The Destroyed Zoo

February 28, 2008
By Klayton McDaniel, South Plainfield, NJ

It was bright, early morning on the Saturday of early June. The city of Fort Lauderdale was in complete shock and sorrow as their beloved zoo, which once housed magnificent animals from the black zebras to the purple flamingos was obliterated by the pouring rain, the flash floods, the electricity of the yellow-colored lightning bolts, and the gusty winds, all accompanied by the loud booming of thunder. Yesterday proved to be one of the worst disasters for Fort Lauderdale’s history, and how the day came to be remains in the minds of the many survivors who witnessed the horror of it all.
The lone female antelope named Namie, a member of the Thomson's Gazelle species, watched as several males, also known as bucks, grazed the green grass peacefully. It was a nice, warm Friday evening in early June, and the animals were enjoying themselves in the warm weather, with people coming to the zoo to see the animals that grazed. Of course, the animals have chattered along each other, while the people could not hear them speak at all, but only grunts, whines, and growls. Namie looked over her pen to see her neighbors, the tall, grazing giraffes that ate the fresh, green leaves from the tall trees. Namie then went over to the westernmost corner to tend to her only young child, a female fawn.
“There, there, young one. You’ll be all right,” Namie said to her fawn as she feed her some milk. The bucks, however, didn’t notice much, for they did not care about the fawn at all.
“Please, a baby in our pen?” Scoffed one of the bucks to his other friends, “We might as well have younger siblings. Fwa ha ha!”
The other bucks joined in the laughing, though Namie did not care as she continued to care to her fawn. As the warm evening became warmer, a few storm clouds started to form up. The zookeepers noticed this, but they merely shrugged it off and continued allowing people to come into the zoo. As the animals continued their usual business, and as Namie continued to feed her fawn milk, a loud boom of thunder was heard. The bright red-and-orange sunset in the northern direction was soon replaced by dark storm clouds and it then started to pour a little. The people weren’t bothered by this, however, and they all purchased umbrellas to protect themselves from getting wet. The animals didn’t mind this at all. Most of them were waiting for the rain to come.
Namie looked up, and she then glanced at one of the male bucks nearby. She called out, “Hey! The rain is starting to pour. Do you think you can get one of the others to watch my baby for me?”
One of the teenaged bucks shook his head. “I’m sorry, but no one wants to look after her. I guess you will just have to leave her here until you get back.” With that said, he walked over back to the other male bucks, who gathered around the watering hole to drink up the rain that fell into the watering hole.
Namie sighed, and she got up. Taking a few moments to look at her fawn, she hoped for the best as she walked over to the watering hole, to drink the water along with the rest of her fellow male bucks. As the rain started to come down more, a little gust of wind started to build up from the northwest, signaling a terrifying storm. The people started to become worried, as did the zookeepers, who started to open up the storm centers in the zoo and urged the people to go there in case the weather would become much worse, closing all of the entrance and exit gates around the zoo. The animals all got together and watched as the wind helped the rain come down faster.
Minutes continue to go by, and as the rain kept falling, thunder booms loudly. The wind started to pick up, and the temperature becomes cooler. The people all screamed and started to run all over the zoo, while the animals acted as if they would during a thunderstorm. Namie looked up and gasped, to see white, blue-colored lightning bolts lighting up the dark, looming thunderclouds. She then looks down to see her fawn whimpering in the corner, frightened by the thunder’s boom and the lightning’s crack. Namie ran over to her child, and crouched down, protecting her from being zapped by lightning. As another lightning bolt electrified the sky, the people all headed into the storm shelters, each of them reaching its maximum capacity. The animals all went into their dens to hide safely.
The bucks, however, continued drinking at the watering hole despite the booming thunder, the cracking lightning, and the gusty wind. Namie, however, decides to jump out of her pen into her neighboring giraffe pen, pushing her fawn over first and then following herself. The giraffes looked at the mother and daughter antelopes with confusion, but they then looked up to see a lightning bolt zapping the electrical fence, causing it to explode. The giraffes told the female Antelopes to join them in their den, to which the mother obliged.
“Stay in here, young one,” Namie said to her fawn as she stepped out of the den and looked at her own pen, to see the male bucks still in their place. “I have to get the others out to safety.” She galloped over the green grass and jumped over the two-foot tall brick wall separating the two pens, landing back on her own side as she ran over to the male bucks and tried to move them. “Come on! You have to get away from here! The storm will kill you!”
The male bucks, however, were confident enough to stay, and they pushed away Namie. She had a look of worry on her face, and she looked up to hear the thunder booming right over her pen. She called out to the male bucks, “Please! I’m begging you. You all can’t stay here! It’s-”
BAM!!! The leading, elder buck kicked Namie in the chest, knocking her down onto the smooth, green grass. Glaring at her, the male bucks turned around and resumed drinking. Slowly getting up in pain, Namie’s eyes were filled with tears of sorrow, and, giving up on convincing her fellow antelopes, she ran over the wall and rejoined her fawn and the giraffes in the giraffes’ den, watching the wind picking up in strength as it caused several of the trees and the lampposts around the zoo to fall and break, while the lightning finished it with a powerful, electrical zap, causing it to burst in a fiery explosion. As the giraffes, Namie and her fawn watched the storm wreak havoc throughout the zoo, they all watched in horror as a lightning bolt cackled toward the watering pool the male bucks were drinking from, and then…
After a powerful electricity zap, the bucks were no more. The female Antelope closed her eyes and made her young fawn look away after witnessing the death of their kind. As the storm continued, a few zookeepers suddenly exited out of the nearest storm shelter, and brought out a weird machine, by which they dubbed the “Storm Distraction.” They aimed it up toward the sky, and turned on the power, watching red electricity running through the antennas of the machine. The blue-colored lightning bolt from the sky then was attracted to the red electricity, and it zapped the red electricity, causing both to clash with each other. All of the people within the shelters, and all of the animals hiding safely in their dens, including Namie and her fawn, watched as after several long and terrifying minutes, the blue lightning bested and was sent back into the storm cloud by the red electricity, although the storm did make a comeback by completely destroying everything in its path, and then started moving off into the west.
Soon, long after the storm has passed, the animals who managed to survive climb out of their shelter, and walk over to their fellow kin who have been killed by the storm. As the people come out and gather to see the animals, Namie looks at her fawn, and lets out a sigh of relief that she and her child has managed to survive the storm that has destroyed their home, and the Fort Lauderdale Zoo.

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