Striped Shadows Part 2
She followed the tracks, vengeance swirling on her mind. The mysterious beast or whatever it was that prowled the night air was made of flesh and blood. And she knew that by the end of the day she will taste it and have its beating heart around her claws. The hunter crouched in the shadows of the trees that surrounded her. Her reverie was disrupted by the scene in front of her. The thick smell of ash and burnt wood overpowered her.
A large expanse of land burned by fire caught her attention. Blackened trees edged the scorched clearing like broken grave markers. A large canal of torn brown soil cut through the coal black clearing. It led towards a steep crater big enough to accommodate two village huts. She craned her neck but her limited range of vision didn’t afford her the chance to see if the accursed beast was present in its lair.
The huntress circled the edge of the treeline, careful not to make any sound. Careful not to snap any twig or ruffle any dried leaves strewn in her path. She waited, her patience eating her very soul. A necessary thing to survive the ordeal, she convinced herself. An impatient hunter is no hunter at all, she added. The skies darkened as hours passed and the first drops of rain fell.
She paused as something emerge from the crater. Its clawed limbs bit the mud like sharp stakes as it ascended the steep path. Its long neck slits ended in fangs unceremoniously arranged in the place where the head should’ve been. The eyeless beast had a mouth full of daggers and a yellow fork tongue.
The huge thing stood on all fours its gray streaked hide drenched by the rain. An unearthly abomination. A creature from the worlds beyond. The beast from the stars swivelled its head from left to right. Its movement synchronized with the rumbling thunder from the distance.
The rain fell harder, filling the crater with water. The abomination shivered, expelling vapor from its maw. Lightning flashed, illuminating the denuded ground and with it the thunder drummed louder. Taking its cue from the heavens the huntress started its first assault.
Shades of orange and brown pelage leaped from the edge of the trees like a fiery blur. The huntress’ soaked white ventral fur and distinctive vertical black stripes, unique only to her, seem to blend with the darkness as she zigzagged her way to the beast.
Light and darkness alternated as the discharge of lightning peaked confusing the soulless brute, adding a little chaos to the huntress’ mission. She sprung towards the beast’s flank. Her feline claws digging through the beast’s thick rhino like hide. The huntress expected it to fall down but the beast shrugged her off. She flailed in the air and landed with her muscled forelimbs in the mud.
The huntress bared her teeth and flattened her ears. Her dilated pupils and yellow iris glowed in the darkness like jade gemstones exposed to sunlight. She circled the quarry almost sensuous in her grace. One step at a time,she thought. There was no need for her to rush things. She would slowly break her enemy without it knowing.
The beast’s didn’t follow through as he tried to orient himself. He didn’t like this place. Too loud and too confusing. His senses was always in disarray. He huffed and coughed expelling vapor and spittle. Too wet too!, he thought. Something attacked him, something he can’t locate. Something he can’t punish. Where is it?, he asked himself. He shrieked and turned his head waiting for the echo but the returning sound was too muffled to decipher. The mud splashed as he pounded his leg in irritation. The thing that dug its claw in his chest was taunting him. Another bolt of lightning followed by a resounding thunder fell, confusing him even more.
The huntress took the chance again and attacked. She vaulted in front of the prey sinking her stout fangs where she thought the artery was. The beast reacted with a swipe, pummeling her. She landed in the lip of the crater, hurt by the enemy’s blow. She tried to regain her composure but instead she slid down the pit. She rolled in the slosh covering her fur with gray mud. The huntress landed with a splash in the dark water of the crater.
Hearing her struggle in the muck the beast swooped down, his dagger like teeth snapping with eagerness. He stopped where the water met the mud and started striking. The huntress stopped her movement as the beast began swinging his taloned limb. She dodged the vicious blows and retaliated back at her nemesis.
She dragged the beast down the waters every muscle of her body straining. She gritted her fangs as she gave her last ounce of energy. Gravity and the slippery layer of muck aided her intentions. The beast began to slide down. He tried to struggle back to the surface but the huntress sunk her teeth in his neck slits.
Both creatures fell and sank in the water, only one of them ready to face its freezing bite. The abomination fell with a loud splash, submerging down the deep water. His weight made him sink faster than the huntress. The beast wailed in distress every time his head pierced the surface of the water. Again and again he cried but the huntress pulled her back using her sharp retractable claws.
Then the rains stopped and the last gurgled breath of the beast bubbled in the water like small transparent globes, creating small ripples in the grey water when they burst. The huntress’ face emerged in the middle of it all, orb eyes glowing in the darkness. Thick vapor rushed out from victor’s nostrils. She slowly made her way to the muddy surface, her striped tail helping her steer as she swam in the cold murky waters of the pit.
The tigress limped towards the lip of the crater, singking her claw on solid ground. And she raised her head to the cold night sky and cried as though she was challenging the heavens itself. Her true roar echoed through the night, heard by the myriad creatures of the forest. No one answered back. No one challenged her call. She roared again for the last time signaling the end of the great hunt.
Reading a couple of Lovecraft stories inspired me to write this one. Basically, its about Shere Khan and the Predator’s house cat duelling and duking it out. I’m a bit biased so, I let the cat with a home court advantage win. This relaunch is the fixed version. I’m not sure if I spotted all the errors so for that I apologize.
Did you LIKE it? (Any comments? Suggestions? Don’t be afraid to sound off your opinions. If you want to give your critique or review, go ahead.) Have a nice day!