*** Chapter 4 Part 6
Panda swung her Sequoia into place beside Dell’s Porsche Cayenne, grabbing her binoculars and thumbing the safety off the Glock. Dell was sitting inside her vehicle but hopped out when she saw Panda pull in. Before she would allow them to walk through the zoo, Panda used the binoculars to spot for any animal movement. The zoo seemed truly abandoned.
She imagined that the grazing animals would have headed straight out into Land Park and the predators would have followed their scent. But she wanted to make sure before she strolled blithely into the path of a charging lion. Humans are not exactly fast nor are they armored. To a big cat, a human was a slow moving morsel in a tough cloth wrapping; the head a succulent bon bon in a crispy crunchy shell. The gun was really a very slim protection against stealth and speed.
Together they walked the zoo paths surveying the open and abandoned cages and habitats. Dell had a feeling that the zoo had been emptied for at least a couple of days. She thought this because the primates would not have been in a hurry to rush out the door and be on their way. Like humans, they would have clung to the comfort and safety of their own home turf. She was in fact surprised not to see the orangutan still chilling in its tree.
“You know this means there is somebody else alive!” said Dell. “We are not alone!”
“Indeed! But what kind of somebody? Is it friend or foe? I mean, this could be one of those Earth Prime types that burns down buildings and enjoys a vision of the world free of any single sign of mankind.”
“In which case most of their life’s work is done.” said Dell. “Wonder if they feel happy about it?”
“I guess we will find out if they start burning down large swathes of the city,” sighed Panda. She really needed to think about what it meant to have proof of another survivor. She knew all along they would not be the only ones. But now she was looking at the reality of least one other. And if one, why not several or many? Should she try and seek them out or let them go their own way? Would the remaining survivors band together perhaps in order to form a community? They probably should…and yet Panda had read one too many dystopian novels in which women were herded up and kept as breeding stock and kitchen drudges by creepy religious fanatics like in The Gate To Women’s Country by Sherri Tepper, one of her all time favorite books. Perhaps she and Dell should try to keep their existence a secret until they knew more. They had not exactly been ‘low profile’ up to now.
Suddenly Dell let out a little scream and ran towards the chimpanzee habitat.
“What is it?” said Panda, catching a bit of Dell’s fear.
“Look! All the chimpanzee’s are dead! It looks like they’ve been slaughtered!”
Panda looked into the large chimp habitat and saw a half dozen chimp bodies strewn about. Blood and flies were everywhere. With just a quick look she thought she understood what had happened here. “Not slaughtered so much as executed:
They've all had a bullet put through their heads.”