My novel Age of The Beasts – The Lost CIties is set to be published by Mountain Springs Publishing soon.
THought I would share with you the most original version of that tale I wrote for a creative writing class in 1983, entitled: Animal Kingdom.
(my first version of the story written in 1984 at Vincennes University, with editing notes from creative writing teacher in brackets .)
The Animal Kingdom
Everybody had considered the first nuclear war a farce.
Nothing had happened that was supposed to happen; sure several cities were obliterated and the weather was acting strange, but aside from that nothing drastic had happened.
After the supposed failure of the first nuclear war, the nations resorted to conventional warfare.
Scientists were busy trying to discover what had gone wrong, or right.
His name was Alex; he was a black panther owned by a 22 year old blonde woman named Joyce Smith. She was a lovely human and he really liked her.
He knew something had happened which no human had expected; Alex felt different, he was larger; he stood on his hind legs, and most seriously of all – he was thinking.
Alex let out a roar.
Joyce came to the livingroom to check on her pet. Alex spotted her first; the girl wore a pretty, white, night garment.
“Alex?” Joyce called out.
What would she do when she saw him? Alex wondered.
She saw him and stared at him a moment. A gulp slowly slid down her throat. Joyce felt too scared to do anything.
Alex stood, paws at his sides like hands, larger than her.
Alex wanted to tell Joyce not to worry, but only a growl escaped his mouth, and it made her shrink back even more. As he looked at her another emotin came, desire. His mistress was very afraid of him.
Mistress? Did the word apply anymore? True, she had bought him, but now he had the power, he and she both knew he was now the master.
Alex moved close to Joyce and licked her face.
Joyce didn’t know what to do. She could resist any human attacker, but Alex was a beast, more powerful than any human.
[need more description of his change and threat to her]
As he stroked her hair he observed her fear. He had an odd sensation of curiosity and power. [good].
A gigantic earthquake had destroyed half of California and ruined the Midwest. Scientists had assured people these disasters were natural in origin. Not divine retribution as some suggested.
At various zoos across the country, people were caputed and caged by mutant animals.
Two men and a girl were on a hunting expedition. Carl and Zach Ryan, with them Zack’s teen daughter Ruby.
“Why’d you bring her along?” Carl asked.
“She wanted to come,” Zack answered.
A crashing noise sounded behind them.
“What’s that?” Ruby asked excitedly.
“Prob’ly a great big ol grizzly,” Carl joked.
He stopped laughing when the big bear stepped into the clearing, followed by another. Fear ran through the humans like wildfire.
Ruby ran, one of the bears chased after her.
Carl aimed his shotgun and fired, missed. The bear was on him.
A third bear attacked Zack.
Ruby ran and ran, she heard the bear beast chasing her. The girl tripped and fell into a ravine twisting her ankle. [a little trite.]
The bear beasts looked down at her. They seemed to be talking.
Ruby was secured to a tree as the bears roasted and ate her relatives. She cried and wondered what they had planned for her.
Two children were walking down a city sidewalk when a net fell on them from the sky. A mutant hawk swooped down and carried them away. [good].
The military had been destroyed in the wars along with the majority of the human population. [contradicts opening paragraph] Thus little resistance was given when the animals took over.
Now, human scientists worked with animal leaders to research what had happened.
[did the animals become logical/intellectual with the mutation?]
A mutant lion, Kochek, had placed himself in charge of this animal world. He helped bring order and diffuse chaos.
Dr. Joseph Bathe smoked a cigar and delivered his report to Kochek. Bathe was a human.
“Smoking dangerous,” pointed out a mutated German Shepherd, Joe.
“I’m dying anyway,” Bathe said.
Joe’s eyes widened in surprise.
Bathe continued, “Many humans are dying from radiation poisoning, so named, because that’s what we think it is.”
Bathe explained that somehow, overnight it seemed the beasts had changed and become aware. And that their children would be like them, though it appeared any member of their species which did not mutate would die.
“What beasts were mutated?” Kocheck asked.
“Canines, felines, bears,” Bathe said. “Many birds.” He shook his head.
“Will the human race survive?” Kochek asked.
Bathe shook his head. “That’s up to you, I guess. We are not the only place, sporadic reports indicate the same things happening all over the world.”
Felix nodded his head. “We must get our new world organized.”
Kochek turned to a hawk creature, “You princes of the air, I would like you to act as our messengers if such would be agreeable?”
“Of course,” The hawk replied.
