Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Prompt: Not all monsters are monstrous, Part 2

Thanks to Raikuni for permission to use her powerful image, “Seedeater 1”!

A boodhin emerged from the brush on the far side of the clearing, swinging its head side to side in broad swipes and spearing the ground with its thick claws at each lumbering step. It stood twice as tall as any hunter; its leg muscles bulged, each ending in four long, curving claws the size of Keffen’s hand. Its head was long and narrow, and it looked armor plated, as did the heavy scales that made up the thick ruff around its neck and mane that stretched down its back to a clubbed tail.

How could they possibly hunt this thing bare handed? Surely it would kill both of them in quick swipes of those massive legs and claws, or a snap of the heavy jaw that ended in a rough beakish point. Keffen smelt the sour scent of urine. He looked down and blushed to see he had dribbled onto the sanguot tree branch, leaving a blue trail where it ran over the bark and dripped down to the leaves below.

Rappeh nudged his attention back to the boodhin. Watch.

It sniffed the air, and Keffen’s heart pounded – had he revealed their position high on the sangout branch? No, the boodhin focused its tiny eyes on the bushes where it had entered the clearing. Keffen recognized the clusters of unripened sweet ghang berries, shining light green against the darker hues of the leaves and branches. The boodhin swung around and settled down, leaning to its side, exposing its smooth plated belly. It reached up and with unbelievable delicacy, picked several berries between its long claws and reached down to its side.

A tiny yellow beak squirmed out of the boodhin’s belly. Keffen stared wide-eyed as the boodhin patiently held a berry while a tiny black tongue licked it and finally wrapped around the berry, pulling it into the open yellow beak. The boodhin started a low rumbling, that Keffen realized was like a khayt’s purr. Another yellow beak peeked out next to the first, and the boodhin held a berry for it too. Keffen turned to Rappeh. “It carries its babies? That’s a female?” he whispered.

Rappeh nodded and leaned back on the sangout branch with a smile. “Not all monsters are monstrous, young hunter. Though there is no more dangerous foe than a boodhin mother protecting her young.”

He motioned down, and Keffen watched the boodhin, who now fed four hungry babes peeking out of her belly pouch. Rappeh continued, “If we killed her, we would eat well. But having killed her and her babes, what would we eat next year?”

He smiled, “You must also learn to see past the hunters’ tales. Fierce as they look, the boodhin is a seedeater. Not a predator. Aside from the mothers, boodhin are some of the most peacable creatures in Andoshen’s great kingdom.”

Rappeh He rested his head on his arms. “Get comfortable, young hunter. When she is gone, I will show you a nesting colony of heesim.”

Keffen felt his mouth water at the thought. His mother made the best heesim stew in the village. He vowed to bring home enough for everyone. For now, it was enough to settle back on the sangout branch and watch the tender boodhin, and ponder how different things could be from what they seemed.

Dogs in house
Houdini, Maize

Time writing:
 ~30 minutes

September word count:

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