- This is a 'prequel to Do Not Feed The Animals. These two stories are written by separate authors, this one being by myself, Do Not Feed The Animals being a story I found on here. They can be read in whichever order you choose. Do Not Feed The Animals was written first, but chronologically, this story comes before it.' When you want to read Do Not Feed The Animals, it can be found here.
"I don't know what it is about you, Ralph; the animals just don't seem to like you." Dr. Rucker observed, disinfecting the scratches on his forearms.
"Damn coyotes think they're so tough. Filthy rodents." Ralph mumbled, looking at the tile floor.
"Canines." Rucker corrected.
"Coyotes are canines. They're in the same family as dogs."
"Like I givuh damn what those mangy little..." Ralph trailed off under his breath. The doctor, hurt by Ralph's unpleasant temperament, continued cleaning the claw marks on his forearms in silence. He didn't want to upset him further; Ralph was a large man, and quick to anger. As Rucker walked across the small treatment room to find bandages, Ralph looked down at his forearms, a faint, rare smile appearing on his face. "Wuddid they say happened to the flea-covered mutts anyways?" He asked as Rucker returned.
"They were hardly mutts; those coyotes were pure-bred. They were truly beautiful creatures." Rucker stated, dressing the wound, but first taking a second to look at the multitude of scars on his forearms, most in the shape of scratches, while some resembled bite marks. "They're dead, anyway. You should know that, after the, um..." Rucker trailed off momentarily, picturing the crushed mounds of fur and blood that the staff and patrons of the Fairview Zoo witnessed just minutes ago. His focus returning, Rucker finished "well, the incident."
Another smile from Ralph.
As Rucker pretended not to notice his expression, Ralph scratched his beard; he had a quite impressive one for a 20 year old.
"I can't imagine such a small animal attacking. Coyotes don't typically attack humans, especially one of your size." Rucker thought out loud he finished bandaging Ralph's arm.
"Thur filthy animals, and they can't be trusted." Ralph snarled, pulling his arm away from the doctor, and turning to leave the room.
"Take care, Ralph; I really don't need to see you in here a third time this week. You're really stretching my budget here." Rucker said as Ralph moved to leave.
"Maybe the staff here should take better care of their goddamned animals. If they spent a damned minute training em, maybe they wouldn't be so aggressive." Ralph stated bitterly over his shoulder, slamming the door behind him. As he left the small medical building, Ralph examined his surroundings. The Fairview Zoo wasn't very busy for such a nice afternoon, but this just made Ralph smile again. He knew it was because of the events earlier. As couples and their kids walked by, many stared, first at the bandages on his forearm, then at him. Ralph returned their stares, and onlookers all quickly averted their gaze and quickened their pace.
"Mr. Ultio, there you are!" Joseph Bauer exclaimed, addressing Ralph. Ralph sighed, and turned to face his boss. He was the only one who ever addressed Ralph by his last name. He made a point of showing disapproval whenever his last name was used, but Mr. Bauer never seemed to notice.
"I heard you had another incident with some of our animals." Joseph stated, his smile never leaving his face as he spoke; it rarely did. "It was the coyotes this time, if I'm not mistaken."
"Little bastards attacked me." Ralph muttered, looking first at Joseph's comb over, then the ground.
"Good to see you came out of it okay. I'm glad to see Dr. Rucker finally earning his wage!" Joseph laughed at his own joke, oblivious to the glare he was receiving from Ralph. "How many times have you been in his care now?"
"Lost count." Ralph mumbled, picking at his bandages.
Joseph grinned. "And still going strong, huh? I'm glad I hired someone as tough as you. Ah, Ms. Rose! How nice of you to join us!" He exclaimed, addressing the senior caretaker for the zoo as she approached them. "We were just discussing the incident. What do you have to report?"
"All five of the coyotes are dead, sir." She stated to Mr. Bauer, ignoring Ralph's presence. "There wasn't anything we could do; they had all been murdered before we got there." She added, coldly emphasizing the word "murdered."
"It was self-defense." Ralph stated, his temper beginning to show.
"Coyotes rarely attack humans, sir, and when they do, the targets are small children." Ms. Rose stated, still not acknowledging Ralph. "An attack on a large male is very unlikely, unless the coyotes were being threatened."
"Wudya trying to say! Are you accusing me of something?" Ralph shouted, catching the attention of zoo patrons as they passed by.
