The Leopard and the Blackbird

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A Leopard is having a snack and is interrupted by a rude Black bird that is trying to sell information. What happens after that is surprising, and weird.

Submitted: August 29, 2016

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Submitted: August 29, 2016

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"I have news for you Cat," said the Red-winged Black Bird to the Leopard. 

The Leopard glanced at the Black Bird briefly, and then went back to her snack; a tasty leftover morsel of meat and bone-scrap from the previous days kill.

"Hay, I'm talking to you, you overgrown..."

The big cat quickly snarled at the bird just enough to shut it up and caused it to fly out of the Cat's reach, then the bird returned to its previous place on the dead log; a dead log to which they were both perched.

"Well I guess I got your attention that time," the bird managed to say while being very watchful of the Cat's left paw.

The Cat snickered in only the way a Cat of that size could express it, and then she said, "You had my attention as soon as you flew into view. Nothing escapes my vigilance when it might serve as a source of food, not that you would serve as anything close to that; after all, you are hardly a bite."

The Black-Bird snapped back at the Cat, "OK, so you are very observant. Do you want my information or don't you?" 

Once again, the Leopard glanced at the bird and asked, "What information?"

"It is costly information," Miss Kitty, "and it requires a jungle oath too," the Black-Bird replied while fluttering above the end of the log.

The Leopard snarled and lashed out with that treacherous left paw, capturing the bird within.

Holding the bird close to her mouth, the Big Cat said, "Don't ever call me that! My name is PITAC, I am a direct descendant of Lee-tron and Millavee and you will address me with respect. If you do not, then I swear I will use your bones to pick my teeth when I am finished eating this meat-scrap."

With that said, Pitac released the bird back to it's previous place at the end of the log; and after doing so Pitac asked, "What is your name bird?"

"Well Miss Pitac, they call me Chatter," Chatter replied with a very nervous sound in his voice.

Then Pitac demanded, "Now tell me the news that you think is important enough to disturb my snacking."

"Split-tooth and his brother Snarls have left the grass-lands and have entered the jungle. They are coming in your direction and they may have picked-up your scent," the bird replied while still trembling.

"Do either have a pride with them?" Pitac inquired.

"No, it appears that neither of them have what it takes, yet," Chatter said, it appears that they still hut together as brothers.

You should get out of the area, they are bigger and a lot stronger than the last time you encountered them. I don't think that you would stand a chance against them now."

"If they have picked up my scent, then they will track me until they find me, that is the way that they are, that is the way they hunt," Pitac replied, while leaving the bone-scrap for Chatter to pick at.

"I need a plan," Pitac thought out loud.

"I can give you a plan, I have good plans; I think of them all the time. I thought of this information for an oath plan all by myself. It has minor flaws, but hay, it's a work in progress," Chatter replied.

"How far away are the lions?" Pitac asked Chatter.

"One, maybe two days if they are distracted," Chatter replied as he continued to pick at the bone.

 

***

 

Meanwhile, across the jungle, the two male Lions were having a hard time navigating the terrain. The forest growth was not what they were used to and any trail-like passages were often obstructed.

"This is worse than the grass-lands, all this foliage," Snarlsbitterly complained.

To which Split-tooth replied, "There is little food out there lately, in this jungle we may find something filling for a change; like a Leopard."

"You really need to get over that last meeting with the Leopard, Pitac showed courage taking on both of us. She could have easily disappeared into the jungle's foliage, but she stood her ground; I have to respect that." Snarls said as he slapped a branch from in front of his face.

Split-tooth growled and then stated, "We were younger then, we are bigger and stronger now. We should have no problem taking her down."

Snarls stopped and snarled at Slit-tooth, then he said, "And at what price? Even if we find her and she doesn't disappear into the jungle at the first sight of us, by then we will have used up much of our energy tracking her. We will not be at our best.

She may well split another one of your teeth, or mine, and even worse, she might get lucky and lay those claws into either one of our bellies; there would be no healing from that wound. No, I think I'd rather take on a family of Orangutans than to tangle with her again."

Just at that moment Chatter flew in and landed in a nearby tree, then he called down to the two lions, "You'd better get out of Pitac's jungle, she doesn't like intruders. She sent me to tell you that she will give you one chance to leave, or you will not live to see another day.

Well, nothing Ticks-Off a male lion more than someone telling them what to do, especially a female Leopard.

Split-tooth called to the bird and asked, "Well, we wouldn't want to run into Pitac on our way out of the jungle, so tell us where she is so that doesn't happen."

Chatter called back, "That trail that you are on leads to a clearing in this jungle, she is napping in the sun at the far end of the clearing; so it is best that you go back the way you came from."

Split-tooth told Snarls, "She is in a clearing and napping, it will be an easy attack for two male lions. Now come, we will dine on Leopard today."

With that said, the two lions picked up their pace and continued along the trail that Chatter had told them not to.

 

***

It wasn't long before the two reach the clearing and saw Pitac sunning herself on a cluster of rocks.

"She is fast asleep and hasn't picked up our sent," Split-tooth whispered, "let's widen our approach now."

The two lions put distance between them and continued towards Pitac's position.

Moments later the call of a Red-winged Black Bird rang out across the clearing. When hearing it, Pitac sprang to her feet and took the high-ground upon the rocks.

Pitac called out to the two approaching cats and said, "So, you decided to ignore my warning after all. Well, it is your doing and your foolishness will send you to your grave!"

Being discovered and with a great distance to go before reaching Pitac, both Lions came out of their stalking positions and started running as fast as they were able. They did not want Pitac to have a chance to retreat into the surrounding jungle and if their charge was at a more hurried pace then she would remain in her defensive posture upon the rocks.

The tall grass was the lion's element and they felt at home with this hunt. While at a full run they traveled through the tall grasses and across much of the clearing quickly, that is, until they fell into a cavernous opening in the ground.

It was the opening to the ground caves below. In the rainy season they partially fill with water and drains through underground springs, but right now, they are empty and the long fall to the rocks below is deadly. 

Pitac moved to the edge of the cavern as Chatter landed nearby.

"Well, we gave them a chance to leave," Chatter said.

"That we did bird, that we did." Replied Pitac.

Then Chatter asked, "So, are you going to keep your bargain with me and my descendants by making that jungle oath that we discussed?" 

"Of course," replied Pitac. "I vow to the stars and the spirits of the jungle, that I and my offspring shall never harm you, or your descendants, ever again."

"Even when you are eating and I am annoying you?" Chatter asked.

Pitac cautioned, "Well, you would expect tolerance limits, after all, I am a cat."

"True enough," Chatter replied, "true enough."

D. Thurmond / JEF  ---  08-27-2016


© Copyright 2017 D. Thurmond, aka, JEF. All rights reserved.

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