he strode down a bamboo lined trail

straw hat pulled low to shield his eyes from the rays of the sun that cut like fire forged steel

his instincts honed

his resolved folded ten thousand times resulting in an edge sharp enough to separate atoms

every strike microfracturing the surface

leaving a pristine razor for the next incision

the click of his wooden sandals the only sound in what should be a lively stretch

he felt the cold emeralds on him for the last league or two

a barely perceptable rustle in the underbrush

a whisper

he continued on as if unaware

then suddenly nothing

clearing his mind and stretching his senses to the their absolute limit he paused midstep

he slowed his thunderous heartbeat and felt a drip of sweat run it’s way down his spine

the humidity making the air thick

clinging to his entire taut frame

he lived for the moment before action

the tightly strung infinite second pulled in all directions forever

an explosion from the shadowy green

orange and black stripes and gleaming fangs and claws launched

a six hundred pound bladed projectile

unblinking eyes of the predator

he snapped to action

throwing himself to the right as his left flicked out almost negligently

a roll and stayed crouched

left arm still extended

hot blood dripping from the three feet of metal

the tiger

unaware of what has transpired

or in disbelief

stands on four shaking paws for a moment

then slumps as a steaming pile of entrails lazily drops beneath

he runs a silk scarf down the blade and slides it back into the sheathe on his waist

bows low to the tiger

forehead nearly touching ground

clicking of wooden sandals resumes

his journey far from over

he adjusts his hat and smiles

this journey has barely begun


2 thoughts on “stripes

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