Go to beginning of the book Brian has a disturbing dreamDerek sees signs of the re-capture of the zoo, and on TV, sees Joshua threaten to hurt a hostage.Rom sleeps through the zoo disturbances, and the FBI agents see a wolf enter Jungle World.Kit rolls on a nyala carcass, and has a strange meeting with Jack.Jack can't sleep, thinks about his life, and plays with Wolf.Joshua uses his art collection.Saying: Even the lion must defend itself against the flies. (Auch der lowe muss sich vor der Muche wehren) - German proverbAn empty zoo parking lot, and a wolfGo to chapter 14 in the Novel ViewGo to chapter 16 in the Novel View

Chapter 15 Wednesday, 0330 hours (3:30 AM)

The first human blood was drawn in two separate incidents, the first at three thirty in the morning, just as many of the Calfers were returning to their posts or their bunks after Joshua’s midnight meeting.

Out of deviltry or more likely just boredom, The Kings of the Bronx decided to throw a late night party. The Kings, unchallenged and predominant, were a youth gang or social organization, depending on one’s viewpoint. They decided to hold their party in Bronx zoo, convenient since they all lived near by. Their party paraphernalia consisted of half emptied bottles of liquor, a handful of condoms, and a few hand guns. They were also curious. They knew something strange was going down at the zoo since there were police at all entrances. The police though, probably from a shortage of manpower, had not bothered to guard the zoo's large perimeter fence. The barbed wire would probably be a sufficient deterrent to unauthorized passage.

The zoo's perimeter fence had razor wire mainly for the protection of the animals within but the wire was not much of an impediment for the Kings of the Bronx. They had taken a mattress from one of the many abandoned South Bronx apartment buildings in the zoo vicinity, and had borrowed a ladder from a parked maintenance truck. Since they were on their own turf, they feared naught. The Kings set their ladder against the Southern Boulevard perimeter fence using a street lamp for additional support. Earlier in the day, they had shot out the lamp's bulb, so they could work in darkness, and unobserved.

It was observed however, through night goggles by the CALF spotter in the SkySafari. He radioed in to Zoo Center, and a pair of Calfers in a zoo cart was dispatched to the scene.

"I’m sorry," said a Calfer, "but you can’t come in here."

The leader of the Kings looked through the fence at the teen aged individual who had gotten out of the cart and figured that another gang had a similar plan to their own.

"The hell we can’t." he said.

The Calfer wasn’t carrying an AK-47 but instead was wearing a side arm. It kept his hands free, and besides, it looked sharp. For effect, he crisply unsnapped the military holster, and drew the weapon. Not that he intended to use it, even if he knew how, which he didn’t. It just felt good in his hand. One of the Kings was more experienced. He took out his cheap hand gun and without warning, shot the Calfer in the arm. His companion in the cart, angry and frightened, jumped down and opened fire with his automatic weapon. He didn’t hit anyone. He wasn’t trying to, but instead was trying to deal with the recoil of his weapon. His shots went completely wild. Shells hit the street, a mailbox, and the old brownstone across the street, knocking little shards of red brick from the walls and shattering a window. It was very noisy but noise of this sort was not particularly uncommon in this part of the Bronx. The police took no notice. They most likely didn't even hear it.

"Holy Shit, Let’s get the hell out of here." said the Kings leader as he and the rest of the gang dropped their bottles and ran for their lives. The leader was worried not only for his life, but also because there seemed to be a new gang in the area, and a well armed one too. He knew there’d have to be a turf war, and with these cats, it wouldn’t be much fun.

The injured Calfer was taken to the zoo hospital to be treated by an emergency medical technician, a veterinary student at Tufts. She had him sit on the low table that was made for medium sized animals while she examined the wound. The bullet had gone cleanly through, missing bones and arteries alike. The wound needed only disinfecting and bandaging. The injured Calfer left the zoo animal hospital wearing his bandage as a badge of honor.

