Beneath the Zoo. A Short Story Ebook
Beneath the Zoo. A Short Story Ebook
Beneath the Zoo. A Short Story Ebook
Beneath the Zoo. A Short Story Ebook

Beneath the Zoo. A Short Story Ebook

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Some secrets should stay buried.

When renowned architect Arania Webb returns to Bristol Zoo — once her childhood sanctuary but now a derelict ruin — she discovers her late father’s hidden underground lab, which harbours a dark obsession.

Inside, she uncovers his journals documenting twisted experiments to fuse arachnid DNA with humans, creating unnatural creatures that blur the line between species. As Arania descends into the shadowy depths and explores further, she realises the terrifying extent of her beloved father’s attempts to play god.

With demolition charges set to raze the derelict zoo in minutes, Arania has little time to process the ethical transgression and madness that drove her father down an unholy path before the truth is buried forever. 

But when the site manager stumbles upon her macabre discovery, Arania knows she must act swiftly to protect her family’s legacy — and her own future.

Will she find a way to escape the ruins with her father’s monstrous secrets?

Or will the horrors hidden beneath the zoo ultimately consume them both?

In this short story, J.F. Penn weaves a tale of dark secrets, genetic aberration, and a legacy that blurs the lines between ethical transgression and scientific ambition, a narrative that is as much about the inner darkness of human nature as it is about the monsters we create.

Print books shipped from my independent printer in the UK, or from the US in summer 2023.

Ebooks and audiobooks are delivered by email through Bookfunnel. Check your email and then download or read/listen on your favorite device.

Watch the story trailer



"Pure FUN for the armchair adventurer!."

Mel K
5 star Amazon review

"Atmospheric and creepy."

Kay S
5 star Amazon review

"A dark story that makes you question: what would you have done? A perfect half hour read, well paced and gripping."

5 star Shopify review

"Wow, this is a cracking short story. I loved it, from the beginning to the ending i definitely didn’t see coming."

5 star Amazon review

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Customer Reviews

Based on 21 reviews
Terry Henke
A dark and creepy story

Beneath the Zoo by J.F. Penn is a dark and creepy story about unethical genetic experimentation to combine insect DNA with humans. Arania Web spent her childhood with her father at the Bristol Zoo. The zoo is now in ruins and is being destroyed. On her final visit to the zoo, she finds her late father’s secret lab and his journals of his dark, depraved experiments. The explosives are set to destroy the zoo, she is discovered by the site manager. She has little time to find a way to save her father’s and her own reputations.

This story has a fast-moving plot highlighting ethical dilemmas and a couple of twists that you don’t see coming. For a short story, the characters are well developed and the narrative is exciting. However, this is probably not for those with arachnophobia. I highly recommend Beneath the Zoo.

Cracker of a story. 👍👍👍

Cracker of a story. 👍👍👍

Jeffrey Aitken
A Captivating Tale of Intrigue

“Beneath the Zoo,” is a literary gem that left me captivated and impressed.

The plot is another highlight, as it spins a web of dark family secrets, keeping the reader hooked from start to finish.

The pacing is well-executed, maintaining a perfect rhythm that ensures the reader’s sustained interest throughout the story.

I recommend this short story to anyone in search of a captivating and thought-provoking read.

Dorcia Beland
Interesting Story

Intense. Exciting. Fast read. Interesting characters.

Stephen Taylor
Another great short

Penn always impresses, and this short is no exception. Her writing is creative and well-constructed, and I always enjoy her stories of any length.

Like all of the short stories I have read from Penn, this one left me wanting more. I always feel like there is so much potential in her shorts and they end too abruptly, but I sure enjoy reading them.

I can't wait for the next one!