Melissa called me out because I may have said I would try to participate in a flash fiction challenge she mentioned. Even though I saw her post too late and am well past the due date. I damn my eagerness to volunteer for writing related things!
Anyway, here’s the story I (quickly!) came up with:
A Key for Jackals
My legs shake beneath me as the adrenaline continues to course through my veins. I can hear my heart pumping too fast, too hard, and I’m sure I’m going to die. I feel a nip on my rump and it grounds me.
What was I thinking asking for this? I’m not brave enough for this.
I shake my head, eyes closed. When I open them the world is a swirling kaleidoscope in grayscale. How am I supposed to navigate through the tall grass and thorny brush when I can’t perceive the difference? Another nip, harder than the first, halts my rising panic. I take a long steadying breathe.
And it hits me. So hard I have to sit down.
The smells. The musk of those around me, the pungency of my fear, the resin of the tree shading me from the savannah’s sun. That’s all my human brain can name. But the jackal DNA filters the scents and gives them meaning that I instinctively comprehend.
I feel my face fold into what I know must be a goofy canine grin, tongue lolling. I can’t help it. Then I hear the snort of a water buffalo hundreds of yards away. I tilt my ear and I can actually hear the burrowing termites in the mound behind me. A humming beetle makes me dart my head the other direction and I rise on all fours, tail wagging.
A wet snuffle makes me turn and look at Jules, who is obviously laughing. I glance at Kay and Raina next. I feel sheepish and my tail stops moving. Suddenly, Jules jumps over me and starts to run. The others follow her and my tail goes full speed again while I hesitate.
Then I chase.
Their sleek forms, much more practiced than mine, blur across the dry ground as I struggle to keep up. I lose them. Just as new panic kicks in a smell tickles my nose, and I know it’s them. I trust my senses to lead me down the trail to the pack of other females.
Thanks for reading! Here‘s Melissa’s story in case you missed it!