Entrance – #writephoto
Gulls cried raucously above as they journeyed to their nesting place. Below, field mice scurried amongst autumn’s detritus. And perched atop the bare limestone cliff between above and below, was she – the embodiment of patience.
The small pond near the base of the cliff drew myriad creatures, and she dismissed them with regal indifference. The family of tiny squeakers; much too small. The antlered four-leg and his harem of females; too strong and too many. The tree-climbing squeaker-hunter; a tasteless morsel she was not yet desperate enough to stoop to.
At last, worthwhile prey appeared; a tusked snuffler, not yet at his full adult weight. The meat would be delicious and fat; the risk, low.
She tensed. Keen eyes calculated the distance she needed to drop and the speed she needed to pounce at to catch the snuffler before he could escape. Muscles taut, she prepared to strike.
The snuffler lifted his head, small eyes suddenly wide, ears swivelling this way and that. He grunted in alarm and raced for the trees, out of reach of her leap. Irritated, she lashed her tail, then heard the noise that had spooked the snuffler. A melodic chatter, like birdcall but not birdcall. A sound she had heard before, but only from a distance.
Two small furless appeared at the edge of the forest. They didn’t even stop to check their surroundings before making their way to the pond. They didn’t register the birdsong silenced by the swift departure of the snuffler. All they saw was the peace of the water.
They would do.
They did not see the blur of movement as she sprang, mottled fur against grey rock. They did not hear the yellowhammer cry in alarm at the violence about to be done. The fall, the landing, the pounce, and she had one, long teeth biting deep, warm blood flowing into her mouth.
Both furless screamed. The one she had caught fell swiftly silent, and the other one ran like the snuffler, fast as its two legs could carry it. She let it go; she had caught the largest, and the meat would see her through several days.
The struggle now over, the birds began to sing again. The yellowhammer admonished her, then flew away.
With her hunt successful, she picked up the still-warm furless and turned towards the small dark hole in the side of the cliff, where four hungry cubs awaited her return.
Today’s short story was written for Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt, “Entrance”, which is the featured image at the top of this post. When I saw the title, I actually interpreted it as “entrance” as in “to fill with wonder/delight” – so when I saw the photo it took a minute for me to process that it was an actual entrance. Doh! 🙂
If you like this story, please check out Sue’s blog for many other stories based on this prompt (if you haven’t already).
The lynx picture is from R Winkelmann of Pixabay.