Those things who hunt me.

I run through the woods. The shadows of the trees are the only things that can protect me when they hunt me. They come with fire. They come with claws and they come with their boomsticks. Sometimes the booms hurt me.

I bleed. I hurt. I scratch the ground in agony. I cry out at the stars. I want to be left alone; I don’t want to get hurt. But, they are not always the ones hunting. When my belly pains me, I fill it. And I only fill it with warm kill.

I leave my home in the dark when the moon is black and the clouds are grey. I sneak away from my shadows and seek out the hunters’ dens. Not hunters now. Prey. I see their rocks. The ones that they live in with the look-in walls and the smoking tops. I hide in my shadows. I crouch down and peer in.

I see prey inside. One of the little ones, asleep in the nest. But that is not it. I see one of the big ones too; with the furry face and the tough flesh. He sits beside the little one. He has a boomstick and fire glowing in his mouth.

I do not want to get hurt. I move on. Under the shadows, in the dark I prowl. I look for easier food. I look out for foot noise. I hunt for flesh. The scent of prey fills me.

I move out. Slowly. One limb at a time. It is dark. I am hidden. I am hungry.

I look at the prey. It is walking down the path moving under the line of the hunters fake moons. It is one of the smaller ones. With the long hair and the tender meat on its chest. Its smell makes my hunger grow.

I follow. It moves in the light. I follow it in the dark. I crawl carefully and without noise. It doesn’t hear me, but I hear it. It doesn’t see me, but I see it.

I move closer. I see it closer now. The meaty bottom and the fleshy chest. My mouth waters.

I pace it and see my chance. A break in the light from the fake moons. Darkness that it must walk through. Out of its territory of light and into my shadows. My dark.

It's almost there. I crouch down. It moves closer. I tense my long limbs. Almost time to strike. It is inches away now. I ready my talons. Now. Darkness. I spring out.

I grab my prey. It tries to screech. It tries to call for the big ones with the boomsticks, but I don’t let it. I cover its mouth with my big hand and dig into its flesh with the other. It is soft. It is vulnerable. It flails its limbs at me. It strikes me, but it does not hurt.

I keep digging and tearing. I tear off the bottom noise maker. No meat there. But I cannot stay here. The moons in the stone dens light up.

I hear the hunters shouting. I see the fires lighting. My prey has stopped fighting. It has stopped kicking. It has stopped hitting. But the hunters are out now. They see me.

I see them. The ones with the furry faces and the fire and the claws and the boomsticks. They use their boomsticks and I run. They give chase, but I am faster.

I am big and they are small. I keep galloping. I am careful not to drop my meal. I am far away now, but I keep going. I still hear the hunters’ shouts. I can still hear the boomsticks.

I keep speed until I am back to the woods. Under the trees and in the shadows, I am home. I have warm kill. I fill my belly.

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