Blood Wood

By Penny Morgand

Zoology, 1964

Blood Wood by Penny Morgan“What the hell…?” But this was no living, breathing ape. This was just the severed head, eyes milky and sunken under the prominent brow ridges, neck ragged and bloody where hacked from the body, the skin clinging parchment-like to the lines of the skull.

The stall holder – is that what he was? – mistaking his gaze for interest, grabbed the horror by the hair on the slightly crested head and held it out to him, gabbling at them. Sue gave a sharp scream and held her hand over her mouth, as Mark felt the bile rise into his throat. This was the smell that had sent his juices flowing? This obscene, pathetic, bloody mess that was once a noble ape? He turned away, closing his eyes, afraid of being sick. Now the smell had taken on an evil fragrance like a carnivorous flower that would not leave his nostrils, cloying, surrounding him. He was going to gag; he bent over making a coarse, retching noise.

He opened his watering eyes – and was confronted by a plastic sheet on which lay smaller monkey heads, colobus – smoked like the gorilla head – delicate duiker antelopes, lizards, porcupine and pangolin. A whole variety of animals as though the forests had been greedily trawled like the sea, and everything caught in the drift net had been dumped here, and smoked.


Born in London, Penny Morgan now lives in King's Somborne,Hampshire. She is married to John and has two children, Leonora and Bryn.

Having lived in Canada and attended the University of British Columbia, she returned to the UK to train as a zoologist at King's College, London University (1961-4) and specialised in comparative psychology, gaining a PhD at Bristol University (1969). She worked as a post-doctoral fellow at Southampton University, researching both sleep behaviour and bird behaviour. Recently, she completed a law degree (2003).  She is interested in pursuing animal welfare rights by legal means, and hopes to be part of the first Animal Law Centre in the UK.

She has written several scientific papers on animal behaviour, contributed to a book on the social behaviour in mammals and birds, and written articles for a law journal.  Blood Wood is her second novel, her first novel is Prime Witness.

Both books are published by Authorhouse and available from their online book store.