Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Prompt: Not all that glitters is gold

Thanks to Calyn McLeod for her generous permission to use her charming “Blue-Sided Antelope”!

Kheezhia stood patiently by the watering hole while the oxpecker groomed her long fur. Chespi was her favorite, because he always remembered not to bite her.

The very first time she came to the watering hole as a foal, Chespi hopped over her mother’s back and landed right in front of her. His black feathers had been perfectly groomed, and his bright black eyes held a merry friendliness that the other oxpeckers didn’t share.

By way of introduction, he said “Bit your mum once, when we were both young. Right on the shoulder. What a big juicy morsel I thought I’d won! Blech! I tasted that nasty blood for weeks!” He spat three times over his shoulder at the memory, and Kheezhia giggled. Chespi glared, but she already knew she liked him.

“Last time I ever bit a bluey, I’ll tell you! The others get careless and nip from time to time. You stick with old Chespi. I’ll take proper care of you,” he concluded, as he began briskly cleaning the mud and burrs out of her long, multicolored fur.

“You favor your mum, but I see some of the old stallion in your stripes and horns.” Over time, Kheezhia had preened under his care. She was the only foal with twisted horns and black stripes like the herd leader. Her coloring was all female though, bright blue horns in front of her long-tufted ears, a blaze of pink that ran from her muzzle atop her back to the tip of her tail, and under her chest and belly like a band. The characteristic blue tassel fur at her hooves and tail was highlighted by a “windowpane” outlined in black on her sides. She bore her mother’s purple stripes as well, though hers ran around the windowpane and under her belly too.

Most unusual were the black stripes along her forearms and stripes. She had the most of any blue-sided antelope in living memory, even more than the herd stallion. Kheezhia had heard the adults muttering about what it meant—a female with leader’s stripes. She paid them no mind, too full of playful energy to worry with grown up thoughts.

Today, Chespi pulled the last of the burrs from her long tail. “Not even a single big fat tick to reward old Chespi,” he groaned with his same old joke. Kheezhia always brought him sweet grasses filled with ryebugs when she came for a cleaning. Ticks didn’t bother blueys any more than oxpeckers or hyenas.

Kheezhia pranced home across the savannah trail, delighting in her shiny, tangle-free coat. A slight rustle was her only warning before a ball of fur bulldozed her in a tangle of limbs. Kheezhia scrambled loose and sat on her haunches, huffing and glaring at her attacker. “Mojik, look what you’ve done! Chespie just made me beautiful!”

The young jackal lay on his back and laughed until he gasped for breath. When Kheezhia tossed her mane and strutted around him, he jumped up and fell in stgep beside her. “Aww, don’t be like that Khee! You used to tumble with the best of ‘em! Till your fur grew out and you turned into such a priss!”

Kheezhia whipped her horns down and under his belly, flinging her head high and flipping him once more onto his back. “Priss, huh? We’ll see about that. Last one to the acacia is a rotten ostrich egg!”

Dogs in house
Houdini, Maize

Time writing:
~45 minutes, interrupted

September word count:

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