"All I'm trying to say," the caretaker coldly stated, slowly turning to face the aggravated man. "Is that our coyotes, who we've never had a problem with, attacking you for no apparent reason is incredibly unlikely.
"Well maybe if ya would do your fucking job and train tha bloody mutts, this wouldn't happen!" Ralph yelled, scaring the patrons and even the nearby animals.
"Now, now," Mr. Bauer intervened. "There's no need to be hostile here. Coyotes hunt in packs, after all, don't they, Ms. Rose?"
Caught off guard by the question, she stuttered "Well.. well, yes, but sir, five coyotes is hardly-"
"Yes indeed, they do." Joseph continued, as if he had only briefly paused in his statement. "They're pack animals, and they feel safe in numbers. Mr. Ultio here was just out-numbered. When our new coyotes arrive, I'll be sure to always send caretakers in groups, to avoid this incident repeating itself. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go finish ordering our new coyotes. Good thing all our animals are insured!" Mr. Bauer strolled off, laughing at his own joke. Ms. Rose watched him walk off, sighing, then turned to face Ralph.
"I've lost track of how many animals I've lost to you, Mr. Ultio." She stated. "It's always the same story; you're attacked when you're by yourself, feeding the animals, and kill the creature in what you call 'self-defense.'"
"Well, Susan," Ralph started, spitting out her name as if it were poison. "Maybe your animals are a little too goddamned aggressive. Who's fault is that, huh?"
"Coyotes don't attack humans. There could have been twice as many, and they would've chosen to cower before starting conflict. It would've taken a direct threat to their well-being for them to attack."
"And furthermore" she continued, cutting Ralph off. "You could have easily escaped or subdued the coyotes without killing them. Some of them show far more injuries than it would take to kill them, meaning that they were probably assaulted even after they were dead. Almost as if someone other than the coyotes was really the more aggressive party in this conflict." Susan stated, reaching for something under her uniform.
"What are you tryin ta say, ya cunt?" Ralph started, shaking and turning red. "Are ya sayin that next time, I should just let the bastards kill me? Is that what you want, you tree-hugging bitch?"
Finding what she was looking for, she pulled out a length of string tied around her neck that had been concealed by her uniform. On the string was a wooden figure. The figure resembled a wolf or hyena, though there was something different about it. It's anatomy almost resembled some kind of ape, or even a human. Looking down at the figure briefly, she then returned her gaze to Ralph, and said calmly "I'm saying that I don't believe your story, Ralph. Or, at the very least, I feel like you left certain parts out." As Ralph turned a deeper shade of red, and prepared a response, Ms. Rose calmly walked away, leaving Ralph to his frustration.
"Fuckin cunt," Ralph said to himself as he fed the bears their dry food mix, taking a large bite out of an apple. The caretakers are supposed to mix fruit in with the bear's feed, but Ralph always instead chose to eat it in front of them. Although he hoped to aggravate them, the bears, having grown lazy in captivity, and always being fed well enough regardless, rarely paid him the attention he expected. Though he would normally feign courtesy towards the animals during the day, it was after hours at the zoo, and, with no audience present, he enjoyed toying with the animals. He was, however, disappointed by their lack of reaction. Finishing the apple, he stared at the only bear in the exhibit that was paying any attention to him, a grizzly cub.
"What are ya lookin at, ya runt?" Ralph yelled, throwing the apple core at the bear, hitting it on the snout. The cub flinched at the impact. The mother, however, did not.
"And what do you think you're doin, ya bitch?" Ralph grinned as the mother approached him, growling, aggravated at the threat to her cub. Drawing a knife from his pocket, Ralph didn't even flinch as the mother bear walked closer. "Comon, ya furry sack of shit. I jus need one scratch, and then I can tell e'ryone how you attacked me, and I had ta defend myself. Comon, you whore!" He yelled, the mother standing on its hind legs as it got within striking distance of him. As it raised its paws, Ralph's excitement was raised with them, until, to his surprise, the bear, instead of swiping at him, brought its paws down, knocking him to the ground, and pinning his shoulders against the concrete.
"What tha hell do ya think you're doin!" Ralph exclaimed, as he heard a laugh. Turning his head, he saw Susan Rose, the senior caretaker. As Ralph struggled, she continued to laugh and walk until she was standing next to the mother bear.
"How's that for training my animals, Mr. Ultio?" She said calmly, as Ralph struggled against the weight holding him down, the bear calmly holding him.
