Posts filed under ‘Story #5 – Shaardul Cleans Up’

Shaardul Cleans Up – p.13

The victorious tiger roared, “Hear me!” The animals who had been watching the fight fell silent. “I have beaten Shaardul,” he said. “Though I had meant to kill him, he has nearly bested me. The tigers will let him live, and he may roam the jungle freely.” He looked at Shaardul, covered in muck, and grinned. He leaned in and whispered, “Monkeys taste terrible, but we don’t tell them that.” The older male then walked off into the jungle to nurse his wounds and sleep.

Shaardul managed to crawl out of the Pit and shook himself. Dirt and debris flew in all directions, and the animals in the trees made small noises of annoyance. Shaardul looked up then, and his eyes narrowed as he growled. They all quieted down again, and began to leave, keeping an eye over their shoulders in case he should decide to chase them for breakfast.

Cut, bruised, filthy and tired, Shaardul was in no mood to hunt, but made sure to give the impression that he might be. He knew that now he would be able to nap in the sun again, in peace, and intended to do just that.

He headed to the river to clean up. (This is where we came in, remember?) He slept well that afternoon, and hunted well that night, and every night since.

THE END

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February 7, 2012 at 4:43 pm 1 comment

Shaardul Cleans Up – p.12

Word spread through the jungle about the fighting tigers and soon the trees were thick with birds, monkeys, and other animals who had come to watch. The older male tiger was embarrassed that what he had thought would be a quick, simple trouncing had turned into such a slobber-knocker. The other tigers were sure to chide him. He decided to end the battle as soon as he could and kept his eyes open for any advantage.

Shaardul’s lazy lifestyle and poor diet were catching up to him, and he knew he wouldn’t be able to keep up his defense much longer. He, too, was keeping his eye out for some sort of salvation.

The path of the fight led the tigers into a wet, dense part of the jungle where the ground began to descend, and both combatants realized they were headed in the direction of the Pit, a place where water, wind and gravity conspired to bring all the loose matter of the jungle floor. Dead plants, animal bones, muck and filth of all kinds ended up in the Pit, and it wasn’t a very pleasant place.

The older male growled, rushed Shaardul in one great burst of his remaining energy, and knocked him head over heels. Shaardul rolled backwards, unable to stop or right himself, and the next thing he knew he was face down in the stinking pile of refuse in the Pit.

February 2, 2012 at 11:13 am 1 comment

Shaardul Cleans Up – p.11

The tigers fought their way across half the jungle, advancing, retreating, circling and jumping. Shaardul was holding his own, though he wasn’t exactly winning.

While he was fighting, he forgot his hunger. Energy that he did not know he possessed was welling up within him, helping him to carry on. He did not think, for he was too busy reacting to the incoming blows from the other tiger, but he was aware of an intense pride and sense of self that he also had never felt before.

Shaardul was standing up for himself, asserting his right to exist.

The other tiger had not expected such a battle, and was getting tired. He leapt up to the lowest branch of a nearby tree, and roared down at Shaardul. “I thought you were a lump of fur for monkeys to climb on,” he said. “It seems there is some muscle beneath your pelt after all.”

Shaardul was gasping for breath, but managed to reply, “It was always there; I was just waiting for a worthy opponent.” He did not know what made him say that, but he wanted to keep fighting. He wanted everyone to know that he would not take these insults lightly anymore. He jumped up and knocked the tiger out of the tree, and they continued the fight.

January 31, 2012 at 4:58 pm 2 comments

Shaardul Cleans Up – p.10

“Shaardul,” said the tiger, “why are you not up in your tree?”

“I came down to eat,” Shaardul answered. He felt the grumpiness in his gut growing stronger, and he growled a little.

“Oh? Do you value your life so little, or have your fellow monkeys cast you out already?”

The two tigers began to circle each other. Shaardul was showing his teeth, and he was very agitated. He did not know whether he could win, but he was tired of giving up. He did not care what the other tigers thought of him, but he could no longer stomach being treated like this.

