The jungle is alive tonight.
The deluge drums down tirelessly on the iron tundra.
Yellow lights slip from the spaces between the folds of the stone and twisting metal.
a proud, silent hunter,
weaving my way through the spilling gold,
keeping my black coat painted in the dark.
My yellow eyes search hungrily for prey.
Under the moon, the jungle becomes a different place.
The air is filled with the rattling of cowering animals in their concrete caves
and the smoke filled voices of the nightcrawlers that lace the dark.
They are not like me.
They are large and loud,
and their breath smells like melting bones.
They stay out of my way.
I pad along the painted and scratched ground, stepping softly, never breathing.
I don’t move, I slip, through the night.
This is no time for the weak.
Bright neon birds, flickering and singing, line my path.
They never rest, only change color and beckon to any passing creature in tempting voices.
The rain begins to hiss, pelting the rusted overgrowth with steely drops.
Iron never rusts in the jungle at the center of the earth.
The thunder begins.
From the depths of the darkness comes a sickening roar of fire and smoke.
It rolls slowly across the land. My dark hairs stand on end. My back arches.
This is no time for the weak.
The war horn recedes into a growl.
I turn my head in time to see the shadow of a king skip across the cracked brick trunks reaching into the twilight.
It is not the silent hunter I am,
It bellows and screeches and tears down the navy-glazed earth with such destructive grace, ripping relentlessly through bright yellow lights hanging from steel branches.
The King slices through the quiet concrete jungle.
My thin legs do not move.
I lift myself from the shadows, curved as the moon, only darker.
I could slip away into the cracks of the darkness,
never be heard of again,
a silent nothing.
But I would not see the King of the Jungle.
I would not witness its silver plated armor, and storming, spinning feet that squeal and slide across dimly-lit corners, kicking death-ash up in their wake.
I would not hear its iron heart explode a thousand times a second, screaming to be released from its heavy armor and released into the night.
I would not smell its black blood crawling through its veins, burning and scarring everything it touches.
I would not see…
The Eyes of the Beast.
They snap open in a second.
They cut through the night like blinding yellow nails, shredding it to bits with raw savagery.
I am caught mercilessly in an iron vice grip, no matter how much I struggle,
I cannot escape the king’s blinding pathways,
speeding ever closer.
They light the way forward with divinity in cones of fire.
A weak purr of indiscernible emotion escapes me.
My talons slide out, and grip the impenetrable earth.
I look deep into the heavenly Eyes of the Beast.
It breaths in,
And from its metallic maw breaks through a roar of such power that somehow I am released from its gaze.
The time has come.
As the beast charges and releases its war cry, I pounce with claws outstretched, and we tumble into the night together, a king and a silent knight.
The beast lets out a dying screech.
The noise, oh the noise! My folded ears twitch.
The Eyes of the Beast shut tight as quick as they had opened.
Their cones of fury and beauty cannot slip through.
I have done it.
The King has been dethroned.
The armor is split,
It opens, and the king spills his royal blood,
It shuffles towards me quickly,
Surrounds me in the rain,
I am lifted by the rosy pink gore of the beast, feeling it breath in and out as the rain beats the ground with fervor.
“Oh, god.” I hear it whisper. “Oh, god.”
I feel the cold rain roll down my face with wet fingers
A silent hunter,
doomed to be muted forevermore by the dark,
yet I have seen the light of the King,
and heard its exploding metal heart stop in a second.
I am the silent King of the Jungle, if only for a glorious moment.
The blood carries me away, somewhere I’ll never find.
I shut my yellow slits-for-eyes.
It has been a good battle.