"What tha hell is goin on, ya cunt? Make this giant pile of fleas let me go!" Ralph yelled.
"As you wish." She turned to the bear, and, without a word from Susan, the bear took its weight off of Ralph and returned to the other bears in the exhibit. As Ralph scrambled to his feet, he stared at Susan.
"What tha hell is goin on!" Ralph repeated, enraged.
"I know what you've been doing, Ralph." Susan said calmly, smiling. "Aggravating the animals, waiting for them to leave some sign of injury, then torturing them. You're a sick, sick individual, and you're done hurting this planet's creatures."
"Ya think you can tell me what to do, you hippie bitch? Fuck off!" Ralph yelled, throwing a punch at Susan. As his fist made contact with her skull, he knew for sure she was unconscious. He had knocked out full grown men with weaker blows, and knew Susan had no chance. As he smiled, he realized his fist was still in contact with something. He looked, only to see Susan, still standing firmly, smiling.
"You know Ralph, this planet has ways to defend itself." She said, her smile growing larger, and her voice deeper. "Mother Nature is always ready to smite those who hurt her; she only waits for the first blow." Her smile grew wider and wider, and her teeth sharper. She seemed to loom over Ralph.
"What're ya doin!" Ralph yelled, scared, and incapable of looking away.
"I'm showing you what you've been doing Ralph." Susan said, her voice becoming less and less human, as her teeth turned to fangs, and her face elongated, her body growing larger and larger. "I'm showing you the pain you've put these creatures through!" She yelled as she sprouted fur, and her head continued to transform, now resembling that of a coyote or hyena. She was now the size of a large gorilla, her human form entirely absent, and she walked closer and closer to Ralph, as Ralph pressed closer and closer to the wall.
"What do you want from me! What are you!" Ralph yelled, tears beginning to show on his face.
"What do I want from you? What do I want? I want you to scream, Ralph!" She yelled, as she slammed him against the wall with her hand, taking away his breath. "I want every one of you creatures who've hurt this planet to suffer!" She gleefully announced, biting into his leg, removing his knee and everything below it with one closing of her jaws. Ralph's screams filled the air, but its audience was unsympathetic. Not only were the bears all attentively watching, birds and mice were surrounding the scene, gathering to watch as Ralph suffered.
"Why'd you have to hit me, Ralph?" Susan taunted, throwing him to the ground, and pressing her weight upon him until he was sure he would be flattened against the concrete, his organs spilling out. "We can never strike first, Ralph. We must always wait until you assault us. With brutes like you, it's just too easy!" She declared, putting a claw through his chest, and slowly, slowly pulling it down, cutting his flesh. "You're going to suffer Ralph. This is only the beginning. After you've suffered enough, you'll be given a chance. You'll become one of us, and you'll be given a chance to redeem yourself. A chance I'm sure you'll fuck up." She said, as her claw ended at his groin, having cut open the entire length of his chest and abdominal cavity. He continued to scream, as the animals continued to silently observe. "Most of us use our chance to get revenge on those who really deserve it. People like you, Ralph. But you won't. You'll just come out of this angrier than ever, looking for a fight. You see, once we've served Mother Nature, we're free. We're free to roam the planet as we please. But you, Ralph? You'll just use your chance to keep doing exactly what you've been doing; picking fights. And you'll never be free Ralph. You'll never stop being one of us. The more you stray, the more it hurts, Ralph. The more you upset Mother Nature, the more she'll smite you. And you'll never stop, will you?" She may as well have been asking the wall; Ralph had dissolved into a crying, bleeding mass. The animals moved in closer and closer, forming a ring around him. "But first Ralph, you have to suffer. First, Ralph, you have to truly know what suffering is. You have no idea, Ralph." She said, as she walked away. Without warning, the animals sprung upon him, the rodents climbing into his now open chest cavity and chewing his organs, the birds pecking and scratching at his eyes and groin, the bears crushing him.
Ralph woke in a state of panic, in a cage, surrounded by people. As one entered the cage, Ralph yelled "What the hell do you think you're doing?" and swung at the person, a thin young man. As Ralph struck him, the person smiled. He pointed to the back wall of his cage, showing Ralph writing he hadn't yet seen. Written on the wall was this:
1) Animals may not leave their habitat.
2) Animals who harm visitors or staff will be punished
3) DO NOT under ANY circumstances feed the animals.
The young man continued to smile, as he grew, his face elongating, his teeth growing sharper.