“Mister! Mister!” the little boy ran up to the zoo keeper. “One of your animals has escaped!”
The zoo keeper feigned a look of alarm. He had seen the way the boy had come running.
“It’s true!” the boy was exasperated. “That cage over there. The door’s open. It’s got out!”
The zoo keeper strolled over to the cage in question, glancing over his shoulder to check the boy was following.
“Ah, now, this you see is a rare and precious specimen. If you peer very closely you can see where he’s making an indentation in the sand. Look!”
The boy leaned towards the rusting bars and squinted. He couldn’t see anything.
“What is it?” he asked.
“This is a one-of-a-kind. You won’t find one of these in any other zoo or safari park. I doubt you’d see one in the wild. This is the lesser-spotted, light-refracting demon. It’s a primate,” he added for good measure.
The boy was unconvinced. “I can’t see it. There’s nothing in there.”
“Make your mind up,” the keeper chuckled. “First you say it’s escaped and now you say you can’t see it. Which part of light-refracting don’t you understand?”
“Um, all of it.”
“He’s…” the keeper’s eyes flitted from side to side and he lowered his voice, “invisible!”
The boy pouted. Now he knew the man was having him on. He was about to tell the keeper what he thought of him when the man suddenly straightened and turned pale.
“Hang about – this door shouldn’t be unlocked.”
“Knock it off,” said the boy. “I know you’re just joking around.”
“No, really,” the keeper was sweating. “If that thing ever gets out…”
“You really are pathetic,” said the boy, “I’m telling my mum.”
But before he could move away, the boy saw the keeper lifted several feet in the air as though by invisible hands. The man struggled and screamed until his head jerked sharply sideways and his neck snapped. The keeper’s limbs were torn off and thrown in all directions.
The boy squealed. An invisible hand, hot and leathery clamped over his mouth. Foetid breath hit him in the face. A gravelly voice rumbled.
“You had to go and tell him about the door, didn’t you?”