THE SHEPHERD

Beyond the snowy midnight, in the shades and shadows of the Swiss Alps. A pair of golden brown eyes were gleaming. The big cat just woke up, his ears stretched out and pointed. He was trying to follow up the very sound that interrupted his chilly peaceful nap. Quietly, he stood on his four paws, claws a little stretched out and immediately contracted inward. He walked out of the straws he roughly weaved as an insulated bed, that kept him warm on the ground. The look in his eyes was not good but filled with fire and wrath. Kitty walked in a majestic way. Effortlessly not revealing his strong, fit and fine coated youthful body. Only walking in the shadows. Kitty started sniffing at the leaves and the frozen soil, as if something intruded. He opened his mouth to let out a warm breathe with the smell of evil. Angrier than Angry Birds, although it’s very usual of Kitty. He bounced down the woods of the alps, as silent as the moonlit skies above.

    After a few kilometres in the moon-lit night, he spotted a bleating roe-deer, the very thing that rang alarm bells into his cold nap. The trembling cute little fawn, barely two weeks old, had just lost her mother, who got eaten up for a midnight snack by another wild cat. The fawn fixed her eyes on the golden brown eyes that reflected her own image.

    ‘So fresh, so tender, so delicious.’ Were all what Kitty said in a cold harsh tone.

Just like how we humans find lamb sauce delicious, that’s how Kitty saw the fawn meal.

    The roe-deer laid helpless without an instinct to escape. Mesmerised by Kitty’s dangerously charming eyes, she was such an easy catch for Kitty. He sat on his backside and hind limbs, used his forepaws to graciously pull the fear-frozen and shivering roe-fawn into his warmth. With the look of snacks in the Tiger’s eyes, he started licking the grey fur coat of the roe-deer like she was a meal to be licked before eaten. Kitty rose up and made a blanket of dry leaves and straws for the fawn and wrapped her in it.

    ‘I shan’t be long cutie.’ Kitty whispered silently licking his muzzle.

The fawn let out a little cry, for the fear of being eaten later.

  ‘I shall be back for you, but not to lay a claw on you.’ Kitty whispered reassuringly before he crept into the darkness.

   Now in search of the wild cat that ate mother-roe. The small river was gleaming of white and cream colours of the moonlit skies. Kitty stood on the shady side of the river to have a drink. He stretched out his tongue and used it to work some ice-cold water into his mouth. After waving his tongue four times he continued his quest.

Rage fell over Kitty, for he refused to believe another cat came to eat a roe-deer under his watch. This made him feel like a bad herdsman. He loved being the only member of the cat family occupying these woods, another cat sharing it with him meant trouble. Deep into the icy forest, Kitty saw a camp of humans. Their shadows made  beautiful impressions as they fell on the sides of their lantern-lit tents. Kitty opened his mouth, growled a little then licked his muzzle. He stretched out his forepaws, positioned his hind limbs in a perfect angle that would enable him spring his weight up and descend unto the tents of the humans. Claws sharply extended. Kitty had a few seconds imagination of how delicious they’d taste and wondered if the cologne they were wearing will add extra flavour to the meal. Kitty disengaged from the attack and pawed away from the tents, it was never his habit to attack humans.

    Over twenty minutes of walking in the fullness of darkness. Under a pine tree rested an adult tiger, feasting on mother-roe. The chewing cat was carried away by his fleshy meal that he hadn’t sensed another cat around. The pleasure of eating a wild deer couldn’t be compared to what they were fed with in the zoo. Kitty remained calm and watched his target eating. The last thing the eating-tiger saw was Kitty’s golden brown eyes jumping out from the cold river nearby, for Kitty slashed his throat with a single wave of his left paw. Supper was set, Kitty furiously feasted on the tiger he just killed. He felt no remorse, for it was one of those cats in the Swiss Zoo who’s very clan deprived him and others of a good life. He licked and covered every evidence of a murder. He rose up looking innocent as he glared into the night sky, for tiny flakes of snow were now pouring.

