The Hyena
Michael Maiello
H yena charged the bleeding gazelle but one of the three vultures didn't flee on hearing his jackal cry and the giant bird even hissed a bit as Hyena bared his teeth. Hyena kicked up so much dust that he couldn't see the vulture who seized his neck forcibly in its beak and squeezed and Hyena snapped his jaws but couldn't reach the bird. The jaws snapping seemed very loud and Hyena snapped and snapped again. Hyena fell over on his back and clawed upward, hitting the bird in the eye and sending it into the sky with a squawk and Hyena fell tired into the dirt and saw the three vultures circling over his head. The Hyena limped away, back toward the tall grass and the vultures landed on the gazelle and one squawked in Hyena's direction.

Hyena watched through the tall grass as the vultures dipped their heads into the bloody mess and pulled back with meat hanging from their beaks. This was a good place which Hyena had found, a good place to be away from the pack and to wait and in this place where an old lion hunted and always left its kills in the dust and never returned to them for there was something very wrong with the lion. Hyena yipped loudly, screamed almost and the vultures stopped to look his way, but he ducked his head down in the tall grass and lapped some water from a tiny puddle by his feet. The sun had started to set and with that came the cool evening and it would be a long and cold night and Hyena felt like he should wander, perhaps. The lion would not kill more than once a day, and Hyena felt very hungry. Just then a puff of white fur passed by the tall grass and Hyena ran off in pursuit.

Hyena caught the white fur in his teeth and shook and heard it scream and felt it claw at his face and then a loud thunderclap and a pain through his side and he saw the white clump of fur dart away towards a tall woman in brown and as he died Hyena heard her make tender noises at the fur which clawed at her as she picked it up. Hyena's eyes glazed over and he felt very hateful toward this very hateful day where he was hungry and died as a boot kicked his body and he heard a man's voice saying, "under given conditions it might be best to put the cat in the truck--"

First published: February 2000