View Full Version : The Mobile Monster Zoo

February 26th, 2012, 08:51 AM
The light was blinding white, like a magnesium burn. Bethany, Caitlin, Jake and Derek were all being sucked through a light, airy tunnel. The wind rushed past them as a large red bus zipped along beside them. The people onboard did not seem to notice anything strange was happening. Another white flash and the four of them were in a bank, and the next moment, they were at the corner of Toffee avenue, just around the corner from the falls. They stopped. The light faded. The grip fell at either side of Bethany and Derek began walking toward the large green in the middle of Windy Falls. Jake and Caitlin followed, silently, and Bethany took this as her cue to get moving. The falls were magnificent.

Bethany had had little cause to see them until now. This was where the River Stygian flowed from the north, along a wide and fairly flat plane until the earth broke into a huge hole where the water plummeted into the black depths. The hole was now secured by a wide brass railing that ran in a ring around the gape, adorned every few feet by ugly signs that told people to be careful, don’t lean over the edge and prevent children from being alone.

The falls were so deep that nobody could see the bottom. Several local scientists had tried to determine its depth. But the raging water made it impossible to measure accurately because instruments would get damaged and nobody was stupid enough to go down there. So the scientists had to be happy with knowing that it was “very deep”.

As the four of them approached the falls, they realised that the majority of the waterfall was obscured by a massive white canvass tent. The pegs dug deeply into the grass and the thick tent ropes feathered the green, like cats’ whiskers, springing from a pyramid-shaped face.

The four of them joined the long queue for the box office. Just ahead of them stood Abraham Smale, grasping a handful of posters. It seemed that the majority of the queue was made up of people who were there exclusively to complain. Bethany heard one very angry woman of seven shout “I don’t know how you got up there, but I live in Barrage Way and they’re all high-rise flats! I’m on the top floor and you still managed to stick it to my balcony door... On the INSIDE! I’ll be taking this to the police!” before slamming the poster down on the counter.
Derek, Caitlin and Jake did not seem to think anything of this little outburst. The angry woman turned and her face twisted into a dopey grin and she walked away. This kept happening; all the angry people murmuring in the line in front of Bethany would shout and scream at the box office clerk and wave the posters around, saying that they, too were going to take it to the police station and prosecute the mobile monster zoo for all manner of things. “Breaking and entering! “ shouted Mrs Davies from Gusty Close, “Criminal Damage “ claimed Flo and Beryl who waved angry walking sticks at the box office. Each of these angry people then politely placed their posters on the counter and turned with inane grins on their faces and walked off. Something was happening... something odd.

“Are you sure you want to watch this?” Bethany asked, but Caitlin was already at the window, happily thrusting fistfuls of twenty pound notes through the hole in the glass. Derek did not seem to mind.

“WOAH! “ Bethany said loudly and Derek – realising the mistake – acted like he had just woken up and politely asked for the money back. The clerk looked suspiciously at Derek and slowly handed over four tickets and gestured to the entrance to the tent.

They walked through a large tunnel, lit by long rope-lights. The tent got darker and they read a few signs, warning not to use any kind of photography. They sat on uncomfortable, wooden benches with a small amount of saw dust between them and a thick red-silk curtain. It was like a cross between a circus and a theatre.

As the curtains rose, a billow of stage smoke appeared from nowhere and hid most of the scene. Eerie music began to play and Bethany wondered where she had heard it before. Bethany could see some of the tops of the cages, but the puppets inside were still hidden. It all looked terribly dramatic with the spotlights and strobes shining through the haze. Bethany stood up to get a better view, waiting for the misty veil to disperse. When it eventually vanished, Bethany could see inside the cages. The puppets did not look like the puppets in the posters. They were slimy, ugly and their internal organs pulsed and moved under the skin that was so tightly stretched over the ridged bones.

Some of the puppets were drooling. Bethany stared. Caitlin was staring too. Both she and Bethany were horrified at what they saw. Bethany looked around at some of the other children. They were laughing and pointing. Caitlin’s eyebrows were low over her eyes. She was concentrating, hard. “Oh dear” she said.

Bethany gazed at the laughing children. It seemed like they were not seeing the same show as Bethany and Caitlin were. Caitlin seemed to agree. Her face showed her disgust. Her nose wrinkled as she gazed at a huge snot-coloured slug. It bore sharp teeth on the ends of long tentacles which sprung from its head like slimy springs. It smelled like rotten meat and from the goo it was spewing from its flat belly, it could have been rotting, itself.

“Now that is really gross!” Jake exclaimed and Derek just stood, stunned. Bethany was right. Something was definitely wrong.

The cages started to move to the right as what appeared to be a conveyor belt began to scroll them around. The next one was a tank with a four-headed serpent in it. It was several feet long with unusual markings on its body and a large bulb on its tail that was covered with a purple, silk, drawstring bag. Each of the heads were moving to the eerie music, each picking out one of the four rhythms, each in time with the music, but none of them in time with each other. The snake seemed to bare long fangs, but it was probably quite harmless in that tank.

Next, a tiny, furry ball sat in another glass tank. Above the tank, Bethany saw a large, red, metal bucket of water, supported by a little stick which stuck out of the top of the tank. There was a chain which ran from the bottom of the bucket, up and over the glass wall and attached to the floor on the outside of the tank. Bethany, Caitlin and Jake all leaned forward to take a closer look at the tiny monster. Derek thrust his hand out to stop them as two little eyes opened on the ball.

