Morrison is not a creative man. Not once in his sixty-four years has he written a story, held a paintbrush or plucked a guitar string. But in the evening, during his midnight patrols through the museum halls, his imagination comes to life.
He starts by feeding peanuts to the baby elephant at the top of the stairs, before going on to watch the ancient military costumes perform their nightly drills; he enjoys seeing the hollow outfits march in perfect unison across the room. It reminds him of his old friends in the army. In the corner, a empty Samurai suit sits cross-legged on the floor with a kanta resting on its knees.
Morrison also like to eavesdrop the conversations of the Egyptian elite. He spends hours listening to the bandaged mummies bicker about philosophy or religion. Indeed, he is quickly becoming proficient in the Egyptian tongue. He is also attempting to pick up some Latin, although this is less successful; the Ceasars pressed into the ancient coins refuse to discuss anything other than death and taxes.
Morrison’s walks through the museum have also cultivated a knowledge of zoology and ornithology. He frequently observes the birds of prey as they preen their golden feathers inside the glass cages. The larger carnivores are less accepting of his gaze, baring their teeth if he dares to venture too close.
Suspended from the ceiling, the beached sperm whale sings a melancholy lament for the ocean.
As his patrol ends, Morrison lets his imagination off the leash; trekking through the dense undergrowth of the prehistoric exhibition, pushing aside the giant ferns which had sprouted from the marble floor.
Wiping the tropical moisture from his brow, he takes up his usual seat on a moss-covered bench and waits. A roar shakes the green vines hanging from the timbers above and the canopy birds fall silent. A childhood smile breaks across his grey face as the beast of his imagination lumbers out of the trees towards him.