My friend and I went to the zoo. We had a lovely day - and were there until closing. We were not close to the entrance/exit of the park when the announcement came that patrons should make their way to the exit.

We looked into the enclosures and all the animals were snuggling with each other as the people were leaving. We were fascinated. It was so beautiful.

We looked into each enclosure, heading further from the gate, but we just couldn't help ourselves. There was so much to see, in that the animals were acting in such a lovely way - and not just lying there as is their wont when they are on display.

At the end of the regular enclosures, on the grass where people had their lunch, makeshift enclosures had been erected. Well, fences made of two chains had been loosely arranged into pens. Several refugee animals, Russian performing bears, pumas and other large carnivores that had been displaced because their habitats had been destroyed, where lodged in this area.

They were all snuggling together, getting ready to enjoy their solitude before the crowds returned the next day. Nobody paid much attention to us, as we walked close to these often endangered species.

I had to warn my friend, the haphazard way the fences were erected made me a little nervous. Each animal was chained in place, but no space was allocated as a buffer zone, because the general public were not expected to be in the area.

We soon realised that we really should be leaving. My friend took a shortcut through the grass field. I screamed to her not to do it.

I should not have done that.

The tranquil animals all sprang into action at my cry. It was easy for them to bring her down, the pack was together.

I screamed for the zoo keeper. He wandered over - so slowly. He didn't have any weapon, nothing to kill, maim or stun. I was panicking. I wanted him to do something as my friend got mauled.

He just watched the animals do their thing.

At a certain moment, she was nothing but a skeleton, and then the pack released her remains.

I was in shock. I thought about what I would tell her mother, as the warden and I lifted the bones out of the pack's reach. Finally.

He lead the way to the administration block. By the time we got there, the bones had acquired flesh. The skull had regained flesh, hair and eyes. I was baffled.

The head warden asked me what she had been doing before the attack.

I knew I could not tell him that she had taken a shortcut through their enclosure. What to tell them...

Then her eyes opened.

We had all assumed the skeleton was dead. I stammered: "Are you OK?"

"No Proq, I'm not ok. I don't have any blood or internal organs."

We all knew she was going to die. I woke up unable to move.

Update 12 April 2003:

I dreamt again about my friend last night. She was playing footy on the street we used to live. She wasn't very interested in playing, so she joined me on the sideline so we could chat.

Proquar: Are you OK? I mean healthwise?
Friend: Well, I'm being careful because there are quite a few diseases going around at the moment.
Proquar: No, I mean, did anything bad happen to you last night.
Friend: Ummmm... I don't think so... Why?
Proquar: Oh. Er. Well, I dreamt about you... and apparently I... er... Oh, look at that interesting thing over there.