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Full Moon Kisses:A Full Moon Novel(5)

By:Ellen Schreiber

"I thought it was going to kill us," Abby said.
"I could have saved you," Jake said. "With my bare hands."
"Are you kidding? You were the first one to run away," Dylan needled.
"Hey, it was coming after Nash, not me," he said. "And it seemed to have its sights on Brandon, too."
"Even with a fence between us," Ivy said, "I was still freaking."
"I think it wanted to eat Nash for lunch," Dylan teased as he put his arm around Abby's shoulder.
We all laughed again, and Brandon grabbed my hand and my friends took comfort in their boyfriends' arms. Nash cracked a few jokes, but I could tell he was still a bit shaken by the tiger's threatening advance toward him.
We decided to visit the primates next. As we all arrived at their habitat, we looked at our checklist. Ivy was first to spot the species of primates on our list, and we quickly checked it off-chimpanzees.
The primates were behind glass and had trees and metal bars to climb and swing on.
One was looking straight at us as if he was checking us out, gawking at him.
"He's so cute," Ivy said. "I want to take him home."
"Until he rips your arm off," Jake replied.
"He wouldn't do that," she went on. "He's too cute. Look at that face."
"Aren't you already dating a chimpanzee?" Nash jabbed Jake in the side.
The chimpanzees were sweet looking, but I had seen news stories that they could be violent.
After a few moments of viewing them, they began to walk around and swing on the bars. They started to call out in high-pitched voices: "Ooh, ooh, ooh."
A mother chimp held her baby and made her way behind a tree as if she was protecting the small primate from something. As the other chimps still called out, a third one came up to the glass near where Nash and Brandon were standing. Suddenly it began banging on the glass. We all pulled back and quickly walked away.
"Still want to take him home?" Jake asked Ivy.
Ivy grimaced at her boyfriend.
"He's still better behaved than you are," Dylan teased.
Brandon looked at me curiously. "I've never seen a chimp do that," he whispered to me. "It was like it was staring right at me."
"And Nash," I whispered.
I glanced over at Nash to see his reaction. He was walking toward the next exhibit but was glaring at the chimpanzee. "Maybe they aren't feeding their animals today," he said to me.
We moved over to the black-handed spider monkey habitat and checked off the correct species.
They were in an outdoor enclosed pen with a huge wooden structure that they could climb on. We all observed the animals so we could fill in the rest of the information required on our sheet.
"Those are so cute! I want one," Abby said, pointing to a few monkeys who were high atop the structure.
The spider monkeys were sitting on the top picking at each other. As we took notes, they began racing around frantically and shouting out in repetitive and high-pitched calls.
They continued to race around frantically until we decided to move to the next habitat.
A gorilla was sitting on the grass, eating a piece of bamboo, fifty yards away from us behind its glass enclosure. It wasn't long before it took notice of us. It stood up and glared at Brandon, then Nash.
"This is weird," Ivy said. "It's like the gorilla is looking right at us."
The gorilla growled. Dylan began to grumble back at it.
"Don't do that," Abby said, slapping him on the shoulder. "Have some respect for the animals."
But the gorilla continued to stare and growl. Suddenly it began to beat his chest. All the spectators pointed at the large mammal and started taking pictures.
But we were disturbed by its behavior, especially Brandon. This animal, like the others, seemed to once again focus on our group.
"I think we should go," he whispered to me.
"Let's get out of here," Ivy demanded. She dragged Abby away from the crowd.
We raced back down the hill, passing a few other habitats. The animals began to pace-and many of them cried out: tweets from the birds, hurmpts from the elephants, roars from the lions. When we reached the bottom of the hill, we tried to slough off the odd behavior of the animals.
"Maybe it's because it's spring," Abby said, "but these animals are crazy."
"I agree," Ivy said.
Then Jake tickled her. "They aren't the only ones who have spring fever," he teased.
"This is really weird," Abby stated. "I've never been to a zoo where the animals acted this way."
"I haven't, either," Dylan said. "It is freaky. But maybe Ivy's right about the spring weather. Brings out the animal in all of us."
