- Vol. 03
- Chapter 11
Image by Bruce Connew
Menagerie“Magnificent, isn’t she?”
The enormous man swung his chubby arm outwards in an expansive gesture, unfolding his palm towards the horse that stood completely still in the middle of the room. Its eyes were dull and unresponsive, but I could see distorted shapes reflected in the inky black pupils. I shuddered. In all honesty, I couldn’t agree with the taxidermist. Stuffed animals had always disturbed me, and always would. Something that, for me, meant more than it did for most.
“She’s the prize of my collection,” he sighed wistfully. “Such craftsmanship. You’d almost think she was still alive…” My gaze moved from the horse’s eye to her greying, cracked lips. I didn’t blame the taxidermist for lying to himself. Such deception was necessary to maintain our sanity.
Turning away from the horse, I looked around the room. There were deer, foxes and badgers trapped in glass cases. There were butterflies and dragonflies pinned up against boards, wings as fragile as tissue paper. Robins, blackbirds, and barn owls were propped on top of tree branches. In a familiar sensation, I felt the walls of the room closing in around me, the endless pairs of lifeless eyes accusing me of crimes unknown. I shut my eyes, breathed in, and out. Normality began to reassert itself, when I heard a “ping” sound behind me. Quickly, I turned to see a button from the taxidermist’s bulging grey waistcoat fly through the horse’s eye, right out of the window. “Oh dear,” he murmured, floating out of the room to go and find the button.