ambled off toward the African Plains habitat. Joshua let out a long breath. He realized he hadn't been breathing for the last minute or so. He sat there for a few moments. Then the exhilaration came. He'd been scared and afraid for his life. It was wonderful.
Joshua started up the cart and drove back to the Education Building. He was going to move headquarters next door to Zoo Central. It was a more impressive building. He was also wondering how to get the police to take him seriously. As Joshua got within sight of the building, he stopped the cart. There was something moving near the wall. It wasn't the tiger. It was too small, and the wrong color. It seemed flesh colored. Joshua looked hard, but whatever it was, if indeed it was anything other than his imagination, was gone.