DARX CIRCLE: Prelude 3


Leopard in tree (Wikimedia Commons)

Leopard in tree (Wikimedia Commons)

(For previous segments:

Prelude 1

Prelude 2)

 

The leopard which was stretched lazily out on a branch from which he could keep watch on the farmhouse froze into immobility as the vehicle approached.   The humans who got out when it stopped actually stared straight at him for an instant as they looked about them nervously.  Then the grown one pulled the cub towards the back door.  They had seen nothing.  

Actually, there were quite a few big cats in Rhino Valley, though normally each would keep to his or her own territory.  They had learnt certain rules, and as long as they followed them they had been safe.

Rule number one was never to touch any one of the animals the humans looked after, or be seen or even smelt by one of these or by one of the humans’ dog companions.  There were plenty of baboons and buck and hyrax as prey. 

The second rule was important because of the fact that he and his kind were mainly nocturnal.   Never be near enough to a human with a light, or to one of their moving hollow rocks, to be caught in the beams from those big shining eyes.  If a light ever did come in one’s direction, turn the head away and keep motionless.

Simply being invisible was the third rule.  This was made easy by natural camouflage, as long as one kept in shadowy places and didn’t move.  Recently it had been easier still, by learning the art of  Not Being There.   All this needed was to think to the other creatures – so that they thought it to themselves – that all they could see was plants and earth.

The leopard prepared  to jump down.  Perhaps it was time to kill again.  Now, he would do it alone.

~

 (Footnote:  I know of the ability of leopards to remain anonymous in a farming or semi-built-up area  from my own experience.  Everyone said I was imagining things when,  as a child,  I told them I had seen a leopard not far from Knysna Heads, until many years later other sightings also occurred in the area. 

Years later still, when some friends and I went on a hike along the coast and camped overnight, there were unmistakable tracks near our tent the following morning. 

The local livestock was never touched and – thank heavens – no hunts were ever launched.

Even more years later Younger Daughter and I went for an outride not far from there.  I related my experiences to the girl who led the ride, and she pointed out a high overhanging branch upon which, on a previous ride,  she had also seen one observing everyone lazily as they passed underneath.  She was riding last in the group to keep an eye on  some beginners, and had wisely mentioned nothing to them.) 

© Colonialist May 2013 (WordPress)

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About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies.
This entry was posted in Fantasy, Horses, Nature, Novel extract, Personal Journal, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to DARX CIRCLE: Prelude 3

  1. Pingback: DARX CIRCLE: Prelude 6 (Final segment) | Colonialist's Blog

  2. Pingback: DARX CIRCLE: Prelude 5 | Colonialist's Blog

  3. SidevieW says:

    That is either a very well fed leopard or a pregnant one

    Like

  4. Pingback: DARX CIRCLE: Prelude 4 | Colonialist's Blog

  5. 68ghia says:

    A clever, and very fat leopard…
    Looking forward to more Col 🙂

    Like

  6. Marco says:

    That clever sneaky sneak! Looks like he already had quite a BIT to eat, lol.

    Like

  7. cobbies69 says:

    My idea of a story, twisted away from the normal,, and great photo to go as well.. 😉

    Like

  8. Sonel says:

    When I see photo’s like this I really get sad because that is the kind of photo’s I would love to take. That is such a great shot and photographers that can take shots like these are so blessed indeed. Well written once again Col. I love how you described the leopards thoughts. I know they are more intelligent than us for sure because they know they should not talk in the first instance, because if they did, they would have had to work and pay taxes. LOL!

    Like

  9. adeeyoyo says:

    Beautiful photo, Col. I am waiting for the end of the story before reading the whole thing in one shot. Hope you don’t mind?

    Like

  10. This is wonderful, I love the predators view of the humans….

    Like

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