10-year-old Sandy loved animals. She had a dog, two cats, a rabbit and a tank full of fish. Every day she would spend hours taking care of them and they loved her. Sandy planned on becoming a vet when she grew up.
It was spring and her parents took her to the zoo on opening day so she could see all the baby animals. Sandy ran from one exhibit to the next. “Oh Mom! They’re so wonderful,” Sandy said.
At the lion exhibit, Sandy stopped and stared at the young lions. They were so cute and huggable. She just needed to pet one. When her parents weren’t looking she sneaked away to look for the entrance.
Sandy found the door and slipped inside. It didn’t take her long to get outside and find the cubs that were napping in the sun. She gently ran her hand over the head of the one closest to her and giggled when it licked her with its tongue.
She was so engrossed in the cubs that she didn’t hear the screams from the people around the enclosure. Sandy looked up when she heard her mother’s scream, “Help my daughter!”
The lion trainers entered the lion exhibit with tranquilizer guns. Their only hope was to shoot the lionesses before they realized what was happening. One was napping in the sun and they were able to shoot her easily. The other, however, had been roused by the screams from the bystanders.
The lioness saw Sandy and let out a roar then bounded towards her. The trainers shot at her three times and missed with each shot. Sandy saw the lioness coming towards her and tried to run away but the animal was too fast.
The lioness pinned the girl to the ground then ripped out her throat. Sandy died instantly. The cubs gathered around Sandy’s body and started tearing her apart. The trainers had reloaded and easily shot the lioness as they ate and they were able to remove the cubs and lock them. Very little of the young girl remained.
The parents approached the zookeeper. “You can allow them to finish eating her and leave her carcass there as a warning to other children,” her father said.
“You don’t want to be able to bury her?” the zookeeper asked.
“There’s so little left, it wouldn’t be worth buying a casket,” Sandy’s mother said. “Besides, it is an appropriate punishment for her behavior.”
“Do you want to say good-bye to your daughter while the lions are still knocked out?” the zookeeper asked.
“No, we’re good,” her father said. They looked towards Sandy’s half-eaten body for a moment then headed towards the entrance.
Sandy raced after them. “Wait! Don’t leave without me!” she called out. They couldn’t hear her and kept walking.
When she got to the entrance to the zoo, Sandy ran into a barrier she that wasn’t able to pass through. She was stuck inside the zoo. Sandy was sad then started to smile as she realized that being stuck in the zoo meant she would always be able to be near the animals. Her dreams come true!
Sandy raced to the sheep pen. As she got close, they started bleating loudly and ran away from her. She went to the horses; they ran away from her too. The same thing happened with every animal. They were all afraid of her.
As Sandy sat on a bench outside the lion enclosure, she started crying as her mother’s words came back to her. “An appropriate punishment,” she’d said.
Her punishment was to be forever trapped in the zoo and unable to pet the animals because she was a ghost. Sandy said aloud, “I have the meanest parents ever.”
© June 14, 2011