• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 08

Shadow Side

When you moved into my territory, I began a campaign to win your affection. I groomed daily, rubbed my cheek glands on every corner and struck poses on the highest fences. I dropped hairs around the neighbourhood like a breadcrumb trail for you to follow.

     How to lure you? I seeded stories of my exotic heritage amongst mutual acquaintances. I made enquiries to learn about your past. I heard about the new portrait hanging in the hallway of your ancestral home, and commissioned the same artist to paint me in a similar style. My efforts spread across the county like tendrils of morning mist, only to evaporate before reaching your ears.

     In desperation, I hunted for days, then laid on a feast in your honour. I wore my finery, arrived late and made an entrance. You ate opposite me, but still refused to meet my milky green eyes. My heckles rose, my claws flexed. I lunged forward to snatch the meat from your jaw. Your eyes widened, mine narrowed. I hissed in your face then turned tail and stalked away. I didn’t know that you’d risen to follow me until I caught your musky scent lingering behind me along the dark streets, then heard the light rustle of your steps echoing mine upon the forest floor.

     I realise now, as we lie, roll and purr, that you fell in love with my shadow side. After all my attempts to match and mirror you, it was my wild feline fury that finally attracted you. I’m filled with lioness-confidence, a desire to stretch and move. I slip away when you’re sleeping, prowl along my favourite high fence and cast my silhouette against the sky.