I remember the yellow grasses of Sont’Jin. The green hue of a dead city, never to be renewed.
I am lost here, not among my kind. Those around me are weak and I cannot tolerate their weakness. It is the killing weakness of the hunted, of the lost. I remember home, where we would speak freely among equals and not fear the sound of MACHINES. I remember home where one need only fear that which she knew. I remember home where one hunted freely and without apology, while those of lesser strength stood back from those that fed the Pride.
I remember a leader, one who hunted well yet longed to possess new worlds. I remember battles where sisters were lost–not in honorable face to face combat–but to unseen claws. I remember apparently sentient beings who carried tools to harm one another–tools that made the weak strong and dishonored the brave.
I long for home, with my lost sisters that shall never again run alongside me. I long to taste death with fangs sunk deep in my prey’s haunch, after a fair chase and with no “tools”.
I long to end my species’ travels and see twin moons rise full above blue plains. I long to feel my mate behind me in time of season. I long for home, for life, for honor. I cannot find one honorable creature on this planet, even the prey hides in the ground or lives in the sky. I long to return to a life I can understand.
I have killed many since leaving my birthplace, yet I feel neither remorse nor satisfaction. That which I have taken the life from has neither the honor of the hunter nor the strength of honorable prey. I long for home yet cannot reenter that metal cage with no sky.
I need my life returned to me. I place my sister below the surface of this forsaken planet and I know she will never leave this barren place. I weep for want of joining her, and am ashamed at my weakness.
EJ Shumak lives in metro Chicago, Illinois, and has spent most of his life in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. He has been many things, police officer, large cat sanctuary operator, C.P.A. and on again, off again writer. Lately on again. He holds membership in S.F.W.A.. and has sold four books, three fantasy novels and one non-fiction along with several dozen short science fiction pieces and non-fiction articles. This year, (2015) his work appears in SciPhi Journal and Superversive SF.
Image by Martin Pettitt