The she cat hissed and scratched, the fur of her raised hackles doubling her size. It had been a cold winter. Food was scarce. Her stalker, a wily old loner of a fox, had stealth and patience on his side. Oblivious till the very last minute, she had been focused on tracking her own prey. As he pounced, the shadow of his movement alerted her, giving her just a split second in which to swerve and avoid him.
He landed hard. And angry. Snarling, fangs bared, the fox gave chase. She was young and desperate. Her strength gave her wings as she swiftly ran through the powdered snow, leading him away from her den. Familiar terrain gave her another advantage as she swerved, twisted and turned, the fox giving chase as best he could. He was no match for her. Exhausted, he gave up and slinked off into the forest looking for easier prey.
The she cat, hidden in the dense shrub, watched patiently until she was sure he would not return. She resumed her hunt. A wild jackrabbit crossed her path. Adrenalin fueled, she was swift and sure in her kill. Carefully she made her way back to the den, pausing and listening intently to make sure she was not being followed.
Inside the den, her young cubs lay trembling in fear. Curled tight in the furthest corner, they mewed softly seeking comfort and warmth from each other. They had heard the fox. Then – nothing. The silence now was broken by the returning she cat’s warning call to her cubs.
Sheltered and safe, they ate.
Written in response to three word prompt “Love wins out” – thank you Janet Aguilera
© Raili Tanska