Species

Skeleton wall, Brighton Museum UK 2006

Skeleton wall, Brighton Museum UK 2006

WRITING PROMPT NO. 136

“Gather round everyone. Make room for each other.”

“What’s his name?” Linda nudged the man standing next to her.

“I’m sorry?” he said.

“Him,” Linda pointed at the tour guide. “What’s his name again?”

“John.” The man folded his arms and stared straight ahead.

Linda began to make another comment but then closed her mouth thinking better of it.

“As you can see,” said John, “our team here have done incredible work on the animations of the carnivore skeletons. Each one takes several months to complete.”

In front of the group, behind a cube of clear toughened glass, three skeletal creatures walked, jumped and ran around the enclosure. Their joints hummed with electronics with every movement. Each skeleton was a robotic version of its living relative. Linda shivered and pulled her cardigan up over her shoulders.

“Bloody creepy looking if you ask me,” she said.

“Are there any questions?” John looked into the groups faces. Most turned away or shook their heads. A hand went up.

“Yes?” said John, pointing to the man standing next to Linda.

“Why?” said the man.

“Why?” said John. “Why? I’m not sure I follow?” “Sir,” he added as an afterthought.

“Why predators?”

“Well, I guess everybody loves a carnivore!” Perspiration was beginning to to seep through John’s shirt darkening under his armpits. Behind him one of the robots crouched and began to creep towards the glass. Everyone was looking passed John who had his back to the glass. With a sudden movement it leapt making a clatter of bones against the glass.

“Jesus Christ!” said John clutching at his identity tag. He grabbed his walkie-talkie from his belt and pressed the call button.

“Hello? Hello? This is Section 5. We have a Code Red. I repeat. This is Section 5. We have a Code Red!” John was shouting into the device as the lights went out behind him.

Feeling brave? Want to share your story? In the words of one Disney princess, Let it go, in the comments below.