>Daniel's Shelf Blog
My son and I decided on a 2015 challenge - one flash fiction a month, between 500 and 1500 words.
Two Legs is so slow, no challenge for the Old Ones. But I am too small and clumsy to chase the Four Legs, so Aunt must train me on the Two Legs. These two will make me try harder. Two are harder to follow than one.
I slink through the tall grass beside the Hard Barren Place, just as Aunt has taught me. My head and tail are low and quiet as I stalk the Two Legs. It is Darkness, the time of the Four Legs, and the Two Legs should be more alert. It is the time of killing and feeding, but they walk along the Hard Barren Place unaware I am here. Aunt stays back in the trees, watching. She is close enough to see me, to see if I am doing as she has taught me, but far enough away the Two Legs cannot see her.
I can smell their stink. Strong like the musk of the big shaggy Four Legs but stinky like the foul smell of the small striped furry Four Legs. Aunt has told me Two Legs have bad noses. They cannot smell others of their kind without the stink they smear all over their ugly hairless bodies. I want to whine and rub my nose with my paws to wipe away the foul smell, but I cannot. I am hunting.
The Two Legs make a lot of noise as they walk along the edge of the Hard Barren Place. Their chatter is louder than the feathery Two Wings Two Legs in the meadows near home. I have seen Aunt grab these out of the air as they fled. Aunt is very fast. The Two Legs are not fast, but they are too big for even Aunt to bring down alone. Aunt and Other Aunt have told all the cubs that Two Legs are for practice only. Even if we were big enough to bring one down, we are forbidden. Many Two Legs would come and hunt us if we kill and eat a Two Legs.
I do not like hunting near the Hard Barren Place. It is too open and the ground is strange and hurts my pads. And it smells bad. Not like the stink the Two Legs use, more like the foul sticky black water that floats on top of the Wide Wet Place where Old Uncle has forbidden us to drink.
Oldest Brother disobeyed Old Uncle once and drank from the Wide Wet Place. We had been chasing the small furry Big Foot Four Legs and Oldest Brother was thirsty. Brother and I told him Old Uncle said we could not drink from the Wide Wet Place, but Oldest Brother laughed and said Old Uncle was not here and would not know. Oldest Brother drank greedily, getting his muzzle wet and black. We began to chase Big Foot Four Legs again, but Oldest Brother coughed up the foul water. He coughed it all up then coughed up the stinging yellow water that always comes after eating something bad and coughing it up. Old Uncle punished Oldest Brother when we got home. Oldest Brother had the foul black water stuck to his nose and his paws and legs where it splattered when he had coughed it up.
The Hard Barren Place has the same smell. The Two Legs do not notice as they walk along. They are making noise and snorting as they walk. Aunt thinks their snorting sound is the same as our laughing, but I do not think so. It is a strange loud bubbling sound, not like our happy silent laughing. They are holding their hairless paws strangely, waving them at the Fast Machines that travel the Hard Barren Place. When a Machine passes them they make loud angry noises and poke skinny parts of their paws in the air.
I am close enough to see this, but they still do not notice me. I do not understand how there can be so many Two Legs when they are so blind to the dangers around them. If I were the pack I could bring both Two Legs down quickly and drag them away to eat and feed the Little Ones and all the Old Ones.
Aunt says I must get close enough to see the strange eyes on the Two Legs. This is how I will know I am stalking them as I am trained. I creep closer, my belly nearly touching the ground, moving slowly and carefully so the grass around me does not move the wrong way. I am close enough to see the strange skins the Two Legs wear to cover their hairless bodies. I am close enough to smell the foul smell and see the strange black ground of the Hard Barren Place.
A Fast Machine moves past me, frightening me with its noise and smell, but I do not run away. I move closer to the Two Legs. Then the Fast Machine stops. Bright red faces, round like the Yellow Face and the White Face but very small and close, are on the strange tailless back of the Fast Machine. On the side of the Fast Machine the skin moves and a hole appears and another Two Legs calls something to the ones I am stalking. The Two Legs I am stalking make loud sounds and run toward the Fast Machine. Another opening appears in the side of the Fast Machine closest to me. The Two Legs I am stalking go into the Fast Machine, the hole closes, and the Fast Machine growls loudly and starts moving away, the two tiny Red Faces fading into the night.
I sigh loudly. I did not see their strange eyes. Now I must wait for more Two Legs to stalk before I can follow Aunt back home to eat what the pack has hunted while I have been training. I am very hungry. I hope I do not have to wait until the next Darkness.
I began writing as soon as I could hold a pen. Then came college, marriage, and kids, and my life was full.