She is shadows

Written for the game Fire Starter–Writing Prompt #4


I wonder what would happen if I turned into you.

You are silent and beautiful and deadly–you are nothing like me. My human eyes only catch glimpses–your sleek body napping in the shade of a tree, your whiskers through the flowers, your claw marks on the lawn.

Papa says you’re trouble.

But I know you never mean to be. You stalk the night on paws of shadow, play in the meadow, or swim the river like a ghost. I know you can be gentle–I’ve seen your cubs, down by the meadow. I held my breath and watched as you panted in the heat, their lumpy bodies rolling over your paws.

Papa sees only the blood you leave in the grass–the red paths where you dragged carcasses that used to be his cows. I know you only do it because you are hungry. Possession means nothing to you–you see only things as they are. This cow, he is food, you say. And then you make it so.

I wonder, if I were like you, would I be happier? I’d walk the jungle in your footprints, and lie by the edge of the river. I’d leave the noise of the manor and live by birdsong.

I wonder if Papa would want to shoot me too.

Would I be clever, like you, sweet tiger? Would I lead him in circles and vanish in the tall grass? Would I dance by moonlight and raise my children by the jungle’s code?

I think you are a lake that no rumble can shake. No war bombs, no men with guns, no soldiers marching–you are untouchable and I want to be that too.