Gorak was the name its mother gave it.
It was like its father – an Apex Predator. Born almost self-sufficient. Within a few weeks it had left its mother’s side. It hunted alongside its father.
It was Spring and there was prey everywhere. It killed when it was hungry, and ate its fill. It never stored anything. What was the need. It had not known anything except Spring.
It met others of its kind and they always talked about how plentiful the prey was. No one ever talked about the future. No one talked about seasons.
Things got even better in Summer. Migrating herds came in from the North. Summer made spring seem sparse.
Gorak ate its fill. It considered killing for sport but deep inside it was an instinct that respected the lives of its prey. It watched as others of its kind killed for the thrill.
The herds became thinner as summer passed. Gorak wondered what would be next. It had only known the generosity of Spring and the limitlessness of Summer. What wondrous seasons were next.
At the very end of Summer, the floods came. The herds disappeared. Many of the Spring animals disappeared too. Gorak had a hard time. Its father made sure Gorak didn’t starve. Prey was hard to find and there were far too many of its kind to compete with.
Fall was cold and wet. Prey was so rare that it saw others of its kind become cannibals. It took to sleeping in trees at night.
Gorak was smart. Prey was extremely scarce but Gorak found a way to survive. Its father left for the South.
It watched countless of its kind perish. Often at each other’s hands.
The despair of Fall and the loneliness of its father’s departure left a deep mark on Gorak.
Gorak was one of a handful of its kind that survived the Fall.
Winter was bitterly cold. Winter was harsh. Winter saved Gorak. Animals reappeared. They were different. They were still meat.
Gorak and the remaining of its kind flourished. They walked about proudly once more – the Apex Predators.
Winter passed slowly. Gorak was worried. Unsure what would come next.
Spring and its bounty arrived with a flourish.
The others of its kind went back to their ways. Killing freely. Not thinking about tomorrow.
Gorak still thought of the Fall. The Fall when its kind had fallen on each other. The Fall when hunger had been its best friend.
Gorak set about preparing for Fall. Elaborate measures that its own kind mocked.
It trained itself to be disciplined. It set up hunting spots and hideaways. It scouted others of its kind and learnt their weaknesses and strengths. They were not prepared like Gorak was. Some were not prepared at all.
Summer of a Different Shade
The herds arrived in summer. Things were wonderful and others of its kind forgot all their worries.
Gorak waited for the inevitable thinning of the herds. It never happened.
It was a different summer. The herds didn’t thin out. There was more prey than Gorak and its kind could dream of.
In the midst of plenty, Gorak still remembered the lessons of the last Fall and Summer. It remembered and waited.
What will Fall bring?
Gorak sits and waits. Prepared for the Fall season that nearly killed it.
Its preparation has set it free. Its fear has kept it prisoner.
Others of its kind mock it and wonder.
Gorak often wonders too. But it wonders different things.