AN: This is for the Review Game's October writing contest. It was, of course, inspired by the prompt that was given, but it's actually a little bit based off an old short story I read once. Kudos to whoever can guess what story.
It was a warm summer day, the kind that was made for family picnics, impromptu sports games between friends, and trips to the zoo. For Patricia and her best friend Jenny, the zoo sounded like a great way to kill a few hours on a beautiful day.
The two girls wandered around the large circular path from which all the exhibits branched off. The reptile house was the very first exhibit. It sat in a rather (to Patricia, at least) foreboding area surrounded by dense trees on either side. The interior was dark and claustrophobic, and Patricia felt on edge until they left. Jenny, of course, loved it.
The tall, willowy girl always had been rather odd, in her friend's opinion. Jenny's lanky frame and awkwardly graceful way of moving had always made others just a little uncomfortable around her, and it did not help that she had a fascination with all creatures, including the creepy ones such as reptiles that most shied away from.
Still, she was a lovely person and had been the best friend Patricia could ask for ever since the two had met. So, Patricia found it easy to put up with her friend in a way that few did.
On leaving the reptile house, most of the other animals they encountered were fairly ordinary and a bit dull. Their zoo had never been terribly large, and it showed in the animals they had managed to procure.
The best friends passed the typical enclosures of those animals standard to almost every zoo, such as elephants, giraffes, and lions, before they arrived at a new enclosure that held one of the zoo's few rare species. Jenny gravitated straight for it immediately on sight. Patricia followed more slowly.
"They're very odd creatures, aren't they?" Patricia commented once she had joined her friend in front of the railing separating the exhibit from the zoo patrons. Her gaze wandered over the two animals beyond the railing.
"Yes, they are," Jenny agreed. "It's strange how hairless they are, though quite interesting." The two girls stared at the exhibit in silence for a few moments. The enclosure held a grassy pasture, a few trees, and a cave-like hole in the back wall. In front was a pond with a glass wall in front, presumably so that zoo-goers could watch the animals even when they went underwater. The two animals sat in front of this pond.
Patricia could not tell if they were being playful or angry as they appeared to wrestle and shove at each other by the water. She assumed the latter, given the lack of harm they appeared to be doing to each other.
"The female one is rather pretty, "Jenny offered after a bit of time had passed.
"I suppose so." Patricia couldn't really see any particular beauty in either the males or females of this particular species. Jenny, on the other hand, loved these animals as Patricia knew all too well.
Jenny continued staring at the strange animals, commenting wistfully, "It would be absolutely fascinating to study them, someday, once I'm done with school." She watched the two animals playing with each other with a sad look on her face. "Unfortunately, they're getting closer to extinction every day. It's so sad." Patricia turned her gaze on her friend, smirking playfully.
"You're such an environmentalist, Jenny."
Jenny smiled back at her friend. "We have to care about all the creatures on this planet. Every one of them is important."
The girls were interrupted from their talk by a splash in the pen. Patricia returned her attention back to the exhibit to see that one of the creatures had pushed the other one in, and now they were frolicking around in the water. Jenny laughed as they swam together.
"Aren't they adorable?" Jenny asked, obviously not expecting an answer, given that her focus was entirely on the creatures playing in the water rather than on her friend.
As cute as she was sure the scene was to Jenny, however, Patricia was not terribly fond of standing in the same place all day. She had come to the zoo to see a lot of animals, not to spend the whole day gazing at one exhibit.
"Come on, Jenny, let's move on," she said after a few more moments, flicking her tail impatiently. Jenny turned away with a sigh, and the two monkey girls began heading to the next exhibit as Patricia reminded her friend, "You can always come back to the human exhibit later."