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Jay's Short Stories

Courage

In the quiet of the forest stalks a hunter, and he is locking onto his prey. The visage of this man roused the primal instinct of the stalking tiger. The Man, with a sword strapped to his right side, readied himself for his attack. "I abhor your kind." said the human, his words like venom. The Tiger, with the same sentience as the human, looked onto the human, believing it was witnessing the horrible display of the most vile creature to set foot in the forest. The Tiger, possessing the power of speech, said to the human, "Vile creature, your tyranny in the forest will be no more." Unfazed by the man's words, the Tiger said, "Those who hate others by species, color or size are unfit to roam a land where the diversity of its inhabitants are as bountiful as the color's of the forest's children." After a short pause, the Tiger spoke again, "I beseech you human, leave the forest, for you have nothing to gain from the suffering you inflict upon it.", the Tiger said. "Enough.", the Human said, "You have prattled on long enough. You, beasts who are a threat to humanity, must be put down. The Tiger let out a mighty roar then looked out into the denseness of the tranquil forest. He locked eyes with the human's eyes, seeing only hollowness and spoke, "I will not engage you Human. it is not the way of the forest." The man, amused, said, "Then that will be your undoing. With a swift movement, the man unsheathed his sword, readying his attack. The Tiger looked onto the Man's face to find some sort of vulnerability. It could find none. The Tiger roared, "If you strike me down, the wrath of the forest will bring down justice upon you." Hearing the commotion, the tiny and the large, the slow and the swift, the old and the young creatures of the forest created an audience for the Human and the Tiger. The vehement of the situation grew more severe. "I will be frank with you, beast of the forest, I do not 'hate' you, I am merely doing what is best for the preservation of humanity", said the Human, "Your life is of trifle importance compared to mine." "So be it.", said the Tiger, "If you wish to strike me down, do so, but know this, I will be an example to all the forest's creatures." "Gladly.", said the Human, and with that, he brought the sword down onto the Tiger. A small rabbit from the small crowd that had formed due to the Human and Tiger's conflict cried out, "No!!!" Immediately, the Human turned toward the crowd and they knew, many voices of the forest would be extinguished that day.

The cries grew quiet, and those would fly, flew away, and those with great speed, ran away. The Disaster that was left of the forest was revealed after the smoke and the gunpowder from the Human's men, was immense. A small bird flew down and placed a flower onto the head of the gentle Tiger's still body. A quiet song from the bird invited the survivors of the Disaster to gather around the Tiger. A grave was dug for many others as well. One of the elder's of the forest, a Beaver, paid his respects to the Tiger then turned to the sullen crowd and said, "Today, we witness the true meaning of fear and hatred." The crowd nodded, all while keeping their heads low. "However, we also witnessed great courage. In the face of adversity, the Tiger, our old friend, upheld the Ways of the Forest". Now, looking up towards the heavens, the Beaver said, "Somewhere in some unknown place, the Tiger will be watching over us, Always."

From some place unknown, the Tiger was watching over his forest friends and whispered,

"Always." onto the breeze.

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