Zephyr World Zoo

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Chapter VI

Richard Zerda

Richard had grimaced at his sister’s words. She wasn’t wrong, but... she just didn’t get how hard it was to retain a rebellious or stubborn attitude here. He didn’t want her to go through the same pain he had. He wanted to make things easier on her, show her the ropes before the horrible things he had gone through happened to her.

The new boy, who appeared to be about Richard and Robin’s age, was a welcome distraction from his sibling’s scornful statements.

“I’m Richard Zerda.” The lean boy held out his hand to the more muscular young man, and attempted a smile. “Welcome to hell. What’s your name?”

The newbie had shoved aside Callie’s hands, glaring at her. After a moment’s hesitation, he shook Rick’s hand.

“The name’s Xavier,” he replied, his voice still holding a hostile edge. Richard couldn’t blame him, either. “What the hell is this place? Why are we here?”

“This is Zephyr World Zoo,” came his reply. “And we,” he gestured around the room, “are the attraction. Marcus wouldn’t have taken you if you couldn’t turn. So. What’s your Other? We all get categorized into different groups based on our Others, so we can help you get situated, and tell you what’s going to be expected of you.”

“Python. And what did that bastard give me? I couldn’t shift or anything,” Xavier said, his eyes fixed on Richard.

“It’s a drug of his own making. The guy’s been in the game of abducting people like us for a while. Perfected the art of subduing our kind, forcing the shift... all kinds of stuff along those lines. The drug prevents you from shifting. Easier to kidnap a human than an animal, apparently.”

“Since I told you what I am, shouldn’t you all return the courtesy?” Xavier asked, folding his arms across his chest.

“Lion, otter, fennec foxes,” Richard replied, pointing to Callie, Luna, and Robin and himself in turn. “But there are a wide variety here. Wouldn’t be much of a zoo with only a few different species.” He added the last bit, the words tasting bitter in his mouth.

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