The Last Tiger

We had been dying a long time.

Then when all was to be lost it became everybody’s plight–it no longer singularly belonged to my species. Yet, there was nothing left of us to be scared for, to tremble in fear at the loss of, save myself and a few others who still roamed the jungles of India. What was left of them anyway.

I often wondered, “Was I already dying when I arrived as a cub on this earth, or did I begin dying when I became fully grown and was now just living until I ceased?”

There was mass panic among the humans when the ball of fire began destroying their habitats. I who had been encroached upon my entire existence by these selfish creatures couldn’t understand. They had never helped another creature, not even their own kind. Destruction was their nature, would they not be used to this?

I cleaned my fur, polishing the orange, black and white–my stripes were looking fine as ever. I wanted to look my best for the end. Slowly the water came further inland and although it was usually warm in the jungle, rain stopped. The lush greens dried. Until, they were overwhelmed by the ocean waters. In which case they drowned.

I had always love to climb, so for the moment I took refuge in a tree. It was easy hunting as many others had seen fit to hide up here as well. Then, I became increasingly thirsty. The ocean water was too salty and the heat became intolerable. My fur was matted and sopping with sweat. No matter how much I panted, I couldn’t keep myself cool.

The fire from the sky had been long since extinguished but the continuing effect were devastating. Many of the trees and plants began drooping and sagging. They could no longer hold themselves proud. From my perch, I saw animal casualties littering the jungle floor or float by in the flooded river. Many belonged to the once selfish human race.

I knew my time was at hand, but I had been dying for a long time. Now it was time to let go. Body draped across the branch, head resting on my paws, eyes fluttered closed–sleep finally came.

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Finding Sarah

It was the night, when darkness crept in through the cracks, filling the empty spaces. Everything was still, unmoving and the silence was deafening. A cricket’s chirp echoed like the yell atop a canyon. Wind whipped and whistled through the window. Sirens, cars, water pipes created their own marching band outside. It was when the moon hovered above her window, staring with its blank, “man in the moon” face; this was when the woman felt overwhelmingly alone.

A letter has meaning. It fits into the alphabet. When taken out of the alphabet it is used to form words. Without words a person could not read, write, or speak. Therefore we need letters. Each one is important and meaningful, they are necessary. The woman thought of this.

She was not. She did not fit. Nor, did anyone need her to make something of a larger whole. The woman stared at her shabby, undecorated apartment. She considered, the walls had no color. She hardly had furniture. The air mattress she slept on at night slowly leaked air in a quiet, “hisss”, until by the morning she was lying flat on the ground. God must have sneezed when he thought to put her on this planet.

The woman walked to her drab closet. In it was a selection of no name clothing. Something simple for work. No fuss. She selected one of the khakis and a shirt. It was a mechanical process repeated each day out of necessity. Then she walked the four miles to work.

Leaves crunched under her feet and she crossed to the sidewalk. The woman watched the bus pull into the stop. A thought crossed her mind. She could do it. Quick, a little less painful then being a shadow on a wall. The tousled brown hair caught her peripheral as she considered. The woman decided to follow the boy instead. He wore nice jeans, converse and a polo. She wondered why he was in the alley.

The boy stopped and set something down. He turned and caught her eye. His emerald eyes pierced her skin like knives, they looked familiar. The boy jetted out the back fence before she could catch up to him. She paused where he had stopped. There was a piece of notebook paper tucked haphazardly into an envelope. The woman scooped it up.  Carefully, she pulled out the paper and opened it, where she found a handwritten note.

Dear Mom (Sarah Marie McDougal),

Dad needs your help. Don’t make any rash decisions. Please.

I love you.

Your son,

Orion James

She staggered backwards almost falling to the pavement. Her grandfather had been called Orion James. The bus pulled away from the stop as she walked to work. Sarah took the stairs up to her office, pondering the note.

“Sarah! I need to speak with you.”

The voice of her boss reached her ears. She looked up. James’ emerald green eyes met hers.