Bogleech.com's 2014 Horror Write-off:
" RULES AND INSTRUCTIONS "
Once, I went to a zoo.
I saw the elephants and giraffes and so on.
But as I was walking, I saw an old, tattered notebook on the ground, its binder almost obscured with all the tape holding it together.
I picked up the notebook, and started looking around for a staff member to hand it to.
I glanced down at the notebook as I walked. No name on the outside.
I opened the cover, looking for a name.
"RULES AND INSTRUCTIONS" was written in black marker.
I skimmed through the pages. It was a handwritten guide and list to many of the chores and tasks essential for the functioning of a zoo, like feeding and clean-up schedules.
I opened a page at random, and read the following:
NIGHT SHIFT DUTIES: REMINDER (1)
-Make sure that at least two people take Maurice the manatee out of his pool each night and take him to the storage area.
-DO NOT FORGET TO TURN ON THE HEAT LAMPS.
-It can be done any time, it doesn't have to at the start of the shift, but Maurice must dry out completely before the beginning of the morning shift.
-If you forget, or if you were too late and you think Maurice won't dry out before sunrise, call the emergency number listed and wait where you are for further instructions.
NIGHT SHIFT DUTIES: REMINDER (2)
When you check on Fred the hippo, make sure to stay around for at least one full minute. Many accidents have occurred because staff were too hasty in evaluating Fred's status. DO NOT LEAVE UNTIL YOU’RE ABSOLUTELY SURE.
-If Fred is just standing there, or walking around aimlessly, or nibbling on hay, you don't need to do anything.
-If Fred is PACING BACK AND FORTH, get the package from Fred's locker and toss it in; you don't have to get close. If there is no package in the locker, call the emergency number listed and wait where you are. A fresh package will be delivered as soon as possible.
-If Fred seems to be STARING AT/FOLLOWING YOU WITH HIS GAZE, you must walk right up to the fence and wait until he walks over. Don't worry, it's absolutely safe. What's dangerous is walking away during this state. This is the one most people get wrong, so make sure you pay attention. When he comes over, he'll open his mouth. You'll see what we call a PINKBABY. Take the PINKBABY (it won't hurt you) and put it into a garbage bag. Make sure to tie the bag tightly and put it in the staff room, then call management. They'll send someone to pick it up at the start of the morning shift.
NIGHT DUTIES: REMINDER (3)
-Regarding Ollie the orangutan: his enclosure should be cleaned one last time before the zoo opens. Make sure to scrub all messages from all surfaces. Do not believe his lies, and remember: you all signed NDAs.
NIGHT DUTIES: REMINDER (4)
-Regarding the penguin enclosure: Always remember, RULE OF THREE. All numbers that are multiples of 3, or end with a 3 are good. So 3, 6, 9 good, 13, 23 good, 26, 29 bad, so don't get confused. Never bring a number of objects that does not follow the RULE OF THREE into the penguin enclosure. So bring three mops, three buckets and so on.
-RULE OF THREE does not apply to humans, so any number of you can enter the enclosure.
-Regarding clothing, all articles worn are considered as one sum. So you don't have to carry an extra sock or glove; they're considered part of clothes, and if you wear the official uniform and follow the clothing guide, you should already be covered.
-Although we refer to glasses as a pair, they are considered one object, so if you wear glasses, either bring two extra pairs or wear contacts and keep a third in your pocket.
-Regarding fish: usually we don't feed the penguins at night, but sometimes you'll need to distract them. Remember the RULE, and make sure to bring three buckets (you can carry all the fish in just one bucket, the other two can be empty).
-Leave any objects that don't follow the rule in the locker by the gate.
-If you mistakenly enter with the wrong number, DON'T PANIC! Nothing will happen unless you exit the enclosure. Just call for someone to hand you/take away the correct number of objects while not entering the enclosure.
-IMPORTANT: IF ALL THE PENGUINS ARE POINTING THEIR BEAKS AT THE SOUTHERN WALL, DO NOT ENTER THE PENGUIN ENCLOSURE.
NIGHT DUTIES: REMINDER (5)
-Regarding LAUGHING ED; Yes, he's real. Looks like an emu, but the face is all burry and messed up. Just stay calm.
-LAUGHING ED appears on the following security cameras: D1, D2, D3, E1, E2, G1a, G1b, G2, H1, H2b, H3b AND MOST IMPORTANTLY H3c.
-LAUGHING ED only appears on live feeds, and can't be seen by the naked eye. So he doesn't show up in the videos, and you can't make a recording; we've tried.
-Because of the above, we've lumped together all the above screens together for convenience. You're welcome.
-MAKE SURE ONE OF YOU, DESIGNATED AS WATCHER, ALWAYS KEEPS AN EYE ON THE CAMERAS, ESPECIALLY D1.
