Monday, July 30, 2007

The Huntress

By Matthew Sanborn Smith

Her wooden bones creaked as she made her way through the eternal night. Her sap burned with hunger and her grassy stomach lining rumbled as she chased the glow on the horizon. She stuck her snout in the fresh earth below, taking a mouthful to stave off her pangs. Dirt was plentiful on the hunting grounds. But dirt would only go so far.

By the time she came upon the herd, cold rains drove down hard upon her bark-skin. Rootlings extended from her paws and sipped, though her legs shook almost to collapse. To lie down now meant death. She didn’t comprehend her own mortality, however. She knew only hunger. The desperate need to feed drove her on where a more sentient being might have faltered.

The herd had emerged from a nearby forest to graze on lightning bolts, oblivious to any predator in the noise of the wind and the rain. She saw it there, the small one in the back. A malnourished runt, but enough to fill her stomach. She tore through the muddy fields and pounced upon her prey. Jaws unhinged and she swallowed the little will-o’-the-wisp while the rest of the herd scattered back into the forest.

She had no desire to give chase, but followed to get out of the rain and digest the life-giving light within her bloated, glowing belly. Time enough for the others when the hunger came again.

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