Challenge: Use prose or poetry to write a historical fiction story.
We were a long distance away, but my mother and I still heard my father scream from the edge of the distant riverbank. His voice coming from a place hidden by the trees at the bottom of the valley below our home on the cliff.
His warning was strong, its high pitch piercing, and the deepening tone as it trailed off terrifying. For only an eye blink there was silence before we heard the guttural roar of a big cat. After that we heard just one small noise: A sound no louder to us at that distance than an unintelligible whisper. Both mom and I knew it was my father doing his best to give us a final warning as the six-inch long teeth of the tiger crunched into his throat.
I lingered for a long time outside the cave entrance only because I was completely frozen in place. I alone knew my father’s final fear. Only seven sunrises ago I was five steps from that, massive, golden colored animal, and she kept looking at me, never breaking eye contact while slowly backing away as she dragged my already dead older brother back into the bushes to fill the empty bellies of her and her two scrawny cubs.
Finding food during this cold, white rain time of year has been hard for all of us living on the cliff. This year the white powder is deeper, the winds colder and the food animals fewer. Long ago, in a time of no rain when the sun stood higher and the days were much longer we had nothing to eat, and my father killed and then cooked an abandoned cub. From that day I have wondered if we taste as foul as the meat of a cat.
When you stare into the eyes of a tiger with prey in its mouth, you learn nothing. Whatever the emotion that was being expressed in those amber colored spheres was completely hidden from me, and later when I realized that, I hoped that the cat did not understand the fear in my eyes.
I was supposed to get our water from the stream today, but dad knew I was still scared, so he went, and what was meant to be my fate became his. Tomorrow that will be different. My father's scent from the valley to our cave will be tracked and it will be up to me to protect my sister and my mom.