CΩT (Part 22, Scene 1)

I’m back in the woods, back between the towering, living trees, their outstretched arms a welcome departure from the stark shininess of the humans’ city. How could anyone prefer such sterility to the teeming life of the forest? Even as I think this, the feel of the woods I’m within is not as wild as those of my kitten-hood, no doubt a byproduct of their proximity to the human apartments. I guess I’ll just have to go a bit deeper. My body elongates as I pick up speed, zig-zagging through the trees and leaping over the undergrowth that attempts to impede my movement in vain. Startled birds scatter from their perches at my passing, but these tempting little morsels are unnecessary after my meal made of the delicious water-dweller, the strong taste of which is still upon my tongue. I pause once I’ve passed far enough into the wilderness for my liking and look around. Though I can sense activity, much of it is either subdued or far away. Nothing much happens during the day anyhow, so I decide to take a nap ’til nighttime. I pick a tree and scale it until I find a spot suitable for slumber. Locking my claws into the tree-skin, I close my eyes, wrap my tail ‘round myself, and it’s not long before I pass into sleep.

I awaken to howling, though it doesn’t sound like wolves. The howls are cut short and turn to yelps, and then there is the padding of paws. I sit up upon my perch and peer down through the limbs. Ah, it’s the strange smaller wolves – I’ve seen them at times, and they’re honestly more common than the larger wolves. Their mouths are narrower and their ears rounder and more prominent, the ears of which especially makes them look a bit silly. Other than that they are pretty similar to their more robust cousins, aside from the fact that they typically don’t smell as nice. Just as they are about to pass under my tree I drop down in front of them.

“Why running?” I ask in my broken dog dialect. Their response is immediate: six mouths yelp in unison and they try to dash around me, but I jump to the side and cut them off.

“Not another one!” I hear one of them say, and then they break and run in all directions, any hope they had of sticking together as a pack apparently abandoned. I choose one to follow (the one who made the strange remark about ‘another one’) and dash after it. It of course is much slower than me, and I leap forward, tackling it to the ground.

“What mean, another one?”

“Forest full of you power cats! Beat us and stole our kill. Please don’t kill!”

I step off the smaller-wolf and look in the direction from which they came. Another ‘power cat?’ Do they mean one of the mountain cats or… but I doubt they’d be this scared of a mountain cat, they probably see those all the time. Could it be that I’m not unique? It would seem that the answer to this question awaits me within these woods. I press on, eyes wide and whiskers aquiver.

( ©2017 Sean Dorsey )

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