Felton shuddered as he peered out from his darkened hiding place. Something was very wrong. There had been strange noises and smells that evening. Snaps and thuds, a scream, and then far, far too much silence.
As Felton strained his ears for sounds of his parent’s return, his stomach began to churn. He had not yet eaten that day and as the pangs of hunger mingled with the fear creeping through his body, Felton knew it was time to move.
Felton unfurled his trembling body from its crouch and took several cautious steps into the open. He stopped. Sniffed. Wrinkled up his nose and sniffed again. No longer encumbered by barriers, the strange smells swirled and danced, rolling through Felton like an Oregon fog. There were smells that tugged at his tastebuds, rich, nutty, and sweet, and Felton’s mouth watered. Oh, to end that hunger! And there was a smell that stood his hair on end, organic and pungent, reminding him of the day he was born, the smell of vitality coalescing with finality. And stand on end did Felton’s hair. He wanted to run, to escape that smell, to curl up again in his hiding place, but a final smell drew him on. A smell that yanked at Felton’s heart. Somewhere near, his parents!
Felton raced into the darkness. Hunger momentarily forgotten, he pressed toward the smell of his mother, eyes adjusting and gathering more light with every step. And then he saw her. Or rather, he saw half of her. Her legs and tail lay exposed and contorted hanging from the jaws of an unmoving beast. Felton took a step back and then with his heart leaping into his throat he raced to his mother’s side. The beast didn’t move. Neither did Felton’s mother.
Her body was still warm, but as Felton nuzzled against her hind legs he knew the warmth was fading. He sniffed her body and smelled her fear, fading like her warmth. He sniffed the crescent of drying blood, arcing away from his mother’s hidden torso and head, and smelled the finality. Felton’s adrenaline surged and as the visceralness of the scene washed over him, Felton raced away blindly into the blackness. Away from the place where his mother had last screamed. Away from the moment where his mother would no longer be fading warmth and only be gathering cold. Away from the finality.
He raced on and on until he came to a place where the smell of richness and nuttiness and sweetness took a hold of his senses, pushing out the adrenaline, overwhelming the fear. He stopped and crept toward that smell. There was something oh so familiar about this.
And then Felton let out his own scream.