Monday, April 25, 2005

On The Prowl

~ The large cat had assumed the classic crouch, its body low to the ground. Its eyes and ears were attuned to its target which was milling about at the edge of the clearing. This was a drama that played out every night; the nervous but unsuspecting prey stalked by the hunter.
~ Somewhere out of sight was a second cat and it too was watching the animal. The two hunters were clearly working together, a team that been successful on many other nights. The smaller of the two would charge at the prey sending it scurrying for its life into the path of the other. The cats had aligned themselves in such a way that the prey had only one avenue of escape. That route however, was reduced greatly as the cats one after the other began to slowly close the distance between them and their prey.
~ The only sound noticeable was that of the prey foraging for food as it moved furtively in small arcing paths. It carefully avoided venturing too far into the open plain. Although it was a nocturnal animal, its eyes were much inferior to those of the cats. Under these conditions, it relied heavily upon acute hearing and an enhanced sense of smell.
~ There were other sounds, muffled sounds of the night in the distance. Those sounds and the creatures responsible for them were of little interest to the hunters and the hunted in this corner of the darkened landscape. An overcast sky had all but covered a bright full moon, casting no shadows but blanketing the scene in an eerie darkness.
~ The eyes of the cats were especially adapted for such darkness, unlike their prey. Normally its hearing and sense of smell would serve the small creature well. These cats however, were experienced at the hunt. They had been careful to remain downwind. Their stealth was a product of instinct. If perchance the cats' scent was detected or if their approach was heard, at this distance the prey had little chance of survival.
~ When the swift charge of the cats had been sensed, the poor creature had only a brief moment in which to react. Perhaps if there been only one predator bearing down upon it, there would have been another day. If it had decided to run boldly at the charging cats, it might have been able to have fled between them. Those options of course, needed time to formulate, time it didn't have.
~ The morning light crept over the plain ever so slowly. The darkness was dissipating, giving away to shrinking shadows. The night sounds were gone now, the creatures of the night had retreated to their hidden havens.
~ I came upon the scene of the drama from the night before. There were the two cats at rest beside the carcass of their kill. Contented for now, they had not yet fed upon the tiny creature.
~ Only when the whirring of the can opener would be heard from the kitchen, would they hungrily stir. Successful in cornering and ultimately catching the mouse, our two cats waited patiently as I disposed of their prize they had left for me to find. Only too happy to accept the praise in the form of of strokes to their heads and backs, they meowed and purred.
~ Back in the familiar crouch, not as a predator, but this time eating from their respective dishes, the two cats gorged themselves. Shortly the two of them would disappear somewhere, migrating to some asylum to sleep. Yes, they will venture out from time to time to the scene of the kill. The recent taste of the kill will have them out there again tonight. When the night once again rules the sky, they will rule the plain. They will be on the prowl.
~ NO.119

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