Saturday, July 26, 2014

Prompt: 1) A van drives through the yogurt shop front window and 2) a panther escapes from the zoo

Carrie walked the empty zoo paths, making her final rounds of the Southwest exhibit. The coyotes were settling into their den, and she paused to watch the kits gambol. She was waiting for Shariya’s grumbles to startle them into the shallow cave, but there was no sound from the next enclosure. Carrie walked along the fence, looking in all the big cat’s usual hiding places. She didn’t really feel uneasy until she rounded the rock face and saw the light from the rear hallway…through the open door. “Oh, no,” she breathed.

Steve finished unloading the produce delivery in the zoo kitchen. John had signed for the delivery when he arrived and then pushed a cartload of food through the interior doors, so there was no reason to hang around. Steve actually liked the zoo deliveries, and he traded with the other drivers whenever he could. He’d loved the zoo when he was a kid, and his grandfather used to walk the trails and tell him Apache stories of the animals.

Thinking about his grandfather, Steve folded his loading cart and lifted it onto the frame inside the rear van door. Sliding the latch bolts in place, he climbed in the driver’s seat and pulled out of the delivery bay, waving to the security camera as he drove down the long drive. Emerging from the zoo grounds, he turned into the remaining evening traffic and headed back to the city.

Two blocks away from the warehouse, Steve heard a low growl from the back of the van. Shivers ran down his back, and his heart raced. Swallowing hard, he reached out slowly and pushed the power knob on the radio. In the sudden silence, he heard another long, rumbling growl. He didn’t have to see it to recognize the sound. Staring ahead, looking for a place to park and get out of the van, Steve spoke quietly, “Ndoihi…Ndoihi, I am honored. But it’s not safe for you here. Please stay where you are, and I will get you someplace—”

The cat roared. Steve felt it in his bones. His foot drove down on the gas pedal, and his hand jerked the steering wheel. His head thumped the back of the seat as the van rolled over the curb. The cat roared again, and Steve cried out, “Ndoihi!” Desparate, he pulled off his seatbelt and pushed the door open, diving out of the still-moving van. He rolled into the parking lot, then jumped up, watching in horror as the van drove straight into the glass window of the FroYo frozen yogurt shop.

The van perched on the low wall of the shattered window, rocking slowly, tires spinning. A building alarm was blaring, red and white lights flashing. Steve ran toward the wreck, then slowed as he saw the driver’s door swinging wide…

Time writing
Too long, too scattered

July word count

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