The older male made the first strike, swatting at Shaardul’s head with his massive paw. Shaardul ducked down just in time and lunged at the other tiger’s legs. He had never moved so fast in his life, and it surprised him. He hoped that he could survive, for all of a sudden he really felt like hunting, and not just small, slow prey, but something that would really fill him up for once.

Just no monkeys.

The fighting cats tumbled and pounced, pushing each other back and forth, covering a lot of ground. Other animals along their haphazard route watched the passing brawl in awe, finding it hard to believe that lazy Shaardul could be so strong and fierce.

January 27, 2012 at 4:42 pm Leave a comment

Shaardul Cleans Up – p.9

Without thinking, Shaardul leapt from branch to branch, faster than he’d ever moved in his life, and landed in the middle of the monkeys’ tree. The monkeys were shocked into an uncommon moment of silence, and before they could make a sound or move, Shaardul had lunged towards them, and grabbed a mango from the nearest one. He crushed it with his powerful jaws, eating it whole in a matter of seconds.

He made another lunge but the monkeys had recovered themselves by then, and all scrambled out of his way. In the confusion, several mangoes fell to the ground. The monkeys began to screech, angry and confused. Shaardul looked down at the fallen fruit, then back up at the monkeys. He decided to take his chances on the ground.

He made his way down the tree trunk, his claws digging and ripping at the bark, the muscles in his legs aching with effort and lack of nourishment. When he was about ten feet from the bottom, he pushed himself off and landed on his wobbly legs, and then began to devour the mangoes. Shaardul was not fond of fruit, but anything that filled his belly was welcome, and if it couldn’t fight back, so much the better.

The monkeys had continued shrieking down at him, but as Shaardul was finishing the last mango, they suddenly went silent again. He looked around, and saw an older male tiger approaching from the north.

January 25, 2012 at 10:07 pm 1 comment

Shaardul Cleans Up – p.8

Just before dawn, Shaardul woke to the feeling of small, hard things falling on his head. He slowly opened one eye and turned to look above him, a low growl beginning in his throat. He saw a couple of brightly colored birds, busy shelling some sort of nuts for their breakfast, unaware that their trash was interrupting his sleep.

They were too high to reach, but in his groggy state of mind, he didn’t think logically about that, and swung a big paw up towards them, missing completely and throwing himself off balance.

The birds laughed as they watched him fall out of the tree.

Shaardul sat for a while, grooming his fur, but as the sun began to rise he remembered he was not supposed to be on the ground. He walked off towards the east, to put distance between himself and the birds, before choosing another tree to climb. Once he was up, he was struck by thirst, and a more powerful hunger than the night before. He knew plenty of other animals lived in trees, and figured that they must have some way of getting food and water, so he climbed a little higher, looked around, and to his chagrin, spied the nest of monkeys a few trees away.

They were eating mangoes, and the early morning sunlight was reflecting off of the juice that dripped down their fuzzy little chins.

January 23, 2012 at 5:24 pm 1 comment

Shaardul Cleans Up – p.7

Before Shaardul could reply or react, the female had fled.

He stood motionless for many minutes, trying to understand why he was being punished. He had never harmed another tiger, and tried not to stray out of his own territory.

He looked down at the ground. He could be attacked at any moment, just for standing there. Had he somehow offended the earth itself? Did the earth talk to the other tigers? What if he offended the trees, too; would the monkeys kick him out?

Monkeys, he thought. Why the monkeys? He wanted nothing to do with them ever again, even if he didn’t understand how they were connected to this turn of events. There would be no more naps in the sun.

Shaardul chose a nearby tree with a thick trunk that was easy to climb, and ascended to a low, wide branch. He lay down on his belly, draping one paw over the branch to rest his head on and let the other three dangle off the sides. His dinner had escaped. He was hungry and tired, but in a more pronounced way than he’d ever felt; and he was most definitely grumpy.

January 19, 2012 at 4:57 pm 1 comment

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