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“We’ve made it in.” I congratulated Tigris mentally.
“Yup!” she confirmed as she flexed her muscles and pounced at imaginary prey.
“I’m hungry.” she complained.
“You always are.” I commented, and was rewarded with a mischievous smile, that a child would have if being caught with a box of cookies. One hand inside the box, the other, stuffed with cookie scrums being shoved into it’s mouth. “Why don’t we split up? You go hunt for food, and I’ll go find the idiotic humans who are planning to cut this forest down.”
“Deal.” she answered, and without a moments hesitation leaped into the vegetation and disappeared from sight.
We’d been traveling all day to get to this forest. My goal was to track down the humans and some how stop them from cutting this forest down. There are too many trees, too many homes, too many animals dyeing just because of humans, I was determined to save this one.
We had been traveling for two days and all this morning to get here, so it was only natural that Tigris was hungry. In fact, so was I, but I was more interested in locating the humans.
After walking around a while, eyes open so as not to crash into anything; Mind fully extended and searching for human minds. Yes, it might seem weird to you, but I have what you may call a “super power”. It’s more of a fancy word for a gift. I am gifted. My mind is much more powerful than most, I have the gift to be able to locate and connect to people’s minds, what you may call “reading minds”, but it’s much more sophisticated than that, and takes much more concentration.
After a while, I finally caught hold of a human mind, sitting just barely inside the boundaries my mind could reach. I quickly turned towards it, crashed into a tree branch, and fell on my butt. It’s common. Sometimes I get too carried away, looking only through my mind; mind open, eyes closed. “You’ve got to stop doing that!” I thought to myself as I rubbed my forehead. “You are not Tigris. You are not a tiger. You have the body of a human. You still have to watch out for branches. Stop crashing into things!
I finally reached the clearing where the humans were. I picked a group of brushes in which I could hide and see the men well, but they couldn’t see me. I could sense their weak minds completely off guard and easily crept in.
At first, when I was younger, I had not liked to sort through peoples memories. I felt like I was a criminal, going through people’s belongings without permission. Then, as I grew older, I decided I would only do it to help others. I only looked through people’s minds as much as necessary, but not a slight bit more. I was going in, searching for a memory of some higher boss giving the men orders about what, where, when, and how much of the forest they were to cut down.
You must understand, this process takes a lot of energy and deep, uninterrupted concentration. Looking through people’s memories is much harder than reading their thoughts. I was so concentrated on the memories, I was not paying attention to anything else. Nothing, including my surroundings, a common mistake.
While I was racking through the one man’s brain, I was not paying attention to the closest human to me. At that point, the human had chosen a tree, and was now proceeding to cut it down. It was going to fall directly on me.
The tree was creaking, the trunk, separating, breaking, fiber by fiber. Leaning now. It would fall on the target any second now, but I was already deep in the memories, finding more and more stored in creeks and corners of the mind. - A family eating pancakes at the breakfast table. The memory of the strong, warm smell of pancakes was filling my lungs. The taste, generating saliva on my tongue. At the corner of my mind, I realized I was craving food, and the memory of pancakes was too much, making it almost impossible for me to concentrate. - Closer; closer; closer the tree fell, reaching out to greet the ground below. Too submerged in the memory of breakfast to notice my surroundings, yet again. Closer than I’d ever been to dying.
Then, at the last moment, a black streak fell from a tree nearby. Gaining momentum, it sprinted across the ground, heading in my direction. Boom! We collided. The force pushed me out from under the tree. Out, of my concentrated state of mind. Out of danger and risk of dying.
I opened my eyes just in time to see the tree fall down not too far from me. I noticed a pang of overwhelming pain surging from my arm. I held my breath and fought the urge to scream. I could not risk it. Not here, not now, not this close to the humans. I would be a dead give away and I would probably have to give up my whole goal, and the reason why I came here. I couldn’t. Besides, what would happen to Tigris? I the humans heard me, and took me in, would I ever see her again? The thought of loosing my only friend, the closest thing I had to family, was almost as painful as my arm. No matter what happens, I forced myself to promise you can’t, you won’t scream! This time, I stayed alert. Watched, but did not move or make the slightest sound as the black panther, who’d saved my life, stood above me. It was, tall, strong muscular, exactly how a panther should be; with one exception. It had deep brown, almost black eyes. The pupils, were not slits, like cat eyes, they were circular, human like. I reached out to the panther’s mind and was able to catch one thought, “Idiot!” then the panther lifted it’s paw, and knocked me out.