It is warm again. I am drowsy. I lick my paws, gently, so that my fur lays flat. The pool I bathed in lies in sunshine and I am hot. I am stretched out under a mango tree, the shade cools my body. Sleep is what I need, right now.
Birds high up in the branches, squabble as they fight for a special perch. The squabbling knocks down leaves that fall onto my ccat. I shake them off lazily, and the squabbling ceases when I roar.
It is too hot to roar and my whiskers need cleaning. A slow lick along my paw and i rub my face on the damp patch. My whiskers are important and must be cleaned after I have eaten.
There are flies buzzing lazily in the afternoon heat, I swish my tail to make them go away, but they stay close. If I were not so tired, I would take another swim in the tidal pool where mangrove roots stand like stilts, anchoring the mangrove trees. Later the water will rise, so that the roots are beneath the waters that sweep in from the ocean beyond. Little crabs scuttle around the roots, gathering food. Easier now for them on the open mud. When the tide comes in, they will bury themselves in the mud until the water recedes. I watch them with curiosity.
I hear another of my kind roaring in the distance but I pay no heed and gradually fall asleep. I am safe here, it is my favourite aftenoon spot.
A breeze blows around me, borne on the tidal waters. It awakens me. Still too hot to move far or fast but I wander slowly through the jungle, listening for Samba deer who may be about. All is silent, save a few bird calls, all creatures are somnolent in this heat. I am still too tired to chase anything, so I am happy that nothing is abroad.
Fallen leaves crackle under my paws as I move slowly through the forest. The breeze is left behind as I move deeper through the undergrowth. Soon, I will come to my favourite spot of early evening. It is an old building, reclaimed partially by the jungle, but there are cool vantage places where I can sit and gaze into the distance. There are valleys and hills beyond, a soft wind wafts up to my building. It is pleasant to sit and watch birds lift on the breeze. But as I draw near, I see another has taken my place.
Slowly, I creep up behind her. She is startled as I throat my displeasure. She roars back and jumps to meet my rush.
As she comes close, she feints to the side. She recognises me, and I her. She is my cub of three seasons ago. We sidle around each other, searching out what the other will do.
Then she makes her move, leaping towards me. I am bigger than her, but not by much. Though I still have more strength than she, and she knows it, turning at the last moment, running past me, she speeds off into the jungle. Next year she may be strong enough to beat me. I hope not. I am not that old, yet.
The Samba are on the move, and it is time to find a nice fat one. But I sense one nearby. It is injured and will not survive. I am a top predator but also it falls to me to make this a swift death for the deer. Its suffering will be less and I will be fed, and there will be little left. This is the way of the jungle.
Copyright Evelyn J. Steward. June, 2014 .
Thank you so much Lesley. I really appreciate your comments. I seldom write in the first person/present tense but in this case, I tried hard to put myself i to the mind of the tiger. It wa not easy, I really had to think about it. I suppose that would work with writing about a person too. Perhaps I did it when I was goiing to class with various tutors. I cannot remember all I learnt, it was a great deal though so, it may be that is what helped. All I can say is, give it a try, a test drive if you will.
Once An Alien…!
Radick’s flaming locks fanned his chiseled tace. Prominent eyebrows bristled pewter above deep-set eyes the colour of deep oceanic pools, the foreboding obsidian belied the warmth of his soul. Angular cheekbones in his swarthy countenance made him look like a quartz outcropping on the distant hills. He had adopted a solid stance, rock solid on the uneven ground. His muscled torso gleamed in the bright daylight, like a hunk of hewn granite. Some would have called his figure squat, but he came from a heavy gravity planet and was built almost square. The spike he held beside his frame was thick, heavy and a trusty weapon. He doubted the locals would even be able to lift such weapon, they were puny, these creatures.
As an alien invader, the indigenous creatures were wary of his kind; he was not harsh, like his leader who whipped any being not adhering strictly to the Laws of Invasion, whereas Radick was somewhat more lenient and passed on the finer points, more for a happier life.
He was tired of moving from planet to planet, subjugating the local population, if there was one, reaping the benefits that planet could offer his race then moving on. His partners were sat back on home world awaiting his return. That future seemed a world or twenty away. His children were growing without his guidence. He missed them.
