Fallen Power

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Wind whistles over my fur, chilling me to my core. Brown earth shaking, red lights burn my paws. My paw lightly touched the brown dirt and it exploded. The metal embedded deep in my leg, the shards tear my sinews of my muscle. It burns. The fire eats away my fur. My skin feels a breeze, and a searing pain. The fragments of burning metal have branded me . I can feel my weakness on the air; my life is worth little now. The hunters will track my blood and scent my fear. My carcass will be theirs, as this fire that creeps up my flesh will have eaten the beating of my heart by then. I can feel death calling me, its pull is hard to resist.
The voices are loud, and my eyes catch a glimpse of flashing silver through the bushes. The smell of sweat and killing drifts to my nose. I hobble away into the jungle. I disappear far away, so the soldiers won’t torture me while I am too weak to run away. Blood seeps away from the stump of my paw gushing into the heart of Africa. My stomach growls, I flinch expecting a rival tiger to dig his claws into my back as his teeth tear my neck. If I am rushed at I will collapse, my feet will fall and I will stand no more. I don’t know why my paw was there one second and gone the next, I put my weight lightly on the path and the pain began. The flames flickered out but t he fire is still there pulsing on my body, tearing me apart. The men must have been the cause of my dying. The gunshots break open the air of each day, ripping the morning to pieces.
Even from the trees that stand gnarled and twisted deep in the African bush cries of anguish and weeping reach our ears. The tigers, mighty princes and princesses that we are shudder away from facing the men. The ‘dying flame branches’ they carry take down their prey faster than our lunge. The men race through the bush trying to take each other down knowing that the first to fall will die. No longer do they stay in their own domain and let the forest care for its own- they venture into the wild where we belong. Their fire doesn’t stay within them sometimes animals fall, the stray antelope to wander in front of them falls to its knees dying a cowards death. The men don’t let them die in battle kicking out at the predator that leaps upon their backs as in the hunt. The men dismember each other with machetes and commit cruelty after cruelty.
The law of the jungle has been broken and the natural order disturbed. If the order was right I would not be limping towards nowhere that is safe with my paw torn off by the exploding hellfire. I should be hunting and running on the plains of my land – free as I was meant to be. I was born to run and to hunt but now I run from the fighters who would skin me and feed me to their starving men. I can go on no more even as I hear shouting and loud noises to my left.
Then the vegetation is silent –the people of the jungle are no more. War has dominated. I try to scramble up a small tree by my side. It is little compared to the great-contorted trunks I climb to sleep in the clear sunlight. I slip and I fall sliding to the ground jarring my paw in agony. Once more I attempt to reach a safer haven. Once more I fall. Finally I let my back paws carry me and I leap thrusting all my power into that one last leap as dark skinned men burst through the bushes with ‘dying flame brances’ firing. I land on the branch and I almost slip. I lay there holding on with my raw tail that is now furless. My teeth bite the bark in a tribute to the pounding pain that has encompassed my entire body. I hold on. I close my eyes. The men shoot each other, one falls; shots come from somewhere near by to sink into to a body. The men just keep going running from the fire. I hear heightened screams as someone is nearing their kill. My eyes are squinted shut blocking out the ruin of the jungle. I think I dream of falling but it isn’t a dream. My eyes feel as if they no longer see. My limp body falls from the tree-falling falling. I cannot stop myself. Eyes glazed over in the moments of death, a broken and beaten body is fallen in the jungle to the blood stained floor. Africa has blood on the hands of her earth, forever more.





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