 

    This was how Kitty had been parading around the forest since his second escape (four months ago) from the zoo into the Swiss woods. He once lived in a prestigious Swiss Zoo styled like a game reserve with net fences to keep visitors safe. The zoo was thousands of kilometres away from the alps.

    Kitty always had a tough time living in a conformist society, either in the wild or in captivity. He was a motherless cub in Sri Lanka, who spent the rest of his cubhood in the Swiss Zoo. The zoo was plagued by classification, lust, greed, corruption, murder and the unnatural fight for power. It led to the lions, tigers and panthers forming different inter-species clans since a lion could have a propaganda that suited a panther and a tiger. Cats that did not belong to any group were at risk of no food and no protection. This led to Kitty’s first unnoticed breakout from the zoo, but it was so freezing out in the woods for an Asian cat. Although the zoo had its own fair share of bitter weather but there were shelters for the animals. After two days, the youthful Kitty dashed back to the zoo. Nothing had changed except that Kitty secretly began preying on clan cats for supper. He ate what food he was lucky to get sometimes or just one member of a clan.

    The only source of happiness he had or imagined, She-Tiger, got carried away by the little glitz and glamour a tiger from one of the clans enticed her with. The tiger also forbade Kitty from speaking to She-Tiger else he would be killed. Out of annoyance and hatred for the society, Kitty silently ate his rival and he never reclaimed the love of his life.

    Not long, the zoo managers went broke. The Clans believed their prayers of freedom were answered, but to Kitty, it meant the zoo keepers had no money to feed the vast number of cats in the zoo. Does God listen to the prayers of sinful cats?

Since the zoo ran low on income, food became inadequate, the war between clans of cats became deadly. Those who belonged to none or were weak starved to death. Out of the zoo for the second time, Kitty was gone and he was never coming back. He had lost faith in the cat family. He was voiceless even after little attempts to change things. He embraced a new life as a monk in the Swiss Alps, where he was the only cat. As for she-tiger she became the wife of an abusive but powerful tiger. She believed since the tiger could care for her, she just needed to live with his brutal romance. Whenever a clan cat escaped from the zoo and heading into Kitty’s territory. Kitty ate the cat. Then came the riddle of the cat-eating beast for explorers and biologist to solve. Kitty usually laughed at the confusion that came upon them. For Kitty was an elusive ghost who was never going to be seen by any human. Later no one bothered since Kitty became skilled in covering his tracks. Once again everyone believed the beast existed no more.

    The first month in the frosted wild, Kitty was fond of going to the nearby skiing resort and village to eat leftover meals of exotic restaurants. He was clever enough to put an end to such a naughty adventure, yet he still ventured around the local church occasionally to have a sense of salvation, by enjoying the hymns and bells.

    Kitty roared out loud, for he needed to feel like a tiger sometimes rather than playing the mute shadow always. Kitty bounced off in pride, going back under all the charcoal-black spaces he took and as usual, mysteriously leaving no paw print or evidence on the frozen ground. How he achieved that, no one knew.

   Kitty returned to his pine tree with the fawn now resting in the cat’s own blanket of straws down the tree. He climbed up his tall tree, where he gets a 360 degree view of his zone. There he watched-out for any intruding cat from the zoo and eliminate them. Kitty rubbed his body around the pointed branches of the pine tree to get the pleasurable effect of a catnip spree. He finally rested on a thick branch and picked his brown teddy bear, a nice pal he picked up a long time from the resort. Possibly something a tourist misplaced. He grabbed the stuffed toy tight in preparation for a sweet winter night.


    At dawn, Kitty gets himself well hidden in his tree or somewhere else. With a near-panopitcon view from the tree, he watched over the herd of roe-deers in the woods. He was their guardian angel, no harm could befall them, the only danger that came was whenever he needed his tummy filled, he usually ate the aged ones. Like an angel in the alps, Kitty protected his very own paradise and all that lived in it. The roe-deers called him ‘The Shepherd.’

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