Surprisingly, lately, I found myself sitting on a pasture with the greenest grass I have ever seen. (Not that I saw too much grass in my life, but that’s beside the point).
I saw that movement from the corner of my eyes and instinctively crouched lower, sneaked closer, and with every single step, I felt the grass blades below my feet.
Again I discovered the movement… and then I saw it. It was actually smaller than I thought it would be. In a flash of brown, gray, and pink, it disappeared into the ground.
Carefully I tiptoed closer and found the entrance of its house. I was a bit irritated. Why crossing my path and then disappearing? It smelled, in an odd way, intriguing. I used my nose, felt my muzzle move from one to the other side, my whiskers trembled. I had barely ever realized how wonderful my whiskers are. My ears turned forward and back, trying to catch that shooing sound it makes when it walks. Still crouched, I decided to wait at that hole for a while, my nose and ears working constantly.
And then it shot out of another spot in the ground, not even six feet away, and ran. It was fast… I jumped up and followed… there was no more hiding. I sprinted after it. My feet were feeling every single crumb of dirt, every bumpiness. My eyes registered how fast the surroundings passed; it was like a blur. I stretched, gained speed. And then, it started panicking and turned to the right… just when I took another angle, it changed back, even speeding up. I jumped forward, a leap, another leap, calculating where it would be next.
And then, when I took the last leap, I knew I had it. I jumped, further than I ever did, higher than I ever did….. and I dove down on it. I could see it. I could almost taste it, only half an inch, the fraction of a second…
And then I woke up…
Mommy laughed and then picked me up, hugged me, and caressed me. She’s always sweet. She takes good care of my two sisters and me. But she can’t replace the glorious adventure of hunting a mouse.
And that’s, what Mommy said, makes her laugh… when I sleep, with my ears turning forward and back, flat to my head, with my nose twitching, my whiskers trembling, my feet moving… to her, I’m just fidgeting, but to me, in my head, I’m instinctively checking my surroundings, following my prey. I’m on a hunt. Maybe only in my dreams. I’m still glad Mommy feeds me. I’m not sure I would know what to do with the mouse once I catch it. But it’s nice to imagine anyway, to be an instinct-driven, feral, wild tiger.
(Short Story Copyright A. J. Alexander, May 2021)