Shocked & awed

It was a hot afternoon. The sudden shriek from the automobile had shaken him up from his slumber. He found himself sleeping on a grey grass patch. The earth underneath him was still cold. He yawned deeply and stretched his body. The taste of earth lingered in his mouth. Lying down he glanced around. Three men were drinking tea which he hated. He hated everything that had a salty flavor. He also hated the smoke that they used to emit from their mouth, and often confused it with the smoke coming from automobiles

 He tried to remember. He was running with two of his friends after her, in heavy rain. And all of a sudden she disappeared. Was it real? For he was alone now, none of his friends seemed to be around, and he was as dry as Sahara. “May be I was dreaming”. He yawned in full glory this time, and felt the hot air on his tongue. “Damn! It’s hot.”

 He walked with heavy steps still in stupor, circling around the rusted metal bin, which again smelt terrible. No this was horrible. A man eyed him suspiciously gazing through a dilute smoke that he had just emitted. He returned his gaze forcing his eyelids open through his beautiful brown eyes. A whiff of edibles caught his olfactory muscles, and he was happy again. He walked across the road, narrowly missing the speedy bus. He comforted himself on the floor of cemented pavement. The air was cooler under the shade of the tree. He struggled with a sneeze that never came. It just ended in loud aachhhh. “Dats gross, I love to sneeze, clears the guts”.

 A family of three has now occupied his former place on the green patch across the road. A mom with her two children. One of them limped, and looked lost. The other one -agile and jauntily- nibbled at the piece of fruit cake, greedily. Former gazed greedily at him, unable to summon strength to ask his share.

 A pang in his stomach ended the family-drama. ’Food’. He sluggishly took a 270 degree panoramic view. He looked up to skies, half hoping for manna from heaven to fall. It was said to be sweet in taste.  The sun was dim now. He must be fidgeting with the RGB controls. A rush of liveliness caught him, may be because of hunger or dimmed sun. He started running down the pavement.

 The air was sweet. The sound of his footfall salt and pepper. His vision like an auto focusing Nikon D1000.

He steered swiftly towards right at the end of pavement, skidding on the gravel. If he would have been abled he would have taken a note of Newton’s physics. Forces called centripetal and centrifugal. He came to a sudden halt.

He was panting. His heart was throbbing. His ears were ringing. He exhaled audibly and inhaled inaudibly. He was well known for his speed and agility, and the reason for getting the adjective ‘alpha’. He cared for his group and loved the juniors. He was popular among them and was looked upon as a role model. But today he was away from his fans. It was dark now. He loved the nocturnal period- dusk to dawn period.

He perked up. He smelt salt in the air. He must be very near to sea shore. He could hear the waves. He crouched low to ground, and quietly smelled the air

She was near, he was suddenly all tensed up. May be it was not a dream after all. He attentively made a recee of the region. He saw her on the boundary wall. Action time. He had been eluded in his last two attempts, utterly beaten. He shuddered in anger still remembering her mocking glance, getting high on revenge.

He must plan this time, and should not go on instincts. The darkness was an advantage to both of them, but she had a slight edge.  There she was camouflaged in her black. Her back was arched. She turned sideways and hissed at him. He was calculating the distance, being on lower level he blocked the locomotion on ground. He was ready for an ambush. If that failed he would follow plan B- coursing her.

Coursing is the method in which the prey is often sighted from a distance, stalked, pursued and neatly killed. He had the killer instincts, and his friends would have applauded him. He had all the skills of successful hunter- physical strength, infinite patience and a great power of observation. But she was as dexterous as him. L’enfant terrible.

Their eyes met for the first time. He admired the her bright retina- shining focused and ready. He started having second thoughts in his mind. “Carpe diem! Carpe Noctem!” A war like cry came form his throat. A return growl established her defiance. The length of road was brightly lit by moon, and a row of palm trees were casting long dark shadows. There was a 100watt bulb shone behind the boundary wall, which hinted her silhouette, placing her in penumbra.

“How can I praise thee, Oh Edison!”, he murmured.  He concealed him under the umbra of nearest palm tree, keeping eye on her. She never moved. Still waiting for a first move.

He stepped back counting his steps. One-two-three-four. Four steps behind, and charged forward with full force, summoning just enough velocity and  kinetic energy for the jump. All jumping involves the application of force against a substrate, which in turn generates a reactive force that propels the jumper away from the substrate- Newton’s third law. “Hail Newton!”.

Just before the launch he pushed hard into the substrate- the sand and gravel. And propelled him up in the air towards the boundary wall she was upon. The launch angle was near perfect. He zoomed in the air two and half feet above the ground. His hind limbs ready for the grab. It all happened in less than one second. Shock and awe. She was too flabbergasted to move.

“It was all near perfect”, he thought doctoring the scratches he got from the boundary wall.  “Impose this overwhelming level of Shock and Awe against an adversary on an immediate or sufficiently timely basis to paralyze its will to carry on.” He had got her in her grip landing noisily on the other side of wall, when the other two attacked him from behind. But then he had never expected that she was with two of her accomplice. He was least prepared for three of foes. He was shocked and awed. They attacked him from three sides and ran away just in time. He lied defeated on ground, and he remembered grudgingly the last glance of triumph he got from those shining dark eyes.

He was utterly frustrated when he saw a black automobile coming down the street. It was still dark, and headlights were blinding. He ran furiously behind the wheels barking his guts out. He was after all a dog chasing cars. And he didn’t knew what to do with one if he caught one.

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