I know this probably isn't what our lovey Aussie host had in mind this month, but this was the mood I was in! Hope you all enjoy it. 620 word count. Make sure click on the link below the photo to visit the other blogs for more great stories...
Coyote slunk down to watch the three deer cross the high trail. Alone, as usual, he surveyed carefully and kept his ears alert to any sound, his nose to any scent. He didn’t need any bears or wolves to surprise him while he hunted this mother and her two offspring. He only needed one baby. Experience had taught him that the weaker prey yielded easier, tastier dinners, if one could avoid the mother. Coyote knew himself to be smart, more apt than the others in his pack and so he hunted alone and never shared with anyone. Idiots all of them, he often thought to himself.
Coyote crouched, still, like a desert pine, waiting for the right moment. The three deer moved past the high trail and, not catching his scent, fairly moseyed toward the barren expanse just past the growth of stunted pines in which he hid. Muzzles to the ground, they rooted for anything worth nibbling on, ambling close to each other, yet not too close for him to take a chance. He had to watch for the mother’s hooves, which were sharp and could cut and bruise him.
There, now, the smaller of the two young ones had moved almost within range. Coyote tensed, focused his senses. He ignored the rest of the world, fading it out until all that remained was the small spotted piece of meat now approaching on brittle spindly legs, which held juicy marrow in their slender bones. Coyote trembled with anticipation. He inched his paws forward just a tad, his haunches wound tight, ready to spring. Just a little closer. He spared a glance at the mother. She raised her head, quick, like a darting rabbit, and stared right at him. Frozen, as he was, her shiny doe-eyes pierced his concentration as if to say, ‘I see you. Don’t even think about it.’ Yet he knew he was invisible to her. He had to be. He was downwind from her. He lay so low his belly scrubbed the clutter dropped by scrappy pines and other debris.
When she continued to stare, when she didn’t move even one eyelash, Coyote tore his gaze from the mother and concentrated again on the young one now even closer to him. It was now or never. One second he scrunched his muscles into full spring mode, the next a heavy weight landed on his back pinning him to the ground. A great roar shook the world, made the short trees tremble, the clouds in the blue sky shudder. Animal dander, the heavy scent of thick fur and pungent odor of bear invaded his senses. How had he not noticed it before? That could have been his last thought, but the weight lifted slightly and Coyote rolled to one side before the great rough paw could pin him again.
Deer forgotten, Coyote scampered away, and then plowed into a full run, getting as far from the horrible bear as possible. Later, when he slowed at what he hoped was a safe distance from the mistake that had almost cost him his scrabby life, Coyote turned to look behind him. No bear lumbering after him. But no deer either. The tantalizing image of the young deer, so very close to him only moments ago, made his stomach growl. He took one tentative step back the way he had come, and trod on a scorpion that promptly stung his ankle. Backing away and shaking his leg at the same time, he put his back to the scrubby pines along the high trail and the dinner that might have been. Oh well, he thought, that’s the way it goes sometimes. Some chances just weren’t worth taking.