Animal Dilemmas – Zebras Gazelle

Animal Fiction, short story about paranoia

Short Story

The surviving Gazelle skipped through the tall grasses in a panic until it could run no more. The herd was too far by then and the frail animal was left alone. The zebras and the giraffes caught up with it and went their own way. The Gazelle followed the zebras for some time from a distance.

They noticed it and slowed down.

‘Why are you following us,’ asked one of them. ‘You don’t have your own herd!’

‘I am lost,’ said the Gazelle. ‘And my mate was killed by the Rhino.’

‘We saw that,’ said another zebra or the same. It was impossible to say who was talking.

‘Awful way to die.’

‘Food for the hyenas.’

‘So where are you going? Can I come along?’

‘Sure why not, just don’t attract any attention. We don’t want problems.’

‘Even though, problems are a part of life in the savanna.’

‘Are there any lions around here,’ asked the Gazelle.

‘Lions, we hope not.’

‘We didn’t see any nests or feces but you have to always be careful.’

‘Stay sharp,’ said another zebra.

‘So where are you going?’

‘We are going to the river.’

‘Yes the river, where else!’

‘Yes we licked some salt in the morning, lost a comrade to a fast cat and now we are trusting and going to the slow river.’

‘We lost a comrade,’ repeated one.

‘Yes we lost the slowest from our group.’

‘That means the cumulative and average speed of out group has increased since.’

‘I am fast,’ said the Gazelle.

‘Yes we know that.’

‘Yes we know that but you do not pace you energy.’

‘That is why we caught up with you.’

‘Yes that is why. You run with fear even though the danger has passed. And if a new danger arises you will die.’

‘Yes, don’t run with fear. Run without fear!’

‘Run slow!’

‘I have a lot of fear,’ said the Gazelle.

‘Yes, your kind is full of it.’

‘I lost my herd.’

‘So come to drink some water at the slow river.’

‘Come to drink some water maybe you will find someone you know there.’

‘Yes many drink water there.’

The animals were walking through a vast plane. The grass was tall but no trees or bushes in sight. Field mice and other rodents, snakes and lizards littered the grass and bolted often, making the Zebras and the Gazelle nervous.

‘So there are no lions here.’

‘We never see lions and we take this route for salt all our lives.’

‘There are wild cats.’

‘Yes cheetah.’

‘One or two, they are getting old.’

‘They are getting old and go for the slow legs.’

‘If you can run you no worry.’

‘I can run.’

‘We know that,’ the Zebras said in unison.

‘Look,’ froze the Gazelle. ‘There is something ahead of us.’

The Zebras turned their heads simultaneously.

‘That is a white rhino.’

‘No that is a black rhino!’

‘It’s white!’

‘It’s black!’

‘The heat is messing with your head and you are calling the white black.’

‘It’s a spot on the horizon,’ said another Zebra.

‘I think it’s a hyena,’ said the Gazelle.

‘Hyena!? No way alone in the day!’

‘Where have you seen a hyena alone in the day?’

‘No where but…’

‘It’s a rhino.’

‘Yes, it’s rhino. The rhinos go to the slow river to cool off.’

‘Yes they do.’

‘How far are we from the river.’

‘We are some time far.’

‘You have to be careful at the river.’

‘Yes, there are crocodiles.’

‘And wild cats sometimes.’

‘You have to be careful everywhere,’ said the Gazelle. ‘There might be wild cats in the grass here.

‘Yes there is one.’

‘Yes but it ate one of us already so it’s not going to eat again today.’

‘What if there are others?’




‘We are almost the river.’

‘See it’s a rhino!’

next story: Animal Dilemmas – Crocodile Zebras

previous story: Animal Dilemmas – Gazelle Rhino

all stories: Animal Dilemmas

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photograph by Greg Westfall

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