At The Zoo

For ankewehner‘s prompt

Yngvi (Vi), Aelgifu (Ayla) and Ioanna (Io) are characters in Addergoole

Summer between Years Six and Seven.

The zoo had seemed like a good idea for the three of them. Io’s oldest, Cecily, was just old enough to enjoy it, and Cecily was young enough to enjoy the stroller ride. It seemed safe, normal – a human thing to do.

They needed more human things to do; after another year underground, they needed to remember how to act normal. Io had been on a campaign of normalcy since they left for the summer, but after that incident at the beach, she thought maybe a smaller group of humanity might be safer. (For the humans, at least. Who knew Yngvi could punch that hard?)

And here they were, standing in front of the antelopes, Vi staring down the biggest bull. Even though they were all Masked, even though Vi’s face was human under the Mask, Io swore she could see his nostrils widening.

And then Ayla punched him in the arm. “Vi, it’s an animal. It’s an antelope.

Ynvgi blushed, and dropped his head. Picturing his horns – long, curling horns, much like smaller versions of the Kudu antelope in front of them – Io thought they must almost be scraping the fence. “Sorry. I don’t know what got into me.”

“You don’t see me snorting at them.”

Yngvi frowned, looking distinctly uncomfortable. “I don’t know. Maybe if we met any jackalopes…”

Io snorted at the two of them. “Face if, Vi, every once in a while you act like a male. Even if you’re acting like a male bovid.”

“Wonderful. Now I’m a cow.” Vi rolled his eyes in molodramatic disdain. “Fine, let’s go on to the big cats. That shouldn’t cause a problem for any of us.”

Io squirmed, remembering the last time she encountered a mountain lion. “Ah, about that…”

Next time they were going to something safe. Like a cave.

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