-LAUGHING ED doesn't always appear every night, but when he does, he always appears in D1, and follows the same path every time, outlined by the cameras; he always ends up in area H, at the emu enclosure (overlooked by H3c). Please note that his route ALWAYS takes him through area F, even though the cameras in F show nothing there. You'll see him leave E2, then nothing on the F cams, then he'll enter the vision of G1a. Also note that G3, H2a, and H3a DO NOT show ED, despite the fact their fields overlap with the other cameras'.
-Make sure that when ED appears in D1, all personnel vacate his path as soon as possible. If any personnel are actually in area D when he appears, remember that he can't be seen by the naked eye. It is the job of the designated watcher to guide all personnel to safety.
-You are safe as long as you don't stay in the above areas (including area F). Even if you are in an area adjacent or connected to one of those areas, you'll still be safe even if you're out on the open, as ED doesn't deviate from his path.
-While other staff get to safety, the person designated as Wrangler must go to area H, specifically to the emu enclosure. The Wrangler must open the gate to the emu enclosure, then hide before ED gets there. There is a broom closet that is designated for that purpose
-Make sure your phones or the walkie-talkies are always charged, because timing of the next part is important.
-When LAUGHING ED enters the emu enclosure FULLY, the Wrangler must IMMEDIATELY shut the gate. If successful, ED will not leave the enclosure for the rest of the night, and you can resume your duties. Remember, the Wrangler must remain hidden until the watcher informs him/her that LAUGHING ED has entered the enclosure.
-If you fail to open the gate before ED gets to the enclosure, or if you don't close the gate fast enough, remain indoors, do not enter area H, call the emergency number, and wait for further instructions.
-Note that the above procedure can be done even if some of the cameras and/or monitors are out; as long as H3c and one other camera are still functional you should have no problem, although maintenance must be informed immediately. If all the cameras/screens go out, call the emergency number immediately.
NIGHT DUTIES: REMINDER (6)
-Salvia the goat undergoes a change under the light of the full moon, as a precaution (even on cloudy nights) you should chain her horns to the stakes. This is just to prevent the rats from dragging away her horns; she'll be back to normal at sunrise. If her teeth fall out, just push them back in.
NIGHT DUTIES: REMINDER (7)
-Some nights you may see strange things in your reflection. Do not be afraid; this is most likely an optical illusion and the entities have never interacted with personnel. But we understand that is very stressful working the night-shift, especially with your other duties. So if the images become too distracting, just take a mirror down to the Aquatic Exhibit (there one in the staff room), and show the mirror to the tank with the axolotls. When they start crying, your reflections will turn back to normal.
NIGHT DUTIES: REMINDER (8)
-Sometimes Larry the llama disappears from his enclosure, only to reappear somewhere else in the zoo. He will be replaced in the enclosure by what we call the FLABMAN.
-Don't bother trying to take Larry back to his enclosure; as soon as he enters he'll disappear again. Note that if anybody approaches the enclosure the FLABMAN disappears, but reappears when they leave.
-After 3 AM, Larry no longer teleports and the FLABMAN disappears, so you can take him back to his enclosure. Until then just let him be, unless he teleports into one of the carnivore enclosures, in which case call management.
-Sometimes Larry teleports to one of the two staff bathrooms. You can lead him out, or just lock him in there to make easier to find him later.
-If a second Larry appears, call management immediately.
-IF THE FLABMAN APPEARS IN ONE OF THE TWO STAFF BATHROOMS, LOCK IT IN, THEN CALL THE EMERGENCY NUMBER.
NIGHT DUTIES: REMINDER (9)
-When Brenda the bison seems to be in distress, just keep an eye on her. If at morning she still seems to be in pain, call the vet and inform the next shift.
-If, however, she "gives birth", bring the can of kerosene from Brenda's locker. If it's empty, you can get some from the supply shed or siphon some gas from a vehicle.
-Wait until she finishes eating them; it's alright if she leaves some bits. When she looks like she won't eat anymore, douse her in kerosene and set her on fire. Wait until it dies down, then clean up the enclosure and hose it down thoroughly. Give her some meat (any meat'll do), then inform management of what happened.
NIGHT DUTIES: REMINDER (10)
-Remember: Do not give the ducks any candy, soft drinks or onions. If you want to give them a snack, check the list of foods approved by our dietitian. Do not give in even if they beg and cry.
NIGHT DUTIES: REMINDER (11)
-WHEN THE WINDING WALLS SHIFT, DON'T PANIC! JUST MAKE SURE YOU DON'T-
Here the page ended, and I was about to turn the page when the book was snatched out of my hands.
The guy who took the notebook was a teenager dressed in a zookeeper's uniform, seventeen at the very most, and his anxiety was clear despite his attempts at indignation.
"Where did you find this?! I was looking for this! This is zoo property, and you sh-shouldn't..."
As he stuttered, I realized he wasn't anxious.
He was terrified.
I assured him I was on my way to hand it in, and was just looking to see who the owner was.
He gave me a suspicious look, but thanked me with what seemed like genuine gratitude before darting away.
That particular zoo closed down last year.
I wonder if that guy had lost the notebook again.