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  • Terror fills my heart. The noise of the stream courts the silence in the dead of night. Cougar gazes around a great boulder by the water's edge as my eyes glaze over.

    I am fully on the other side of the pool, large enough to quench at least seven large elk. I am only just into the cover of brush.

    The soil is soft around me, so I gently lift my right hind to catch another anchor. Quietly. An acorn falls some trees away.

    The breath in me is instantly stagnant as glowing slits whip from the pool to scan the area. Another acorn falls.

    In a violent lash, pebbles, sand, and water are hung in the air as Cougar bolts towards the tree where the acorns fell. Half-way to the tree, a small animal falls out and sets off in a fury.

    I realize I am in mid-step and turn too quickly. The sound of antlers scraping dead bark fills the air only briefly before I run. The animal and I are running divergent paths, yet Cougar only realizes the catch trade-off when he is upon the animal.

    Free. Today.

    Photo Credit: Flickr Free Commons

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