A whole year has passed since I first begin my blog. It's amazing how much one little person has to say, huh? I must admit, I thought April would be a good blog month. But things get massively in the way. I even missed posting a Happy Birthday, Jon entry, though I did start it. He doesn't mind (didn't notice, in fact) that I couldn't get around to that. Considering he's probably the second most mentioned individual on this site (first being me), I guess he knows I think he's pretty special.
At any rate, I was going to write something special for the 1 year anniversary of The Girl Behind the Red Door. But that didn't happen. I had the CBEST on Saturday, lots of assigned writing for my fiction and poetry classes, and Jon leaves for New York in the morning. So, I decided to post one of the "sudden fiction" stories I had to write for tomorrow. I was assigned three. One in first person/present tense (I go for a walk.), one in second person/past tense (You went for a walk.), and one in third person/future tense (He will go for a walk.).
I let Jon pick his favorite. To give some explanation, "sudden fiction" is exactly that. I had one page (typed and double-spaced) to give plot, background, developed characters, build up, climax, conclusion or summation. Naturally the rules are bent a bit for the sake of the length restriction.
Mist swims around me, pasting the shirt to my skin. I sit as I've sat for days, alert, my back to a patch of bamboo. I wait. The sun blinks above the peaks to the east, on its way up, and pours the light over me.
I shiver, but immediately I straighten my back and place my hands, palms up, on my knees, in my contemplative posture. I ask questions to which I know the answers, silent, and soon my focus is back on track. Here, among the dormant volcanoes of Uganda, I am alone. To my left there is a plunging valley, lush but treeless, and I see a group of yellow-backed Duikers feeding. I watch them, studying their delicate movements.
Then my friends are here, beautiful black beasts pacing through the heavy forests upwind. They come here every morning, a breakfast ritual, and lounge in a placid circle stripping the bamboo and wild celery between their teeth.
Haruni signals the family, and they move into the sheltered meadow, finding the patches of flattened grass they left yesterday. Haruni is the silverback; he is the oldest, the father of most of the offspring. He knows I am here, but in recent weeks has decided I am no threat to him. I am more than grateful. He shares his family with me.
I watch, humble when they peer back at me with mild disinterest. Today is special, though. A young female, Nasha, is studying me. I meet her gaze and try to channel my gentleness through the air. It is possible she is doing the same, because I feel warm even in the damp morning mist.
Haruni's head swings up and his indomitable dark eyes pierce the forest edge. What does he sense? He is up, shoulders squared. And he is facing me, which sends a wicked chill screaming down my spine. A puff of white breath hangs in an ominous cloud before him. I prepare to scream. But Nasha looks unafraid, and she is still holding me in her gaze.
He charges at me, but there is no time to cry out, and in a heartbeat he is beyond me, ripping through the vegetation, bellowing. And the leopard I had not seen is streaming through the field below, from which the Duikers have fled.