“Aww, that’s really...” Bethany began, when suddenly the ball exploded in a huge burst of fire, which shot out of the top of the tank, burnt the little stick that held up the bucket and the water poured into the tank. Smoke and steam gushed everywhere, obscuring the view of the next cage almost entirely.

When the smog lifted, another cage had swung around to the front. A title card swung, smoking slightly from a brown string. Bethany read it.

Sachi Hoko
Japanese Hunger Monster

Bethany thought it looked beautiful. Its bright blue and gold feathers shimmered on its bird-like body and wings. It had bird claws like that of a small eagle but its head was scaly like a dragon. It had two fearsome looking horns and although it was only the size of a large pet rabbit, it looked strangely dangerous. It was probably still a baby, but Bethany was sure that the cage was absolutely necessary.

Each monster was just as exciting as the first. There was a little yellow bird flying around in a box. At the bottom of the box was a few inches of powdery dust which glimmered like oily glitter. The sign read:

Harena Daemon

The small bird looked harmless enough, but the last word of the sign said “Daemon” which looked very much like “Demon” and maybe it was just pretending to be a pretty bird. As it flew around the box for a while, Bethany thought it odd that the bird did not land. Its wings were throwing up little clouds where the downward thrust of its wings were disturbing the air and effecting the dust. One of the clouds touched the bird’s right wing and the bird flinched and fell onto the sand. What was so monster-like about this bird? Bethany thought it looked like a normal canary. There was a single second during which the bird lay on its side and let out a lonely tweet before being swallowed! A tiny jet of blood shot in the air as a crunch was heard inside the box. As the blood fell back down, it too was absorbed by the dust, which rippled like sandy water. A few moments later, the little bird re-emerged as the dust burped out the bones. It was the harmless look of the dust that was most horrifying, it looked so pretty, so mesmerising.

There was another tank and a cloud of green gas inside which several wasps were buzzing. Bethany was amazed and scared to see that this tank had no lid! She read the sign:

Fart Wasps

“Eww” Bethany said.

“That’ll make you think twice about having beans for lunch!” Jake replied with a grin. Bethany was relieved when the conveyor swung the tank away again.

There was a brown monkey, about the size of a football which hopped around in an aggressive dance. Bethany read the sign.

Sofa Monkey

It looked more flexible than most monkeys and it appeared to have no spine when it bent. Perhaps this monster stole T.V. remote controls and lived inside the sofa, Bethany supposed. It would explain a lot...

There was no doubt about it, some of these monsters were just weird. There was a severed foot of what looked like a huge blue monster. It was already growing a long leg bone, which stretched out of the ankle. As they watched, it slowly grew red, raw muscle, creeping up the bone like vines up a tree. It was regenerating as they watched it! Thankfully it looked like it would take hours to re-grow the whole thing.

Finally the last cage swung around and a weird looking ball of smoke stood there, eyes sunken deep into the billows. It looked sad... but perhaps the red watery eyes were weeping because of the stinging of the putrid smoke. It was like a bonfire and it put Bethany in mind of some other kind of creature that she had met before. Mr Midnight – the owner of the shop that sells everything was made of bonfire smoke, but there was no way he could be related to something with those two huge, fat feet; flat and slab-like. The feet were naked and grey and bore soft, white, downy fur on the top. The smoke curled and eddied around it and little skinny arms hung by its sides as it looked with forlorn eyebrows into the crowd.

Another sign hung from the cage.


Bethany read the sign and was surprised to recognise the word. She laughed slightly, imagining a suited banker puffing on a cigarette, locked inside the cage. The smoker’s eyes flicked quickly to fix upon Bethany. As it did so, the smoker grinned, too. It had no face to speak of, but the smoke moved into what looked like a weird smile. Bethany found that the humour was suddenly gone. That single grin and eerie stare had wiped any sense of fun away with a creepy cloth of uncomfortable tension. Did this creature have some kind of intelligence. Sure, it was weird, but what was it that made it qualify as a monster? It seemed to be very calculating and appeared to be observing Bethany with special attention. The curtains closed in a bright red swoosh that clashed with the darkness of the tent. The lights were up and the crowd were moving. Bethany stared for what seemed like minutes. Had it all been real?

A man was thrusting through the crowd to get to them. “I need to talk to you!” he shouted as Derek,Caitlin and Jake all rose quickly and turned to the man. Bethany was still sat down as the last of the crowd left the tent.

Derek saw the last person leave and quickly whipped out a stick from his pocket and pointed it directly at the man’s face. The man stopped suddenly, like he had just collided with a glass wall. Derek still had a wand! Cool!

“I’m not going to hurt you” said the man in a whimper, “but I really need your help!”

February 27th, 2012, 05:13 PM
The third paragraph, currently split into three fragments, is really only one sentence.

February 27th, 2012, 05:25 PM
More comments: I liked the simile of the tent ropes to cat whiskers.

"WHOA" is misspelled.

Derek politely asked for the money back but got four tickets instead - did you leave something out? This is disjointed.

You have an interesting concept here, but I have no idea whether the four people (Derek, Bethany, Caitlin, and Jake) are brothers and sisters, lovers, friends, young, old, or why I should care about them. I look forward to seeing your revisions.