Out of sight
Xander knew the enclosures by smell. To his right, the rhino - a leathery, sweaty stench. To the left - giraffes, with their odour of damp fur and chomped grass. Up ahead, the children's playground. A faint smell of Betadine and an even fainter smell of faeces. He walked confidently up the winding concrete path, neatly dodging screaming kids and grumbling dads. No dog, no cane - they probably didn't even realise he was blind.
The little box concealed in his palm vibrated at different frequencies depending on how far away the obstacles were, but today he barely needed it. He knew these paths as well as the corridors of his own apartment building. It was easy to hear the the shuffling footsteps, the crunching wheels of prams, the rustling of garden leaves in the breeze.
Soon he reached the pride and joy of the zoo - the thylacine enclosure. Usually crowded, especially at feeding time, when people came from all over the country to see the clone gobble huge steaks and gnaw on giant bones. But right now it was quiet. No visitors, which probably meant the animal was sleeping in a secluded corner, out of sight.
Xander faltered, suddenly uncertain. Was he lost?
His hands reached out, fumbling for the hand rail. There it was. Leaning over, he could feel the worn Plexiglas of the enclosure. He was in the right place.
But he couldn't smell the thylacine.
It was missing.