Teyata ate up the kilometres in her stride, fearing the descending darkness; not the night itself; but her male’s wrath. True; predators of every description emerged with the dusk, but few threatened a manine. Creatures too powerful or fierce for her claws to intimidate, she’d merely avoid by climbing the nearest tree and escaping along the branches of neighbouring trees.
Houses became sparser, the further she ran. She leapt; bounding from the roof of a metal thing with four rubber wheels. It buckled where she stomped, before gripping the road and tearing off again. Men of the old world used to go everywhere in these things. She’d seen them do so many a time in the hommogaffic books. Soon the hard surfaces no longer greeted the soles of her feet. This indicated that she had left the city. She remembered the word “city” too from hommogaffic books. That’s where a lot of men from the old world used to live together.
Her clawed pads soon touched down on softer ground, tearing through long grass and shrubs. She weaved among the trees of familiar ground, at times bounding from their trunks, as she drew near to home. The last of the orange sky had been replaced with the dusk of the new night when she stopped running. In a clearing among a thick grove of trees, she stood in the midst of her nest. It resembled a broad circle of flattened grass and dead saplings, as if run over by a huge boulder.
Panting heavily, she dropped the rats in the centre of the nest and attempted to listen for Rorbin. She couldn’t hear him above her rapid breathing, but that didn’t mean he didn’t watch. As her breathing slowed, she inhaled deeply, forcing her respiration to go back to normal.
She neither saw nor heard him. Rorbin hadn’t as yet, returned home. Her heart began to race again as a scent crept to her senses; Rorbin’s. Branches creaked far overhead. A silhouette separated from the shadows. Teyata saw her lithe male, crouched on a branch, looking at her. He dropped to the branch beneath him, unwavering. Running two steps, he vaulted down, stabbing the sprouted claws of one hand into the side of the trunk. He scrabbled down its length and sprang to the ground, then slinked Teyata’s way.
Rorbin walked with a rolling of his shoulders. His fur; black overall, had a glossy sheen like the panthers of the old world. With the addition of an inordinately handsome face and orange slitted pupils, was it any wonder the females of Teyata’s clowder vied for his affections?
Teyata remembered the day they first met. He slinked among the other females, confidence clearly registering in his step. She could only admire him in the background. That’s where the other females forced her. Being the most petite of the clowder, Teyata was the weakest. They swished their tails, purring and padding near, yet keeping a respectable distance for his inspection. He ignored the greater bulk of the females, padding closer.