Every step on the crisp grass did little to deter my attention. I crept forward, watching as they scavenged for food. It dripped down their chins, clumsily falling from their twisted smiles, cocked to the side in a permanent expression. Mum warned me when I was younger that if you pulled a face for too long, the wind would change, and it would stay that way. Guess she was right, well at least that's how I saw it. Ugh, gross. A girl moved sloppily around the group, licking grease off her fingers, holding the source of it in another hand: a large chunk of beef. The group picked up the mushy beef piling it into their hands with long, slovenly movements. It dripped down their tops like an egg that's gone off: runny enough to drip but thick enough to latch onto you as it sits crusting over. Half of it was on the floor. My body prickled with irritation. I took a few rushed steps. Ironic how my temerity was large enough the sound alone could uncover my whereabouts. Still, you've got to have some positivity in a world festering with delirious mindsets. Several individuals separated from the group, beginning to chorus a harmony of cackles. I walked on by, and closed my eyes, imagining a scene far from here.
I could feel the bitter-sweet air tickle at my hair, the humid touch of summer caress my skin. The wildlife sang with majesty and brilliance. The wind whistled through the trees of branches that swayed to the delicate tune of nature's call. Home. I was home. Back where I was free, where I could luxuriate in the sun, play with the animals and run until it felt like my heart would burst. This is where I belonged, it was in my blood. I was a hunter, wild and powerful. I was independent and full of optimism. There wasn't a shadow in the world that could darken the rays of light that radiated from my every breath, my entire essence. I was watching over the birth of a lion cub. The mother licked at the young cub, bracing the child for a world where he would be able to roam as an alpha male one day. He shook like a dog, bending his spine and lifting his paws. One step at a time he made jagged steps away from the mother before lurching into a run. He stumbled. But then he ran with a grace that can only be said to be a miracle. Precision was this cub's attribute and it would afford him the greatest of benefits later in his life. I smiled broadly and a laugh escaped me. The mother inclined her head in my direction. Her tail flicked with the slightest sign of anxiety. Her attention was drawn back to the cub circling her before playfully bounding over to her. It toppled over her back and lay still for a moment. My breath hitched. All of a sudden, it darted up and lay down on it's mother's back, licking at the mother's face, like a dog would to someone it loved dearly. Turning from the porch I began to retreat inside.
A harsh hiss struck me cold. Laughter echoed from the distance, getting closer and louder. The mother roared out with an unendurable cry. I whirled around. One moment the mother and cub stood tall and bold, resolutely standing on guard. Then within an instant, a blur of brown and black darted across the desert floor followed by another, then another. From a formation came several hyenas leering cackling screams as they snapped at the cub. It squealed, unable to fend off the attackers. The mother jumped to it's aid. The hyenas yelped but continued to bite. They cut the mother off, picking the cub up in their teeth and bolting away. Their smiles twisted as the muffled laughter grew more intense and manic. The mother reared up , running to her cub. The hyenas crashed into the body, latching onto her back and gripping at her flesh with claws that tore at the skin.
Like a hellish dream, the world unfolded before my eyes. The landscape became filtered with the hiss of hyenas darting back and forth, screaming with psychotic pleasure as they attacked what living thing they could. Animals fell under their touch, instantly falling victims to the smiles of these malicious creatures. Tears weltered in my eyes. I screamed, again and again. No, no, no, no. This was insane, it was mad, it was beyond anything; it was unnatural. The laughter rang in my ears sounding ever more sadistic by the minute.
My eyes whipped open. The cold lashed at my bare skin, the trees' branches slashing across my face with harsh, wet lashes. I looked back at the group who were by now joining together in a choir of screeches and damnable cackles. Animals.