I agreed that we all needed a break from the animal action. A few yards ahead of us was the zoo's kiddie train. It was big enough for adults to ride in next to a child, but it was obviously meant for kids and their parents. Each carriage was brightly painted with a different animal on it, and the engine was candy-apple red. Nash insisted we ride the train to the opposite side of the zoo.
We girls resisted at first, but Dylan and Jake hopped on and waved their girlfriends over. We tried our best to squeeze into the carriages together and keep our limbs from hanging out. Ivy, Abby, and I giggled as the train took us slowly through the park and stopped at the foot of the hill that led to the giraffe exhibit. We hopped out and giggled some more as we made our way up the hill.
Heidi Rosen and a few of her friends were already at the entrance. "This smells," she said. "I can't go in there."
"I wonder what the giraffe thinks of her," Abby said snidely. Ivy and I chuckled together.
"I think I'll stay out here," Brandon said.
"Afraid of a giraffe?" Nash said. "What are you, chicken?"
No, werewolf, I wanted to say. Didn't he realize that the animals were bothered by their presence? It was as if it wasn't even registering to Nash how the animals had been responding to them.
"I'll wait out here with Brandon," I said.
"Need some alone time?" Ivy teased as she and the rest of the gang proceeded into the indoor giraffe exhibit.
Brandon and I headed back down the hill and hung out on a picnic bench a few yards away from the Mexican wolf exhibit. We heard a few howls from the wolf enclosure. A woman was holding a small child as he stood on the lowest rung of a wooden fence around its perimeter. He leaned over the edge to look down at the animals.
"It is bizarre, but the animals must be sensing something about you and Nash," I said, draping my leg over his.
"You think so, too?" he asked.
"Uh … yes. It seems pretty obvious to me."
"Do you think the others notice that, too? That it's Nash and me?"
"Well, that one time Nash was tormenting the tiger, so perhaps they'll chalk that one up to him. But every habitat? It is really weird."
"Maybe the school bringing two werewolves to a zoo wasn't such a good idea for an educational field trip."
"Well, I think we are learning. A lot," I said truthfully. "Just as much about the animals as about you and Nash. You really have side effects beyond just the full moon. It is in you all the time-being a … "
"I know. They sense it obviously," he said. "But what can I do? Stay inside twenty-four seven? It's frustrating, really," he said.
I rubbed his arm-one that was now smooth but would be lined with a fine layer of hair and have muscles like a triathlete's in a few weeks.
"Well, maybe we can hang here for a while," I encouraged. "Let us rest-and the animals, too. Let's just enjoy the time together and having a day off from school. It is really beautiful here, with the pretty trees and flowers. And it's not too often I get to see wild animals this close up."
"Yes," he said. "It was kind of cool. But I like it better here, where it's just the two of us." He put his arm around me and drew me close. His brilliant blue eyes glistened like the peacock that was waddling away from us a few feet away. Brandon leaned in to kiss me.
Just then we heard a scream.
The small boy was gone, and the mother was straining to look down over the wooden fence.
"Help! He's fallen into the enclosure!" she screamed. "Please help me! Someone please-he's fallen!" She began pointing and looking around wildly, trying to signal someone to help her.
Without hesitating, Brandon raced over to the exhibit. I tried to run after him, but I couldn't keep up with him. Before I knew it, he leaped over the fence. I saw his hands holding on to the bottom rail for a moment before they disappeared.
I covered my mouth in disbelief. I was afraid for his life.
"What are you doing?" a man yelled to Brandon. "You'll get killed!"
I was afraid not only that Brandon would be attacked but that he would be injured in falling to the bottom of the enclosure.
"Brandon-what are you doing?" I shouted. I raced over to the fence and looked down at Brandon and the boy.
The boy was lying on a grassy area about fifteen feet below us, just underneath the fence where he had fallen. Brandon was standing between him and a pack of wolves about twenty feet away from him. The wolves huddled together as if they were wondering if they were going to be attacked by the intruders. Brandon stepped between the boy and the wolf pack, staring at them. I wasn't sure if the wolves would attack, but they were snarling as if they might.
Suddenly Ivy, Jake, and Nash were standing behind me.
"What's going on?" Ivy shrieked as she ran up to me. "What is Brandon doing in the wolf cage?" she asked, terrified.