Over the next few weeks I’ll be including a few excerpts from my as yet unpublished novel The People of Brandwell Zoo, which features a host of assorted Animals who live in a zoo and work together to plan how they can escape. The perspective frequently switches from that of the Animals to that of the humans; when it’s from the Animals’ perspective, all Animal names and the word ‘Animal’ itself are deliberately spelt with capital letters. All text copyright Quinn Sermon 2013. Here’s the first excerpt:
Even though the young Chimpanzee didn’t understand all of the humans’ language, he knew that the little girl had called him a Monkey several times, and he saw that as a gross insult to the most intelligent of all the Great Apes.
Even above the squabbling of his cousins Panto and Panja, who were chasing each other up the ropes as usual, he had heard the captor calling him by the disgusting human name that had been enforced upon him at the age of three months: Dandy. If it hadn’t been for the glass …
He felt his aunt Prima’s warm hand on his shoulder, and met it with his own hand.
‘I’m alright,’ he said quietly. ‘The ones that shout like that are so annoying …’
‘I know,’ said Prima, ‘but if this plan of yours works, it’ll all be over soon. Are we going out tonight?’
‘Yes,’ said Regulus. ‘The new lazy one will be on night guard duty; it won’t give us any trouble. The key and torch are hidden in my nest, and Vulsutus will be arriving with the metal once the humans are gone.’
Regulus stood up, turned away from the blank-faced, staring humans and looked round at the surviving members of his family: twins Panto and Panja were now scuffling about on the floor, shrieking at each other over a piece of mango; his aging father Homino, leader of the troop, was sitting in his nest of leaves, fishing assorted fruits out of a blue plastic container; his sister Simi, the youngest and smallest member of the troop, was curled up on her own in a net of woven material near the ceiling.
‘Yes, Auntie Prima,’ said Regulus, ‘we are getting out tonight. Every unfortunate Animal Being incarcerated in this Nature-defying place will soon be free. The liberation of all Animals shall be brought about by the superior intelligence of the Chimpanzee.’