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White Over Dark
The pitch black panther leaped from tree to tree shrouded in the darkness. A dark rumbling growl emerged from her in anticipation of the feast that laid ahead. She lay ... tense … with her muscles twitching, ready to pounce. The bright illuminating green eyes that were engineered for this exact task, focused on the poor, helpless warthog. It had been days since she had first spotted the young pitiful boar. She had waited patiently and slowly for the warthog to reunite with his tribe where she would make her final pounce. She had spotted her target. An old dying boar who could not keep up with the tribe. The boar was fast asleep, unaware of his imminent demise. The panther finally made her leap, salivating in anticipation for the wonderful meal that lay ahead. Everything started to slow down. Nothing else mattered. Her attention was so focused that she did not notice the hunter hidden behind a tree.
In mid-air, the panther braced for landing with an assist from her long, marvelous tail. Then everything went black. The shot awoke the sleeping boar and was startled to see the bleeding panther by his side. Wasting no time, he started to run as fast as his injured body would let him to warn anyone and anything about what he had rightfully assumed was a hunter in the premises.
Thomas Catcher stood above his conquest with a pang in his heart. He knew what he was doing was wrong, but he had no choice. He did the tiresome chore of loading the majestic huntress on top of his truck. The tedious ride back to base was something he had done since he was just a teenager. The bright lights of his car pierced through the darkness that seemed to stretch out forever. He was preparing his speech for the Ivory Queen. She had recently promoted him to the captain of the South American division of her empire. He was responsible for 12 of Glan’s men who had come from China and was not happy. Yes, he was an excellent and prolific hunter but he had had to hunt to provide for his family but now he was doing this to satisfy some blank face on the opposite side of a computer screen. Catcher hated what he had become, and whenever he thought of the horrible atrocities he was committing, he felt sick to the stomach.
He entered the campsite and parked his truck under a patch of abnormally thick foliage. After a long look at the limp body of the cat, he deposited her into a large storage case. He sighed and walked over to the fire where his colleagues were gathered, ready to pounce on a feast of their own… The group was wearing stunningly white khakis and button up shirts and preparing to eat whatever was going to arrive. A crate of M.R.E’s came out of the large green tent. Everybody attacked the rations like a pack of hyenas. Today was a special day which is why everybody had dressed up for the Queen, who was doing her bi-annual inspections. After finishing their plain meal, the men stood around the fire talking about their daily kills and conquests. Suddenly a roar blasted through the clearing. Although the pure white helicopter was small, the deafening sound could be heard throughout the jungle. Immediately, the preppy Chinese men snapped into perfectly straight lines, the flood lights reflecting off of their uniforms. Waiting for the rotors to quiet, Thomas gulped. He knew what he was going to do, yet he had no idea how the Queen would react. The rotors came to a quick halt, and Yang walked out. She had a walk that showed that she just owned any room or jungle she walked into. The dead and quiet eyes of her servants followed her as she walked towards Thomas. She stopped around five feet in front of him. Making solid eye contact with him, Yang uttered “Follow Mr. Catcher.”
“Yes, your majesty,” was his quick response.
Following the queen, Thomas couldn’t help but notice her bright white robe. He shook his head. He had more important things to worry about. As the pair entered Yang’s private tent, Thomas could almost feel his heart trying to jump out of his chest. The two turned back to long and quiet eye contact. Finally, Yang broke the silence in her choppy English. “I heard you finally got that panther that we've been looking for haven't you Mr. Catcher?”
“Yes, ma’am. I put her in her storage container before dinner.”
The silence continued and Thomas could almost physically feel the tension in the humid air.
“Is there anything you'd like to say to me, Thomas?” Said Yang breaking the silence once again.
“Um yes ma’am,” his mind racing, “Well I mean… You know.”
“You are not your usual self Captain. What's wrong?”
All of his life Thomas was known for being calm and ready under pressure but at the time where he needed his steel nerves, they failed him.
“What is it, Captain. Tell me right now or you'll end up like your panther!” said Yang with force behind her words.
Stuttering, Thomas responded, “Um. Well I-I-I”
Before he could finish Yang leaped towards him and grabbed his shirt. Despite their height difference, this invoked terror into the captain.
“SPIT IT OUT RIGHT NOW OR I'LL STRANGLE YOU WITH MY BARE HANDS!”
“I WANT TO GO BACK HOME! THE ONLY REASON I YOU STOLE ME FROM MY FAMILY! YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND! I DON'T KNOW WHERE MY FAMILY IS! I DON'T KNOW THEY'RE ALIVE BUT I SURE AS HELL WANT TO KNOW! I need to see my family.”
After a pause, Yang responded with force, “Get out.”
Thomas started walking out. He turned back to say something but the words escaped him. The ruthless Ivory Queen pulled the trigger. As his limp body fell to the floor, Yang calmly holstered her pistol and walked out.
On the muddy floor, drowning in his own blood, lay the famous hunter. His white uniform was becoming heavy with blood. Thomas flashed back to his family and his heart panged. His beautiful, his elegant wife and his son that he was oh so proud of. In the last moments of his life, he realized how similar his life was to the poor panther he killed earlier in the day. They both just wanted to eat. They both wanted to provide for their family. They both hid under the cover of the night. They both died at the hands of mankind and their oppression. As his eyes closed, his last sight would be the horrific and disgusting whiteness of the room.