A.J. Walker


April 2023

Exhibit E.H.

Exhibit E.H.

Aldiss always struggled with zoos. They pulled him in to quench his constant curiosity, whilst pushing him away with the multitudes held outside of their habitats. He’d seen so many now that he was almost numb to their many shades of negativity. But here he was on Bastion Alpha 5 visiting another one. Hopefully his last. The data leak passed on to him via his contact on the Millennium Earth Station 2.0 looked promising. If it was credible then the lead was his best for decades. He’d been drenched in hope in the early years of his quest, but he tried not to have it these days. He always wanted to just be as methodical and unfeeling as he could.

The two suns over the planet were warming but never too hot at this time of year. The red one was low in the sky barely casting a shadow as its light was drowned out by the yellow star. He flicked side of his glasses to increase the polarisation before getting off the train beside the zoo. It was quiet at opening time, but it would be busy in the coming hours when the holiday makers had risen. He’d skipped breakfast: today it was all about the zoo. Getting it done quickly and methodically.

He followed the path to the enclosures. His heart began to race. The telltale sign of hope afflicting him. It angered him. But as he approached the enclosure he could not control it. Minutes later he’d fainted and was taken in hand by a robot medic. The excitement had run roughshod over his own medical controls. His blood pressure spiking both up and down sending him crashing against the window to the enclosure. His mother, who was among the exhibits of “
Earth Humans”, didn’t even notice.

This is an amended story after I misread in my rush to get a story down for Microcosms 185 'zoo' instead of 'zookeeper.' Thought I'd got a story done which I quite liked, so why not finish it off and give it a home on here? Without the maximum 300 word limit I could tweak it a little too.


Microcosms 184

Danny breathed in the salty air with rare relish. It had been years since he’d been on a beach; even longer since he’d been on one on Earth. It felt special to be back home.
He settled on the damp sand cross-legged facing the sea. The sand was ideal for his purpose and he set to his task with a happy heart, feeling like a kid. He took his time building it as well as he could. It was the finest sand castle he had ever made. From his back pack he brought out a little flag with a dragon on it.
Out of his bag he retrieved the box with his prized ray gun that his old buddies from his space jaunt had gifted to him. He’d not used it before and the castle was to be his first trial. Something inanimate and inoffensive. At this point he wished there had been a user manual or there’d been some training. His dad had always said, ‘You can’t beat learning on the job.’
He turned the dial around a bit, with no idea what the settings meant. Stepping back a good 100 metres seemed wise. He aimed at the castle and pressed the trigger. It took a while but eventually his castle stood before him as tall as a real one. It was a stunning success: briefly. Then the croak of the giant frog shook its walls. Eventually Danny realised it hadn’t been a coincidence; there must have been a frog in the field of the gun. A beach frog! Who knew?
Over the next few days the sand castle was taken away by the sea. Perhaps of more import locals disappeared, like Danny, as the crab eating frog decided at his size he’d need something more substantial for dinner.

300 words - March '23