The Eland

The eland lay on his side in the tall grass, no longer wanting to flick his ears to keep the dozy yet persistent summer flies at bay, no longer able to.

He had been the respected elder of his tribe, and he was magnificent. He had earned his chieftancy early in life, and had successfully defended it against every rival. The twin scimitars that were his horns gleamed from the burnishing delivered by the perpetual jousting matches. Many young bucks had thought to overthrow him, and each of them had been turned away, most in rebuke for their presumption. Some, though, were more hot-headed, and had had to retire from the battlefield with wounds of varying severity.

The eland had been vaguely aware that he was no longer as strong and fast as he had been in his prime, but his many years of life experience had made him wily and confident. He had not expected, however, that when death came it would come with hot breath and claws and sheer panic.

Finished at the throat, the lion opened the eland’s belly.

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