Zephyr World Zoo

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Chapter XIV

Robin Zerda

Robin had pretended to be sleeping as she watched and listened to everything that happened once Marcus entered the room. Xavier had made an admirable attempt to harm their captor. Too bad that it didn’t go as well as the boy had wanted it to.

Rick had walked over to his sister, probably to make sure that she was awake. “Come on. Let’s get going. Don’t want to make him mad,” he said, not looking at her.

She shot the man a glance, considering the idea of making him angry, maybe cause him to slip up, get emotional... and then dismissed the idea. For the time being.

Getting to her feet, her eyes roamed the room full of people, from the slave-like Callie, to the cowering Luna, to the guards nearby ushering them out into the hall, to the owner. At their turn to leave, accompanied by a guard, she did her best of ignore her brother. Acting like they weren’t attached to one another couldn’t hurt when it came to convincing these men that they couldn’t be used against the other. It might be futile, but at least she was doing something.

Richard led the way down the hall, out of the building, and through the maze of paths leading to their enclosure. Guards with their charges walked around them, opening exhibits and locking them behind their prisoners. Soon, they were in front of what she assumed was their exhibit, one with desert or scrub terrain. With a beep, the rear door to said prison opened, and Rick went inside without so much as a look from the guard, instantly shifting.

Robin took in everything as she walked into the open space. Once through the doorway, she was forced into her Other form, a process that was incredibly uncomfortable and a little painful, if she was being honest. Trying to change back, she realized that she was stuck. Stuck shifted into her fennec fox self. After getting over that fact, she returned to her scrutiny of the zoo around them.

Clearly, there had been a great deal of money invested in this whole setup. All of the enclosures were open air and had some sort of thick security glass separating the guests from them. That cut off her plans of stealing a phone from one of the guests to use later. Though even if she did, she probably couldn’t hide it. These guys probably had security cameras everywhere.

She trotted over to the fence separating their exhibit from Luna’s and watched as the other girl did intricate flips and tricks in the water. It was obvious that poor Luna was having difficulty performing everything, probably due to her injuries and malnutrition. It didn’t make sense. Otters were the cutest. Why would they jeopardize a big attention-draw like that?

Robin looked back at her twin, flicking her ears, trying to convey all that she was thinking in the series of yips and barks that was the language of their kind.

‘These people are stupid.’

The boy yipped in agreement, his ears slouching a bit. His own body language was subdued, not at all like the proud, playful fox that she remembered.

Sitting down on a large rock, tail curled around his paws, he said, ‘Our routine is after the otter. So we have several hours.’

‘She’s going to mess up again,’ Robin noted, looking over her shoulder at Luna. She watched her swim around for a bit before she pulled herself out of the water and onto a rock, chittering to herself. ‘That throw last night hurt her, and the cold probably seized up her muscles. And without food...’ Swimming around so much wouldn’t be good for her.

‘How long have they been punishing her like this?’

The otter went back into the water, and sped through the stuff like a bullet. She performed an elegant flip expertly, then clapped her tiny paws.

She’s amazing. I bet she used to enjoy doing stuff like that.

’Too long,” Rick replied sadly. ‘They’ve been hurting her for weeks now. Ever since Marcus gave her double the amount of tricks for her routine. She couldn’t remember it all, and we all got starved for two days.’

‘So they’re killing her, and then the stupid bastards will be down an act. Which they’ll doubtless blame on everyone else but themselves.’ Robin yawned, then began to stretch. Her movements made her look like a funny little cat, up from a morning nap. These people seriously needed to start using their heads, though she wished her fellow prisoners would more so than the men keeping them here.

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