Kochek watched a pretty human female pass by, then asked, “Out of curiosity, what would happen if a member of your species were to interact sexually with a member of our species?”
Bathe thought a moment, “Logically, nothing. Now, though, I have no idea.”
Joe spoke up, “Kochek, I have a report of a female human impregnated by a male black panther.”
“Thank you,” Kochek responded. “I will send you and Dr. Bathe to study these two.”
Bathe wondered what place, if any, humans would have in this new world.
Kochek pondered the same question. Annihilating the humans would be a grave mistake. Perhaps pets, slaves, food? no, radiation poisoning ruled out that option, just as something in his gut warned him against annihilating them.
Though logical, peaceful cohabitation would eventually fail.
Kochek’s matre, Myla went over to nhim. He put his arms around her, his lioness was pregnant.
Bathe walked down the hall with his canine companion. His wife Kathy was in the hospital, their son had died in the war, their daughter Tracy had been studying at school. Joe, the canines, mate waited at Bathe’s with a litter of quickly growing pups.
Humans gathered to have some fun. Truck engines sounded, mutant tigers with nets descended on the frightened humans. The captives were loaded onto trucks and taken to the training center.
Manhatten was submerged, flood waters rolled across England, contact with much of the outside world faded away.
Mutated lizards prowled deserts and bats terrorized Mexico and Central America.
Debby Greenwell was 17. She sat at her desk and flipped through an old Geometry book. A door oened and closed behind her, Kochek the lion entered her room.
“You are a nurse?” Kochek asked.
“Yes, in vetrinarian sciences,” She replied.
“You will come to my den and help my Myra,” Kochek said.
Debbie rose. His paw touched her, and stroked her clothed body. “Kochek, please,” she whispered.
He took hold of her arm and led her to his den/
Becky James played a game of tennis with her cats, Barb and Tab.
“You guys are good,” Becky said.
Barb hissed, “Thank you.”
She was good friends with the cats, hard to think of them as pets anymore.
the thief who had killed their father was in turn executed by a tiger soldier. Now, Tom and Angie Reiger returned from dad’s funeral. The brother and sister were sad and a bit afraid.
“Scotch?” Tom asked.
Angie shook her head, “No thanks.”
“Wish we still had weapons,” Tomk said.
“They have all been confiscated by authorities, except for those owned by criminals.” Angie said, shook her head. “The bad guys have the guns.”
Tom shook his head, “I’m gonna go see Becky,” his girl Becky James.
A sour look crossed Angie’s face, “Have fun with her and her two mangy cats.”
Tom left the house. Angie poured herslf a drink.
When Tom arrived at Becky’s, Barb opened the door. He entered, some kittens played on the floor, like human children.
Becky and Tom hugged and kissed. “Sorry about your dad,” Becky said.
“Nice looking couple,” Barb observed.
Tab nodded his head, a male kitten ran up and Tab patted the child on its head.
Joseph and Joe arrived at the medical complex where Joyce and Alex were being housed. She lay on a bed unconscious, ready to deliver the cubs.
A dr. said she seemed to be carrying twins, and had decided to call them Romulus and Remus.
Alex rubbed Joyce’s head.
It didn’t seem possible everyone agreed. No one could understand what was happening.
Soon, Joyce delivered her healthy male feline twins.
On return, Dr. Bathe learned his wife had died.
Both her parents dead of the radiation poisoning, left Tracy Bathe alone with the growing pups from Joe’s litter with his mate. Young Canus watched her as she emerged from the shower.
“Oh,” sher noticed him, towel wrapped around her.
Canus growled, pulled the towel away and mastered her.
The great lakes had become one massive sea.
Years passed, Kelly Davis grew from 10 to 16 under rule of the beasts. Rex was alpha male of the household. Her parents, Alan and Ruth did not trust the dog, but he was their protector.
Kelly did not much care for the ID coller about her neck either. Rex said it was for her own protection.
One night Rex punished Kelly with a belt whipping for being out too late. Alan protested, Rex growled at him.
A party where Rex held for his friends, Ruth and Kelly would serve.
Rex sold Alan off.
Kelly had to dance and amuse the other canines. One offered to buy her, but Rex did not wish to sell her.
Barb and Tab’s offspring had grown, Becky was with Alexis and Tab Jr. now. Alexis had a mate, Albert, and Tab’s mate was Noria.
Another mate was brought to Becky. Her first three children had been given away as presents by Alexis.
Becky ahd argued and pleaded, but was punished.
[very intriguing idea with some fine plot twists. Too many characters.]