The second incident happened about an hour later. A special black-clad anti-terrorist squad attempted to breach the zoo fence from the Bronx River Parkway side. They too were spotted from the tramway. There was advance warning of the attack since although the police were monitoring CALF communications, they did not bother to think that CALF might be monitoring theirs. CALF was well warned, well prepared, and very well armed. At the moment when the squad was about to go over the fence, they were met with a barrage of automatic weapon fire, tracer bullets, flares, and even a grenade. None of this was meant to injure, intentionally misdirected as the fire was, but only to be a lesson that CALF was not to be treated lightly.

The lesson was learned. Using an expletive not unlike that of the leader of the Kings of the Bronx, the anti-terrorist squad leader broke off the engagement even before it had really started and, like the Kings, ran for cover. Save for their pride, they suffered no injuries. A Calfer, on the other hand, did. He was knocked out of his perch in a tree by the recoil of his weapon and suffered a cut on the back of his head.

While the Calfers were defending the zoo in the name of animal rights, a couple of tigers were methodically eating their way through the petting zoo, and Jack was tossing and turning in his sleeping bag.

At 4 that morning, Jack's eyes were open for he could not sleep. He often had trouble sleeping. His walkie-talkie was on the desk, powered up with voice activated autoscan enabled and the volume knob set to low. Not that he needed to know what was going on. He just didn’t want to feel alone. Jack was stretched out on his back on the floor of a small, first floor office. All the officers and Joshua each had their own room, Joshua in fact was rumored to have two. The rank and file members shared rooms, which room depended on their sleep schedules. Jack wondered idly if now that there were no more officers, he’d have to give up his room. Not that it mattered. After tomorrow when they all became murderers, the police would probably have no choice but to invade. Again, not that it mattered, not even if everyone got killed. That way at least he wouldn’t have to figure what to do after college. Not having a home at college after not having a home at home. That’s what scared him.

He tried to think back before the divorce or at least before his dad remarried. Was he happy then? He couldn’t remember. His dad was rough on him, especially when his dad had been drinking. And after the divorce he'd started drinking a lot. Through it all though, they'd been a family, a small one, just he and his dad. But then his father remarried.

His father used to say, "You’re not losing a father. You’re gaining a sister." He gained a sister, his precious older stepsister. Maybe he didn’t lose a father, but he did lose his dog. His perfect precious, stepsister and her supposed dog allergy; He hated her, and when she died a few years later of leukemia, he said he was glad. His stepmother hit him then, hard. They tried therapy, and when that didn’t do anything, a private school. After that, he never went home again. From high school, he was injected directly into NYU.

Why was he always dwelling on these things. It just caused him pain. Not that he didn’t cause others pain, either emotional pain as in the case of his parents, or physical pain as when he was in school. He became an expert on pain. He was the school bully and inflicted it a lot. It made him feel good, like when you secretly feel good when you hear about someone else’s misfortune. Yes, like that, but more so.

It was no use. He just couldn’t sleep. He turned his attention to his walkie-talkie and pondered the news of mauled deer carcasses. Apparently the released cats had found munchies, but how did the deer get loose? His mind was now too fully engaged to even make an attempt at sleep. Jack sat up in the sleeping bag and rubbed his stubble. A few more days of this and he’d have the beginnings of a beard. Revolutionaries were supposed to have beards, weren’t they? Joshua and Brian didn’t have stubble of course. Joshua was too fastidious and Brian probably didn’t even shave yet. Jack hopped out of his sleeping bag, flipped the light on and got dressed. He went out to the service kitchen, opened the outside door a crack. He whistled softly at the crack until the black tip of a nose pushed in at the door. Jack swung open the door, admitting a bounding Wolf, and snapped it closed again.

"Good dog. Good dog," he said while Wolf jumped up to lick his face.

Jack hugged the animal and went to the refrigerator for a snack for both of them. Wolf, independent and feral, was good company for Jack who never seemed quite comfortable with people. Jack finished off his pre-dawn meal and regarded his canine friend. Wolf padded over and put a paw in Jack’s hand. Jack closed his fingers around the paw and Wolf licked his hand. Jack’s face inexplicably hardened. He tightened his hand to a fist, squeezing Wolf’s paw. Wolf yelped in pain but Jack continued to squeeze. The yelp turned to a low growl and the gray eyed animal sunk its teeth into Jack’s arm, drawing blood. Jack, smiling, loosed his grip, and patted Wolf’s head.

"Good dog," he said.

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