Have you ever been attacked by an animal?
Janna’s bare feet struck the soft dirt as she ran, zigzagging through the trees, their skeletal branches stretching over her head, pointing to nothing. A more foolish girl might have believed they pointed to safety, but Janna was no such fool. There was nothing deeper in these woods, only more pale, striped trees.
The stripes made her breath catch in her throat. Sparing a momentary glance behind her, she saw only the muted blacks and greys of the trees she left behind her. Perhaps she had finally outpaced it?
No, there. A splash of color. Stripes of orange and red and yellow. Janna swallowed a scream as she ducked into the hollow root of the nearest tree. She clamped her hands tight over her mouth, not daring to breathe as she heard the creature stalk closer.
A low snarl rolled over her hiding place. It hadn’t seen where she went. Janna remained very still. She wasn’t about to give it any hint that she was just under its nose. It stamped at the ground around the hollow, then bounded off in the direction she had been heading.
Janna waited several tense moments, wondering if it would come back. She listened hard for what felt like an hour, but heard nothing more. She let out her breath in a long sigh, then climbed out of the hollow. She froze with one foot on the forest floor.
A dozen creatures surrounded her in a semi-circle. How had she not heard them? Her heart pounding in her ears provided a possible answer, but not one that satisfied her. She had walked right into a trap. The tiger was always a tricky one.
Even in the faint moonlight, Janna could make out the distinguishing patterns on each fur coat she faced. Some were exactly as you might expect them to be, in earthy tones and spots of black or white. Most came in every color of the rainbow. There was a bear that could only be described as tie-dyed. A strange leopard with spots of green and blue and gold instead of black or brown. The dragon was the most dangerous after the tiger.
Janna felt her shoulders tighten. Where was the tiger? She risked a glance behind her as she felt eyes on her. It perched on top of the root she had crawled out of, smirking as its tail lashed. It knew it had her cornered this time.
Gritting her teeth, she turned back to the coterie of animals. “Come and get me, then!” she shrieked. The fluffy, colorful horde swarmed her.
“What in the world is going on in here?” Janna’s mother stood in the doorway frowning at her daughter, half under her bed and half under a pile of stuffed animals.
Janna pushed the plush leopard off her face and grinned up at her mother. “They got me!” she giggled.
Her mother shook her head and sighed with a smile. “It would seem so. Did you give them a good chase this time?”
“Mhmm! I was hiding in a tree root but they waited and outsmarted me.”
“Oh dear,” her mother said seriously. “I hope they don’t come for me next.”
Janna shook her head. “They won’t. They’re too tired after hunting me!” So was she. She yawned.
“I’m certain they aren’t the only ones,” her mother chuckled. She plucked Janna out of the pile of animals and put her back under her covers. “Maybe this time you will go to sleep instead of running wild.” She winked at Janna as she settled the animals around Janna’s pillow.
“No, I don’t think I want to run anymore tonight,” Janna yawned again. She took the red and orange and yellow striped tiger from her mother and hugged it tight. “I love you, mama.”
Mama kissed Janna’s head. “Love you too, baby.” She kissed the tiger. “No more hunting for you tonight. You protect her while she sleeps now.”
“Red says he’ll help me have nice dreams.”
“Good.” Mama nodded approvingly. “I’ll leave it to him then.” She paused in the doorway. “Good night, Janna Banana.”
“G’night mama jama.” Her eyes closed with the door.
Notes: So I decided to go a Calvin & Hobbes route with this one. I’m really glad this idea came to me last night because I went out with coworkers after work and didn’t get home until after 9:30pm. Sometimes I luck out like that and the muse is with me. I managed to have fun with this prompt even though I worried I wouldn’t have enough time to get it off the ground running.
Personally, I don’t recall ever being attacked by an animal, although I have a weird fear of being bitten by a dog. I’ve never been attacked by one, but sometimes when I’m sitting with a dog and they stare at me or try to lick my face, I just imagine them snapping and lunging at my face with their teeth bared. A very unfounded fear, that.
My older cat sort of attacked me the first week we had her. She was sitting in my lap and I was petting her when all of a sudden she freaked out, hissed at me, and flipped herself over in my lap to grab my hand and kick at it with her back feet while she also chewed on it. She cut me up pretty good and I threw her on the floor in pain and frustration. I thought for sure we would have to take her back if she was gonna be that vicious all the time, but we held out.
She really is a sweet thing. I must have hit a nerve without knowing. Over the years I’ve learned that she doesn’t like being pet on her hips. I’m not sure if they hurt her or she only wants pets on her back and ears and chin, but I’m always careful now of her hips when I pet her. And I warn other people when they reach for her. She’s warmed up to the idea of belly rubs now though, so that’s pretty cool.
What about you? Have you ever been attacked by an animal? What was it? Were you hurt? Write it down!
Tomorrow is Friday! The last prompt for the week AND for the month. I’ll probably have another silly tale for that one. See you then! Have a great night!
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