Blind Strike











Javelina reappeared over the top of the rise, the rest of the herd circling back behind him. They were about fifteen Peccaries in all. 

They came back to the edge of the pool, where Squirrel squatted over the waterlogged pear. The mud was swirled with pear juice and blood from Squirrel’s pierced lip. The herd formed a semicircle around Squirrel and Javelina stepped forward, grinding his long canines together, top against bottom. The sound was like rock on rock. Javelina grunted, and a female stepped forward from the semicircle. When Javelina sounded a high-pitched clack, the female proceeded to rub the back of herself all over Squirrel, who let out a series of worried squeaks, but held her ground and stared at Javelina’s hooved feet.

When the female was done, she stepped back, disappearing into the herd.

Squirrel now smelled like them. She could almost taste the odor rising off her fur.

“Eat!” Javelina said proudly, stomping his hoof to the ground. He rotated his snout and proclaimed, “Eat and become one of us!”

Squirrel, who was weak with hunger and shaken by her strange experiences in the desert, had no strength to resist. She would do what Javelina commanded. She sank her teeth into the prickly pear, and let the spines bite her. A stream of juice flowed over her lips.

“This one is under our protection!” Javelina said. “Her name will be White Paw. And now let us show her what it is to be javi-born!”

Grunts and clacking noises rose from the herd. They began to shuffle and sway in a peculiar oscillation, raising their hind legs out behind them  one at a time, dew claws flashing in the moonlight.

A young javi stepped forward and lifted White Paw with his snout. Soon she was flying through the air and when she landed, she shook and stomped her paws and kicked her hind legs in the air. She shimmied and undulated like a fish out of water. She moved like Cobra moved, and like the herd moved around her.

Together, Squirrel and the javelinas made a rhythm that could be heard for many miles, a rumbling that would protect them by making them sound many times more numerous than they actually were.



et cetera