A meeting with an odd professor researching rare animals.
|C. Looking Glass Insects
2. "Strange Creatures" – you're a scientist discovering a new species that includes...? Create at least five of these such creatures; giving details including description, mode of movement, what they eat, reproduction etc.
Alice, the Veldskoen and the author had not progressed far from the garden of the talking flowers, when a very odd-looking individual burst from the bushes and approached them excitedly. He wore what we used to call a safari suit and sported a pith helmet on his head. Without introduction or consideration of Alice and the author, he headed straight for the Veldskoen and bent over to shake its hand, at the same time doffing his helmet..
“Gut afternoon,” he pronounced. “Mein name ist Professor Heinrich Kurtelmann, zoologist extraordinaire, und I claim ze honour of being first to record ze existence of zis undiscovered creature. May I enquire if you heff a name for your species?”
“Er, I’m a veldskoen,” said the creature in question.
“Ja, ja, gut, gut,” enthused Kurtelmann, producing a notebook and scribbling in it with a stubby pencil. By craning his neck, the author could see that the Professor had written “Found today, a talking veldskoen, my latest discovery.”
Kurtelmann closed his notebook but drew a larger exercise book from a pocket in his suit. He sat cross-legged on the ground and began to interview the veldskoen, writing furiously in the book as he did so.
“I see you are a small creature, about ze size of a cat,” he began. “You appear to be a type of night ape, although not as attractive. Furred, so definitely a mammal, und provided with a pair of batlike wings. Ja, very strange. Would you care to add to zis description?”
“I don’t think so,” replied the veldskoen.
“I saw you walking earlier,” continued the Professor. “Are your wings sufficient to enable flight?”
“Und what do you eat?”
The veldskoen frowned. “Umm, fruits, nuts and so on. Mainly vegetables but I’ll eat a grub or insect if one presents itself. Do you have many more questions? My friends and I really need to be getting on.”
The Professor ignored this and pressed on. “Any specific behaviours relating to other species?”
The veldskoen sighed and rolled his eyes in frustration. “I seek out small boys and intimidate them by flying round their heads going, ‘Chwah, chwah, chwah!’ I believe they find it quite annoying.”
The author had maneuvered himself into a position where he could read over Kurtelmann’s shoulder. Unable to see what the Professor was writing about the veldskoen, obscured as it was by the writing hand and arm, the author read below:
Extremely large, winged creature, probably reptilian, skin leathery and smooth, no scales but a series of strange protrusions along the backbone. No fiery breath so certainly not a dragon. Very fierce in behaviour and dreaded in all local folk tales. No more details known since I have been unable to interview the creature and have glimpsed it only once. By all accounts, it eats people but this has not been observed. No specimen retained as I was unable to approach.
An antelope that looks much like an impala but has long legs and a neck that stretches out to rival that of a giraffe. Not as tall as the giraffe, it increases its height by standing and moving about on its hind legs only. The forelegs appear to be used only for balance and support against the trees from which it obtains nourishment. Clearly herbivorous. Behaviour and reproduction similar to other antelopes. Specimen obtained but no interview as the animal does not speak.
A spherical ball of thick, soft fur with short legs and face almost hidden amongst its fur. About the size of a sheep. Not dangerous but has a defence of emitting (uncertain from where) a pleasant aroma that lulls any attacker to sleep. I failed to interview it as it had gone when I awoke. Nocturnal in its habits, I suspect that it is herbivorous. Probably arboreal since the legs seem too short for speedy movement on the ground. They have been seen by locals to carry their young on their backs but the accounts always come to a swift end, presumably because the witness fell asleep. One deceased specimen found and stuffed.
About the size and shape of a guinea pig, this fish-faced mammal is extremely dangerous since they hunt in packs of twenty or more. Mouths full of sharp teeth, they have a painful bite; if attacked by them as a pack, they can kill. Nocturnal. Locals in their area will not go out at night. Their short legs mean their one disadvantage is a lack of speed. They emit loud grunts when hunting but do not seem to have the ability to speak. No interview, therefore. Several specimens obtained, of which one has been stuffed for the collection.
That was as far as the author read, for the Professor slammed the book shut suddenly. He had just asked the veldskoen about reproduction and been rejected vehemently. “That does it,” said the veldskoen. “I’ve been patient enough but this disgusting intrusion stops now! How would you feel if I asked about your mating habits?”
He jumped up and began to walk away, calling over his shoulder, “You coming, folks?”
Alice and the author followed without protest while the Professor just sat there with an astonished look on his face. “Reproduction,” he said. “All I did was ask him about reproduction.”
He opened the book again and wrote: Volatile on the subject of reproduction.
Word Count: 901