With nearly 100 reviews averaging over 4 stars, Tara Elizabeth’s Zoo is definitely worth a read.
A chronicle of my time living in a zoo . . . I’m not really sure where to start, and you may have trouble believing me even as I tell you my story. My family did. They laughed the first time I told them, so now I just say it was all a crazy dream. You see, I died in a totally preventable car accident . . . or so I thought. When I opened my eyes, I was shocked to discover that I had been resurrected into the year 2282 and, just as unbelievably, was locked up in a zoo! A HUMAN ZOO! Oh wait, I mean the People’s Past Anthropological Center.
The Global Government created the Centers because all of the different cultures of the world had, over centuries of time, slowly absorbed into one uniform culture. Everything and everybody felt the same, and the world didn’t like it. So, to help the people of 2282 find cultures they thought worthy to live their lives by, they used time travel to zap the people of the past into the future. They created enclosures to house their live human exhibits. And that’s what happened to me. I became a research project, a source of entertainment. I was a prisoner who was over two hundred years away from my family and friends.
Most of my time in the enclosure was spent trying to escape. I also made friends, lost friends, fell in love, was betrayed, was held captive within captivity, and lots of other fun stuff. There were some shocking moments and some devastating moments . . . It’s a lot to recount, but I’ll try my best to tell you all about my time travel . . . PAST, PRESENT, and FUTURE.
I’m Emma, by the way.
DAY ONE – THE ENCLOSURE
When I woke up, I saw green, lots and lots of green. There were green plants, green trees, and green moss covered rocks. Underneath me was a cushion of green grass. I heard rushing water coming from somewhere nearby, but the pounding in my head dulled the pleasant sound. They drugged me, and my body did not like whatever they gave me. I stayed stretched out on the soft carpet of grass, trying to adjust to my surroundings.
“Hi there! About time you woke up,” a breezy, female voice chirped.
I slowly rolled my head in the direction of the voice. A girl about my age was sitting on a boulder staring at me. Her blonde hair was wild, like she took the time to tease it but used a twig to do it. Her eyes were a cool blue like a clear sky. Her dress was plain. It was made from what looked like burlap or some other horrible fabric (if you could even call it fabric). It looked completely out of place on her.
I was thinking about how awful it would be to wear something like that while I was scratching at my own skin. And sure enough, I had the same horrible fabric on. I was so mortified. I was wearing a brown sack that came to about mid-thigh, and when I checked, I discovered that I also had on tiny, bikini-cut panties. I was more of a boy short kind of girl.
“Where am I?” I asked the blonde girl.
“Didn’t they show you the film?”
“Yeah, but . . . ”
“Well, you’re in your new home.” She flipped her hair over her shoulder, and I almost expected her to start smacking on some gum.
I sat up and looked around. There was a small jungle toward the back of the enclosure with the rest of the area being flat land. The jungle was thick with ferns and trees. I could see a hint of a waterfall over some low hanging vines. At the front of the enclosure, on the flat land, I could see a small vegetable garden, a fruit tree, and a cow tied to a post. Half of the space was surrounded by a rock-wall, and the rest was encased by a glass-dome.
“This isn’t anything like where I came from,” I said aloud to myself and to the girl.
“Yeah, me neither. All I can figure is that they want to experiment by putting us in different environments and then seeing what happens.” The girl shrugged her shoulders. “So, what’s your name?”
“Emma David. You?”
The girl spewed a ton of information at me all at once. “Janice Hall. Grew up in Manhattan. Got into partying young. Overdosed on cocaine in a nightclub. Been in here alone for about a month. It’s good to have some company. I started talking to the cow a few days ago. Can you believe that? They could have at least put me in one of these things with some good neighbors or something.”
She completely overwhelmed me, and I didn’t know what to say in response. The thing that stuck out the most about her little speech was that she said she had overdosed. She looked too young to have had an overdose. “How old are you?” I finally asked her.
“Sixteen,” she answered nonchalantly, while inspecting her cuticles. Then she dropped down next to me and grabbed my hand to have a look at my nails. She was behaving like a monkey. I could recall watching them at a regular zoo. They would sit and pick at each other, searching for bugs or whatever nasty things inhabited their fur. It made me uncomfortable, but I was so focused on figuring her out, that I let her continue for a while longer.
Janice was so young and beautiful, and she was probably wealthy if she grew up in Manhattan. I’ve seen plenty of famous socialites on cable TV hit rock bottom before they hit 18. What a waste. Drugs were one thing that I never messed with, and she was a prime example of why.
“What year are you from?” I could tell she wasn’t from my time, even though we were dressed the same. There was something about her that was different, besides the New York accent.
She continued to look over my cuticles. I let her because it seemed to calm her down, which also helped my own nervous energy. She answered, “I was born in 1962. They ‘saved’ me in 1978.” She made air quotes with her fingers as she said the word “saved.” Then she asked me, “What about you?”
The time travel crap was starting to weird me out. I felt like my head was going to explode, but I held myself together long enough to answer her. “Um, I’m 17. I was born in 1995 and they ‘saved’ me in 2013 . . . This is crazy!” Nope. I couldn’t keep it together after all. Why was I sitting there making small talk with a strange girl? I needed to get the hell out of my new prison.
I ran over to the rock wall, searching for a door. Nothing. After I reached the glass front of our enclosure, where the public would be observing us from the other side, I beat my fists against the hard surface. I screamed and screamed and screamed.
Then, I screamed some more.
“Tried that already. It’s no use. Besides, the park’s not even open. Nobody’s here, silly,” Janice told me. She stood behind me, next to the cow, with her hand on her hip. I noticed she had fashionably tied some kind of vine around her waist to accentuate her curves under the hideous sack dress.
I didn’t care what she said, so I ignored her and kept beating the glass wall from one side all the way to the other. I went on that way until I reached a point where I could see into the enclosure next door. What I saw was unexpected.