Dangling upside down from the branch of a sprawling dorblen tree, the zookeeper suspected he looked like unusual and potentially tasty fruit to the grullub prowling in the rocky pen.

Their triad eyes glowed greenish-yellow in the Castori moonlight as they moved toward him, peering up and licking their chops. One snarled, baring its fangs. Adrikan was pretty sure that was the one he had named Veldi.

“Not to eat,” Adrikan warbled, waggling a stubby furred finger at the animals.

He now wished that he had listened to Bolbikan’s warning that he should use a rope and harness in addition to the antigrav slate during the zoo inspection. He was grateful the zoo was closed, though. Not much worse then having a cluster of younglings on a field trip traumatized for life seeing the animals gnawing on the innards of a zookeeper.

The rope smacked him in the side of the snout.

“Told you,” Bolbikan muttered from a higher branch, holding the rope for his colleague.

Perhaps that last nibby biscuit had been a bad idea. The branch cracked beneath Bolbikan’s boots and dropped him so that his crotch crashed against the limb holding Adrikan. His eyes went wide. He made muffled whimpering noises. The rope fell and draped over the back of the closest grullub.

“Good thing they can’t climb,” Adrikan said.

By Brody

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