Animal Dilemmas – Black Panther Condor

short story about black panther
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Short Story

The Condor flew all night and in the morning it landed at the edge of the jungle by pool at the foot of a waterfall to take a drink of water. The few cautious mammals that approached for their morning grooming quickly retreated to the heather.

‘I have never seen a bird of your size in all my trotting through the jungle,’ a deep voice descended from a tree.

‘I have never seen a cat as dark as the night,’ answered the Condor.

The Black Panther climbed down and wet its paws.

‘Nice and cold, I like that. But you, bird, sacred away any prospects of breakfast.’

‘I am not hungry.’

‘What a selfish statement.’

‘How does it feel to be on the top of the food chain, cat?’

‘Good, it feels good. You should know.’

‘Yes. Are you indeed on the very top?’

‘Since the know history of my clan we have encountered only one anaconda sneaky enough to approach, and large enough to swallow an ancestor of mine. But that may just be a legend.’

‘All legends…’

‘I know, yes. And you?’

‘Only giants, climbing the mountains for our eggs. They think they will give them strength beyond their world.’

‘Giants are irrational. They don’t trot about in these woods. I have eaten one. Many years ago when I was young and foolish. It nearly cost my life. It was a lot of them collecting plants and flowers. It was the first time I saw them. And to me they were smelled like breakfast. I dragged one in the heather. I ate but did not enjoy. They spoil their flesh with poison. Fools.’

‘They are no fools. They feel, but for the most part they think.’

‘They think indeed. They made a camp by this fall and tried to trick me. They killed a bore and piled its meat in a clearing. I didn’t know better and I ate. A net scooped me up and I hanged like a fool.’

‘I have seen nets. How did you escape?’

‘I fought. I kicked and scratched and bit until they let loose of the ropes.’

‘Hm, you were lucky.’

‘Luck had nothing to do with it. I fought with every muscle of my body. Fight feed me!’

‘I have seen how they catch cats. They get you to fight, to waste your energy in the net. Your energy is not intimate. You get tired and tame, then they cage you.’

‘I didn’t get tired and tame.’

‘I am more inclined to believe that they set you free.’

‘And where did you see how they catch cats? You are not from around here!’

‘We have cats where I come from. Not black but they are cats all the same. Plus I fly, I have been around. And if I have learned anything is that giants are the same everywhere.’

‘I have never left this juggle.’

‘Why would you! You have everything you need here.’

‘Why do you say giants are the same everywhere?’

‘Just your kind. Cats, giants, birds, they differ in shape and color but they think the same.’

‘And feel the same?’

‘Yes, if they are prone to feelings. The biggest feelers are the giants. We feel pain, and some attachment, they do too but they have a range of variations of those feelings.’

‘How do you know?’

‘I observe them from the sky. They have something called love.’

‘What is that?’

‘Extreme attachment to others of their kind.’

‘Hahaha, that is ridiculous.’

‘I know, they sometimes kill themselves because their children die.’

‘What is wrong with them!?’

‘When in pain they feel rather than think.’

‘I know, when I bit the one I caught for the shoulder and dragged him away, he cried and screamed but didn’t think to use his dagger.’

‘That is different he was shocked.’

‘I was shocked. But I never panic.’

‘You do but when you do you fight.’

‘You seem to know me well.’

‘I know animals.’

‘And giants?’

‘Yes they are also animals. They just think and feel more that is why we cannot understand them.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘You can only live in the jungle, I can only live in the mountains. But giants, they can live anywhere. They adapt to forest, mountains, deserts, they built things and live in the river, floating on the water. They are on top of the food chain.’

‘But they are afraid of me!’

‘Some are, but most are not. I have to go I have a long flight ahead of me.’

‘Go bird, you talk too much of strange things and I am hungry.’

next chapter: Animal Dilemmas – Anaconda Black Panther

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all chapters: Animal Dilemmas

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photograph by Oliver Graziano

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