A story from the other side.
By: Monica Ahuja
Allo felt the wet grass between her paws as she stepped deeper into the jungle. It was eerily quiet today and the jungle seemed lonely.
The sounds of the jungle, the singing of the birds, and the scuttling of creatures on the jungle floor under the canopy of trees were missing.
And it was not the sound of a pin drop that could be heard, but rather the sound of axes, eating away at the heart of a tree. And then, there was a great and loud thud.
Another soul lost and many more endangered.
“Who would be next?” Allo wondered.
She had seen what they could do if they caught you. You became another decoration to be hung on their walls or worse, a cloak hanging on their backs; this was a proud display of their cruelty. But that was only the pain of knowing what would happen after; the pain when they caught you alive was much worse, or so she had heard.
There was nothing she could do or anyone for that matter. It was inevitable. It had been happening slowly for years but now, it was happening all at once. It began with stories of friends being unable to find their friends from the edge of the jungle. Then, the trees came down, and friends further in went missing.
And she surely had not forgotten about the dry spell they had gotten last season. They had not experienced a drought like this before. The whole jungle began to wither away from thirst before some small relief finally arrived. That they had managed to survive, but the story of the irregular times is something for another time.
She knew in her heart that this was their work too. Only they could be so blind and ignorant to create such suffering.
Allo headed to the small cave where she lived. She crept carefully and with vigilance. She knew she could not be caught. Evana would be waiting there for her.
She was 15 minutes away from the cave when she heard a rustle. She stopped and looked around her. Nothing. And then she saw, behind a tree, from the corner of her eye, a rifle. She saw the hunter shift his footing and she ran.
She fled away from the cave until she was sure she had lost him. She found herself in a part of the jungle that was unknown to her. She would have to find another path to the cave.
After wandering for two hours, looking for familiar sites, she found her way to the cave. When she reached, it was dark. She was not sure if Evana would still be there.
At the mouth of the tiny cave, Allo called, “Evana, are you here?” Slowly and gracefully, Evana’s head and then the rest of her stepped forward.
“Yes. I said I would wait for you here. Didn’t I?”
Allo chuckled, “I wasn’t sure if you’d come after last time. Marco nearly saw us. Don’t you remember?”
Evana laughed slyly, “Well, what can I say? I like a little trouble.”
“Then you definitely weren’t waiting for me.”
They both looked into each other’s eyes for a moment that seemed to last forever. They saw the love and joy they felt in their hearts peering back at them.
And just as they began to walk towards each other, behind them, there was a crack of a pistol, a quiet whimper, and then silence.
Categories: Creative Writing