Tara was the most
cunning huntress in her pride. Sharp clawed, strong backed, and charged with
the kind of agility that always got her jaws around a throat before her prey
could gurgle a bloody yelp. But today, Tara was just scouting.
She crouched low,
almost flat against the formerly rich soil that had been turned into wasteland
by the two-legged in stolen skins. In the past, her pride had laws forbidding
the hunting of the two-legged beasts. But food had gone scarce, and mothers had
to do unspeakable things to keep cubs from starvation.
The musky scent of
fear and old wool reached Tara’s nose before the bleating hit her ears. She sighed
in relief. She wouldn’t have to return home with the location of two-legged
young. She had grown not to mind bloodying her muzzle in meat that had threatened
her pride with sticks that spat burning stones. But their young were a
different matter. Feeding on them felt wrong. Young flesh did fill the belly, but it tainted
the spirit with the taste of sorrow and regret.
Tara focused on the
sheep that had limped some distance from the rest, she tensed her hind legs,
and pounced. But before she could reach her prey, her back and the top of her
head were smacked down by a heavy web that pushed her face and belly into the thirsty
She roared, trying to rip the snare with her claws and teeth. But the thing just tangled tighter, crushing her ribs, stealing her breath. She struggled for some time, until she was finally able to stand under the net. Then a burning stone stung the side of her neck. Tara’s legs wobbled. Her eyes began to close. She tasted dust and her own blood before her whole world went dark.
photo by Jean Wimmerlin, on Unsplash
the title echoes a favorite quote from Firefly: “No power
in the ‘verse can stop me!”
- for Poets and Storytellers United--Weekly Scribblings #69: Of the Hunt and Writers’ Pantry #70: Words for Healing.