A Faceless Monster

It had been eight moons since our mother had gone leaving us alone and yet that night had not faded from my mind. Every detail was crystal clear to me. Mother, sister and I had followed a small herd of gazelles to a fairly large pond just outside mother’s territory. It was the first hunt for my sister and me . We waited patiently for the right moment to pounce. One of the younger ones had started wandering off by itself but we held our patience knowing that attacking when the creäture was moving would be to our disadvantage, something mother had told us in the beginning. She was watching at us from a distance, silent as a snowflake in the night, and yet watching our moves ever so keenly with her light green eyes.

We made slow but steady progress towards our prey. She had told us that as it was our first time, so we would hunt together but later we would have to hunt one each on our own. After a short while of waiting, it started to feed on the scarce coarse vegetation around the pond, barely three strides from our hiding spot. So I started taking a few small steps forward. Patience was not one of my greatest virtues unlike my sister. My hunger and excitement weren’t  helping either.

My sister released a low growl to warn me but as soon as she did so she realised her mistake, we both pounced on the startled creature before it made a run for its life. My sister toppled it’s slender fawn coloured body while I took the fatal bite at its neck before it managed to point its two little stubs of horns poking from its head. It’s frantic movements stopped after a while when it couldn’t overthrow both of us. The night’s hunt had not gone as mother would have expected, clean and smooth,  but had ended in a success all the same. It had been my first and last with mother. That night after having our kill, I went atop the tree with the remaining of the gazelle and lied down on a long branch. Mother went for stroll while my sister was already fast asleep on another branch.

The moon was almost over the horizon when I decided to take a nap. I didn’t know how long I slept but it couldn’t have been long as the sun wasn’t up yet. I saw a pair of bright yellow eyes growling and moving across the grass in the distance. It didn’t seem to have fur on it, neither did it seem very fleshy, nor could I make out its face but it was still pretty scary. I hadn’t seen anything like it before. I looked around to find my sister crouched with her claws retracted, at the base of the tree.

Mother hadn’t returned yet. I grew anxious as the monstrous creature kept going in circles around the pond. Then suddenly it stopped in the middle, standing still, close to the place where our prey had taken its last breath. Two other smaller creatures climbed down, moving around on their hind limbs and holding onto something with their front paws. The monstrous creature had stopped growling and yet hadn’t moved an inch.  Then suddenly, the smaller one of the two-legged creature pointed at something and there was a loud bang. In the tall grass ahead, we heard a rustle and something bouncing towards us, fast. Sister was about to jump when I saw mother sprinting towards us. The expression on mother’s face was enough to signal us run to for our lives.

I took a quick glance to see how much distance we had put between us but the two-legged were nowhere to be seen. Even so I ran with all my might with my family as far as I could go from those aliens. Mother was injured and had been bleeding profusely. She couldn’t keep pace with us. Soon I heard the roar of the monster behind, closing in on us. Mother then suddenly slowed down to a stop, unable to run any farther with her deep wounds. She snarled at us and told us to run, run for our lives and not to try to save her. With that she collapsed, barely breathing. I tried to push her up to her feet but to no avail. All the while the snarling monster came closer and closer. I took one last look at my dying mother, licked her once last time and sped off away from her and the fur-less creature. I escaped from the creature’s grasp as it devoured on my beloved mother. During the chase I lost my sister too, unable to trace her, but I believe she survived.

She wasn’t as fast as me but she was clever enough to stay alive. Those few hours of darkness still haunt me in my sleep. Sometimes I hear a growl similar to that night and wake up prowling around in the terror that the faceless monster would come after me again. Each time I hear the snarling fiend I feel it’s getting closer and closer towards me.

At times I wonder if I would ever be rid of its fear or if I would die in its shadow as it lurks closer towards me to devour its feast.

About the author: Swayam Vaibhav is a 3rd semester MBBS student at KMC, Mangalore

Edited by: Nishant Gaurav Pathak

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