Elfwood is the worlds largest SciFi & Fantasy community.
- 151337 members, 2 online now.
- 13948 site visitors the last 24 hours.
I came up with this idea only recently, and I knew I had to write it. It turned out remarkably short, considering that this is me. You've seen, I'm sure, how long most of even my short stuff is.
I had an intention in writing this story of causing the reader to question just how intelligent the creature is. Once you read through it, you'll see why. The creature, and this tale, are © to me. I'll be putting an image of this creature in my art gallery soon.
This creature is not any species of existing (or so far as I know, extinct) feline, and the story involves magic more than is apparent at the beginning. Just read it. ;)
As she lay in the shadow of her den, she thought with mild amusement on the vagaries of time, and how days seemed to blur into each other in a way that didnít seem quite right to her. It was humorous, all the same.
She had trouble sleeping lately, for reasons unknown to her. The nights were chilly, and bore the tang of winteróstronger than she remembered originally, although she couldnít say why that was. Yet sometimes, a familiar scent would waft into her territory, and she felt the need to perk her ears and listen for something. She wasnít sure what it was, only that it drew her.
It was difficult for her to focus on anything for very long, beyond eating, sleeping, and drinking. Sometimes she found this strange, as if there ought to be more to life than that, and she must be missing something.
With a yawn, she pushed herself to her feet in a slinking crouch, then resettled to her haunches, licking a forepaw to wash her face with. She knew that this was not a habit native to her, but she had seen it somewhere. It seemed to work well enough for her purposes, and it had become as habitual as sunning herself on the rock near the creek where she took her morning drinks.
Abruptly, she sprang to her feet again, the chill in the air invigorating her, despite the threat of winter that it brought. The changing leaves dazzled her vision as she raced, for the sheer joy of it, toward the creek along a game trail. Her peltís markings seemed to become one with the fiery hues of the season. Animals fell silent as she passed, and she reveled in the power she felt, as if she were the queen of the forest.
At the edge of the water, she paused, sniffing slightly, causing the dark-gold feline head of her rippled reflection to do the same. She did not pause to admire or bat playfully at this image as she had done in the past; instead, she opted to ignore it. There was that familiar odor in the air again, tantalizing her, beckoning her to cross the creek rather than following the game trail and eating. The scent spoke of other things that whispered in the back of her skull, taunting her with something she felt she should know, but could not yet fathom. One thing she immediately associated it with was food, and she had not hunted since she had gorged herself three sunrises ago. She prided herself on recollecting the individual days, although she knew that it was likely only because of the important association with food.
Growling softly, she paced beside the small body of water for a moment, the tip of her heavily muscled tail twitching as she padded on silent paws. She flicked an ear, pausing, listening, but hearing nothing yet that could clear the mystery from her mind, she planted one orange-tipped paw in the creek bed and proceeded across. The days had melted into one another for so long that she was not entirely certain how many times she had ignored the urge, but it was time at last to satisfy her curiosity.
She crept more cautiously now, slinking with her longer hindquarters somewhat tucked under her to keep them out of the way, but careful not to move too low to the earth lest she injure herself with her own hind claws. Though the scent on the wind enticed her, though it was familiar, something lurked in the back of her mind, some memory perhaps, that warned her: Go forth, but go with caution.
Then she heard it, the sound she had been waiting for. It bubbled up from over a hill, and she crept nearer, nearer, until she made sense of it. A terrible rage filled her being as she remembered that something had been taken from her, something important, and all because . . .
Quietly, she slunk forth, in the shadows of the trees, closer and closer to the scent and the sound and the enticementóloved and hated at once. Familiar, familiar, too familiaróbut lost to her. Even the memories were too vague to call forth, and her rage built.
"Have you banked the fire yet, Jamisson?" a voice called clearly.
"Iím doing it now, old man," replied the voice apparently belonging to Jamisson.
It surprised the creature that she could understand at all, and so she hid beneath some bushes, hissing softly to herself but containing her fury even then by a thread.
"Hey, did you see that, Grandfather?" called the younger, and through the foliage, she could see the two-legged formóso tauntingly familiarópointing in her direction. "Something moved, I swear it did, something big and dark, like a shadow . . ."
"Most likely, it was a bear, Jamisson. It might have been something else, but if you leave it alone, it probably wonít bother us," the older man responded, adjusting the straps on one of the two mules that were tied near the small clearing where the pair had their campsite.
She flattened her ears, enraged that she had been noticed, but she didnít dare to move.
"No, no, Grandfather, look, itís still there! Like a cat, but notóhave you ever seen an animal like that before? Big and black, but I swear itís headís as gold as a daffodil!"
The old man, apparently humoring the younger, she decided, turned to face her. She tried to flatten herself, to hide. The fire, the smoke, the cooking meat, it was all so familiar. Why? Why did these things seem to be a part of her routine more than the daily drink at the creek, more than curling up in a nest of leaves at night to sleep, more than any aspect of her present life?
Then the memories somehow were triggered, unbidden, despite all of the times that she had attempted to call them forth and found herself unable. I was human once, her mind repeated over and over to her. She did not remember when, or how things changed, but, suddenly, she forgot her hostility and rushed forward to askówhy?
This was the question that had plagued her days, why, why, why? Why did her memories haze and blur? Why did it seem that she should separate day from day by more than when she had eaten and when she had not?
She did not see the grandfather whipping around with his hands extended, nor the young man lifting his bow as she, in her haste, sped forth to find an answer. As the light flared and the dual pain of fire-heat and wound-heat struck her simultaneously, she let out a wailing, rasping, animal cry. She remembered. She had her answer. It was the magic, always the magic; the accident had changed her, left her for dead in the rubble. She supposed she was dead.
Later, while she listened from the dark sanctity of an alleyway, the pair asserted that it was a terrible shame that they had to lose such an interesting pelt. They both swore up and down that, just before the creature fled to die, it had yowled out, "Why, why?"
Smugly, she slunk toward the magic guild. There would be a reckoning this night.
|Fate's Child - 01||The Reawakening of Kyn - 01|
|Escape||Sea of Dreams|