Gazing into the distance, Radick watched the star disappearing over the horizon of rolling hills. The fading light gathered in his deep eyes, turning them a lighter shade for a few heartbeats, then disappearing into darkest obsidian once more. His hair lost the colour that the star highlighted, becoming gnarled in the growing darkness.
Soon it would be fully dark and he would rather be back at base, having sustenance and resting, discussing any events with the rest of his group of the invading force.
Turning, squaring his impressive shoulders, he retraced his steps, leaping small rocks that strewed the terrain. It would be a short trek. He glanced at the skies filling with bright stars as the darkness approached. There were billions of them in various patterns, a lot different from home skies. Strange shrieks assaulted his ears. A night-flying bird called from one of the high black plants to his left. His eyes, growing accustomed to the dark around him, searched the black shapes, watching to see where the sound came from, what kind of bird it was. Some, if caught, were quite edible, in fact, tasted good. Trouble was, they were hard to bring down with a spike.
On this planet, the indigens were adept at hunting, or so he had found. He had coaxed a couple a while back to catch one of the flying ones. Not bird, but furry. It wasn’t too good to ingest. They spiked him a bird later which tasted better. They indicated it was a ground dweller. Radick liked it and shared it with the others.
The bright star breached the horizon. Winds blew across the plain where tall plants weaved from side to side. A time of great noise. Those birds calling to each other. Dagrit came in, a small furry creature on the end of his spike. It was not the first he had caught and was soon busy removing the entrails and outer coat. A small fire glowed and a hot stone to the side sat awaiting the meat.
When they had eaten, the light was full. Radick waited instructions, listening for sounds from the distance. Dagrit grumbled. “We could be here all the day. The Leader should have been here during the dark phase. Why did we have to wait around getting tired, and with little to do?”
“You moan too much, Dagrit,” complained Radick. “Things are going well. No need for training, it is an easy conquest.”
“I want to be on the move. I desire to get back to Home world.”
“And you think i do not?” Radick replied, wishing the Leader would turn up and give them all commands. The rest of the team, though speaking softly in the background, were agreeing with Dagrit. “Quiet the rest of you or you will be reported to the Leader when he comes.”
Their voices became more like whispers, but they did not stop. He wasn’t second so he had no control to exert. Radick moved from the fire, stepping over to the perimeter. A wind had arisen and although the star had plenty of heat beating down, he felt a chill sweep through his chunky body. He shivered involuntarily, gathering his outer apparel close around his masive shoulders. It was worn, brought little comfort, was whipped as the wind blew stronger.
Flames from the meager fire were battered, almost going out. “More kindling,” he called to one of the team. “The Leader will need a beacon. More kindling, quickly'”
His comrades set to work, gathering a few twigs here and there. It was an open plain, not much burnable material. Every bit of burn material was shoved on the fire which burst into a blaze of light, only to die down once the flames had consumed it.
‘Not good enough,’ Radick yelled at them. ‘Go further, hurry!’
There was grumbling but the team got to their feet and loped off across the plain, searching for dead plants. Some covered the ground quite close to the camp site, making sure they had missed nothing. Others, in pairs, set off fa into the distance where tall branches grew around the base of low hills. Whilst they were gone, Radick stripped some of his under uniform and fed it slowly to the fire, trying to keep the flames going until his team arrived back.
The life she would choose,
Would be hard to lose,
Her face become sallow.
What route would she follow?
The dream of her youth,
A young life, forsooth,
Swept up with the tide,
Her problems, to hide.
But she dallied awhile,
And put on a smile
For those left around her,
She dithered and floundered.
Her path became clear
As she forced back a tear.
To leave them behind,
She had made up her mind
To charge on regardless,
Though her life was a mess.
A new day beginning,
She knew she was winning.
A parting so swift,
Of a life so adrift,
Easy this way
At the start of the day.
Soon it was over,
Becoming a rover
All over the land,
‘Cross mountains and sand,
To her journey’s end
Where the red river bends.
And here she would rest
Then feather her nest.
And babies, to prove
She could find a new love.
Her roving must cease,
She answered his pleas,
To settle and stay
To the end of her days.
Copyright. Evelyn J. Steward. June, 2014