We rush along roads of flattened grass, dodging any wood splinters or sharp pebbles in our way. Breaking into a run, our front paws pound the ground simultaneously, closely followed by our rear legs. Without looking back, we make our way to places we’ve never been before. Time doesn’t matter as we leap over hollow logs and beneath corrugated iron. Left behind by past people attempting to live sentiently, the metal echoes beneath our digital pads as our nails leave scratches within the brown rust. For that is all we can do: run, run, run until we lose sight of reality.
But sometimes it doesn’t end like that.
A foot thuds onto your path, causing you to rush headlong into the offender’s legs. Human: the worst of its kind. Looking back for the first time since we broke into a run, your eyes reflect a cold black circle, the depths of which cannot be seen by any animal. I watch as you back away slowly, feeling as helpless as when a natural disaster strikes; standing still isn’t an option, yet perhaps movement will make it worse. The man sniffs and smirks, cooing in an indistinguishable language. And all the while, staring at you. Lowering my head, my feet pawing the soil nervously, I calculate the situation. He could kill you in a shot if I rushed at him, and I’d be left empty: I’d never be able to curl up on a tuft of grass with you, our fur gently tickling each other’s noses. I cock my head as your ears flatten, furrowing your brow and wrinkling your nose as your mouth opens almost imperceptibly. A plan, perhaps? Your teeth glint in the heat of the afternoon. So much so that Man lowers his gun slightly, appraising your ferocity with a quick glance. Beads of sweat run along creases in his neck, dripping down into the seams of his cotton shirt. Snapping wildly, you leap at Him, shoulder blades rippling beneath your impeccable fur as your attempts for canine to meet flesh double. I edge closer, low beneath the wild grass and swishing my tail back and forth, poised and ready to pounce. Much slower than us, He reacts to your advances, cocking His gun and attempting to aim at your writhing body. Still snapping, you finally make contact with His ample lower calf, biting down deeply as you always do with your prey.
But will you spring away from this meat as easily as you have with your other victims?
Or will a dance with death be inevitable?
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