08 April 2010

Gazelle Dream

The cheetah is the fastest land animal in the world. Thompson's gazelle can outrun anything on the savanna...
...except cheetahs.

In a savanna reduced to the sum of five rooms, there is no place to run. Approaching the door from outside, the presence, the weight of the cheetah is near palpable. Slightly trembling hand reaches for the door lever, breath catches in the throat and that godawful dread or anxiety wells up like a wildcat gusher, threatening to spray the vicinity with blackness. The lever turns, the door opens and the foot steps from the innocuous fringe of a quiet hallway, and into the blinding bright heat of a faraway grassland.

The ears flick back nervously, nostrils flared and a half-chewed mouthful of leaves hangs slack in the jaw. A shot of icy water flicks through the bowels as the gazelle peers at the gently waving grass. It knows something is wrong, it knows it should move, and it does to turn its head to the side.

There, a few short meters away, two faint tufts of fur fade in and out of vision as the stalks of grass sway in the wind. The gazelle flares its nostrils again, the wind shifts and the rich tang of a predator invades the heaving lungs. Without thought the hind legs contract painfully with a rush of adrenaline, a reflex action that propels the gazelle forward like shot from a cannon.

The grass erupts in a blur of spotted hide and bared fangs as the cheetah sees his moment, rushing after the gazelle with a concentration frightening to behold.

The gazelle tells himself to run, and he does, frantic for the door rushingrushingrushing and slamming it open and he runs as fast as he can with a panicked wheeze in the throat struggling for control of his stomach and tears and sets off down what he hopes will be escape and salvation outside outside outside dammit can't see can't breathe and runrunrun faster, faster, as if it hadn't run before and telling itself that it doesn't mean much to be the second fastest animal out there no way...

...thrashing, sweating in a fever dream, tossing and turning and hoping against hope...

...but the grass bends behind and a growl fills the air. The cheetah paces the gazelle, reaching out with a glistening paw. Strike.

The gazelle whimpers in fear and panic, tumbling in a cloud of dust, crashing to the ground which feels suspiciously like a park bench under its heaving back. It knows its too late, it can't outrun the cheetah anymore and the thought runs through its mind, as the cheetah looms large over its throat, that this keeps happeningthiskeepshappening and I tell myself each time that it won't...and the killing bite goes down. Then darkness, just for a while.

Face in hands, he rubs his eyes, feeling the cool metal grate of the bench digging into his back. The sun is setting, birds trilling sweetly overhead as he focuses on a couple walking their dog. They smile and nod. He dips his chin faintly in return, and wonders if they know they just witnessed Nature in all its terrible beauty.


  1. What a wonderful imagination you have and you put it in words perfectly too!

  2. Did you inform the zoo that there is a cheetah loose?

  3. See, now this is why I don't jog.


  4. You are a master of this stuff! Suspense, that's it! Great story!

  5. Lovely Gumby!

    While reading this I stepped in cheetah poo....dang it.

  6. Too bad the gazelle doesn't have thumbs so it could climb the one lone tree in the middle of the savanna.

  7. I don't like to go for the jugular nor have mine attacked. Those dang cheetas are fast.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...