Animal Dilemmas – Dingo Kangaroo
After the accident in the water, the joey quickly learned how to swim. Not long after the dingos caught its blind father and its mother was already nursing the next generation. The joey had to grow up fast and learn to fend for itself. It had no father to teach it to box so it observed. It stood on the margins of the mob and watched how the male boxed, leaped and swam. When it saw a stray dingo it leaped for it and boxed it in the nose its hind legs. The dingos learned to avoid it.
Several young females had taken a notice of its solitary raids against the dingos and even the now full grown Kangaroo never boxed another from the mob they let it flower them. But nothing of the routine of the mob engaged its focus for long. The Kangaroo felt more at home when fighting a dingo or leaping through the outback solitary.
One day a white dingo was born. It was an anomaly that happened every few generations. In the lines of copper, wild dogs would every so often be born a white or at times a black dingo. The white dingo was raised in a litter of four and abused without pause by its brothers. By the time it reached maturity it was missing an ear and its tail was chewed into a wrinkle. But the white dingo could run faster than its brothers and go longer without food from which fate had decided to often deprive it.
The white dingo stood out so much in the grassy plains that rats, rabbits and even baby kangaroos could see it from far and arrange their escape. That was why the other dingos avoided hunting with it and eventually segregated it. The white dingo ate beetles and dead fish that the rivers and lakes washed on the shore. It wondered far searching for more favorable habitat. It encountered herds of sheep and occasionally managed to lure and kill and small lamb.
But in between those lucky feasts, life was dry and hard.
At the time the Kangaroo was also traveling in search of itself. And when it saw the white dingo it didn’t think twice but leaped towards it and boxed it in the nose with its hind legs. The Dingo rolled in the dust but sprung right back and chased the Kangaroo. Through dung and mud, the two beasts ran. The Kangaroo swam across the river but the dingo followed. They entered a canyon of a dry river and the Kangaroo began to understand that it has found a match. They reached a corner of the dry river bed that surrounded by tall cliffs and climbing was not an option.
The Kangaroo turned around and faced the dingo.
‘I have never seen a white dingo before.’
‘And have never seen a kangaroo attacking a dingo.’
‘I will show you again of you get too close.’
‘I learned my lesson. I see that you do not appreciate the grass you are given. You multiply and take over more lands. Even the giants are farming you for your meat.’
‘And used to live with the giants.’
‘Oh yes your ancestors were tame but we found a new home. A difficult home, but home.’
‘It’s difficult for you to hide in this home because you are a ghost of your ancestors, not a true dingo.’
‘I will prove you wrong when I bite your neck off.’
‘I have seen your kind playing with a stick.’
‘You have seen out cousins not us.’
‘You look skinny, what was the last time you ate?’
‘My last time will be in a few minutes.’
‘You are mistaken, I will be the first kangaroo to kill a dingo. Revenge my father and set my king free of slaughter.’
‘You kind is overpopulating this lands. We keep natural order.’
‘I will keep order from now on.’
‘I am surprised you survived that long. A pack could have killed you easily.’
‘I stay away from packs.’
‘Well, I am a pack of one that you underestimated.’
‘Go on then, I am waiting.’
‘All in good time, kangaroo, all in good time.’
The Kangaroo paced from one wall the other looking for a way out but the Dingo always closed the gap. It knew that it will all be decided on the merit of speed, decisiveness and ultimately energy. Both beast’s had a limited reserve left that was depleting by the minute from the scourging sun. Soon, when one of them decided that its reserves would run out it would make a plunge forward. The design of this confrontation would be based on both beasts experienced and who ever had suffered more pain and struggle would win.
The Kangaroo caught a narrow shadow along the wall and stood perfectly still. It thought to preserve energy and perhaps even the dingo would forget about it. The Dingo waved into the tail to vent from the heat and stared into the shadow. The Kangaroo knew it had to be soon. It would have been best to wait for the night but its energy would melt my then and its legs became useless. The Dingo didn’t flinch.
‘It’s a good way to die,’ said the Kangaroo quietly.
‘Come again,’ said the Dingo.
And the Kangaroo came leaping like the wind directly towards the Dingo. The white dog took a few seconds to register the sudden plunge stood firm, narrowed its eyes and leaped ahead in its turn. After the cloud of dust settled both beasts lay on the ground. The blood belonged to the Kangaroo and the broken leg to the Dingo.
After it feasted for three days and gain all the weight it had lost in the previous weeks the Dingo skinned the Kangaroo’s skeleton and threw the skin on its back.
‘Now I am invisible,’ it said.
And it was true. It traveled with the ski flapping on all sides and covering its unnatural completion. When it was hungry it halted and waited. Rodents, rabbits, or lizards were bound to come and sniff about, only to be surprised by the ghost of the dingo ancestors.
The legend traveled that a new creature was roaming the outback. A creature with many skins and lives.
Stay tuned for next week’s installment of Animal Dilemmas – Tuesday, May 17th
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photograph by Anoir Chafik