Race the Date #9

 

26 Hours | 300 Words | 1 Globetrotting Prompt

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About Race the Date:

  • The challenge runs for 26 hours, from 0500 EST on Monday until 0700 EST on Tuesday.

  • Prompts are inspired by the different time zones.

  • Minimum word count is 100 words, maximum is 300 words.

  • Include your word count (mandatory) and Twitter handle (recommended).

  • Generally speaking, a winners blog will be posted by Wednesday evening (EST).

  • Race the Date awards an overall Winner and up to three Honorable Mentions.

 

 

Why 26 hours? Barring daylights savings time tomfoolery, the challenge is set to begin when UTC+14 (the first time zone to roll into any given day) begins a new day and ends when the last time zone, UTC-12, begins that same date.

This week’s globetrotting prompt is inspired by UTC+6:

Bangladesh, located in UTC+6, is a country in South Asia, located on the fertile Bengal delta.

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The Prompt: Bengal tiger – the national animal of Bangladesh and India.

bengal-tiger2

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Post your story in the comments below. The clock is ticking. Good writing and good luck!

15 thoughts on “Race the Date #9

  1. Aiden’s initial reaction to her warning was to laugh, but his mother had lived in this town longer than he and had seen the Callahans’ machinations. She’d bore the brunt of it a few times. It shouldn’t surprise he she’d go all mama-Bengal-tiger to protect him. She’d done that a few times, too.

    Aiden nodded. “I remember the Callahans’ influence, Mom. But here’s the thing. It’s been eighteen years and Moira’s a woman now. We can make our own decisions about who we want to be with.”

    Mazie snorted and raised an eyebrow. “This is their only “little girl”, Aiden, and they don’t take a lack of control over said girl very well. You should’ve been here when she demanded her inheritance and said she wanted to start her own business. Her family just about lost it entirely. They even went so far as to see if they could legally keep her from building any business that remotely resembled the Cliffhanger Bar.”

    Mazie shook her head as Aiden scrubbed the towel over his head and shoulders. “It was sad how controlling they wanted to be.” A smile curled Mazie’s lips. “But that girl has guts and she stuck with it. Now she has the most popular coffee shop in Cloudburst and she’s only been open six months.”

    “And her family’s still complaining?” Could they really be so blind to Moira’s abilities?

    “No, they were mollified when she didn’t choose to serve alcohol and she’s doing so well.” Mazie shrugged. “I think they worried both that they’d lose business to her, affecting her brothers’ livelihoods, and she wouldn’t do well, affecting hers. It’s an odd way of doing things, but parents are rather particular about their kids.”

    Aiden laughed. “Yeah, Mom, I’ve noticed that trait, for sure.”

    @SiobhanMuir
    296 #WIP500 words

  2. Feline Pride and Prejudice

    The tiger’s primal roar had scarcely faded on the breeze that rustled the tall grass when his mate appeared.

    “Seriously, Sumon? Seriously? Have you no better ways to pass your day than menacing fat European wildlife photographers? It is…unseemly for you to behave in this manner.”

    Sumon was not intimidated by her reproachful tone. “What is unseemly, Kanta, is that you should berate me thusly. Have you forgotten the indignities inflicted upon my sire? Not content to merely kill him, the two-legged bastards committed acts no honorable predator would even consider. They stripped the flesh from his bones! They treated him as one of their damnable harvest fields…plucking his whiskers…his claws…his…they took his tail, for Vishnu’s sake!”

    Sensing the futility of argument, Kanta flopped down and sighed, resigned to enduring an entire afternoon of Sumon’s impassioned, incessant and irritating anti-human rantings.

    300 words @klingorengi

  3. Michael stood before her boldly showing himself and then Michael concentrated very hard and turned himself back into a man. Michael braced himself for the scream but none came, just a shaky voice asking, “What are you?”

    “A Bengal tiger.”

    “A tiger?”

    “Technically I am a Bengal were-tiger, but you get the picture.”

    “What am I in an episode of Grease?”

    “I’m glad you’re taking it so well.”

    “Taking it well? My fiancé’s a Bengal tiger.”

    “And…”

    “Where do we go from here?”

    “Do things have to change Laura?”

    “Michael can we have children?”

    “Yes.”

    “Will they be human?”

    “I don’t know. Do you still want to marry me?”

    Laura hesitated for a moment and then said, “I still love you, God help me.”

    “Can you accept me as I am?”

    “My perception of you has changed, but inside you are still Michael.”

    “I love you Laura, let’s get married in Vegas tonight.”

    “You can’t make me a were-tiger can you?”

    “I could, but you don’t want me to do you?”

    “Yes, I do.”

    “No, you don’t.”

    “Please…”

    “Wait a week; if you still want me to I’ll do it.”

    “Let’s go get married and in a week I’ll be your true equal a female tiger.”

    Michael took out his I-phone and scrolled quickly his fingers moving quickly, “We’re all set tickets to Vegas will be waiting at the airport.”

    Michael smiled she did accept him life would be good for Michael and Laura even if Laura became a were-tiger like him.

    252 words
    @SweetSheil

  4. 279 words
    @jujitsuelf

    A Godly Duty

    The chilling, terrified wail was cut off abruptly, fading into bubbling moans and eventual, blessed silence.

    The gibbon god opened his eyes and glanced at the deer goddess, then groaned. “Tiger again? When will he get tired of mauling wayward humans?”

    “When they learn to stop stalking his kind,” Deer replied, her voice sharp despite her delicate appearance. “If you’d seen your charges hunted mercilessly for their hides for centuries, would you be forgiving?”

    Gibbon shrugged carelessly, Deer suddenly found him too similar to his human cousins for comfort.

    Tiger trotted back into the cloud realm, his shining whiskers suspiciously red.

    “Are you done posturing?” Gibbon asked acidly. “Some of us were trying to nap.”

    The glare the tiger god shot him was pure venom. “Some of us, brother god, were trying to do our divine duty and protect our rapidly diminishing species.”

    Gibbon yawned and folded his arms across his stomach. “Too much like hard work for me.”

    “That I can see,” Tiger growled, stalking across the fluffy clouds to flop onto his favourite cushion.

    “Don’t despair,” Deer said, her liquid eyes kind and worried. “Perhaps the humans will come to their senses and leave your charges alone.”

    “Perhaps,” Tiger sighed, and swiped a massive paw over his blood-stained face. “But in the meantime, they make the most delicious snacks. Seeing as I’m eating them as part of my godly duty, I’m not adding them to my daily calorie count.”

    “You’ll be a size zero in no time,” Gibbon muttered. “Now please, napping here. Shush.”

    Tiger growled but settled down to clean his whiskers. Deer sighed, even in their cloud-top paradise, peace was a fleeting thing.

  5. The tiger paced around the cage, all muscle and teeth wrapped in a rippling fur coat. The bars were wrought iron, and I’d made them as thick and heavy as I could while still being able to lift them, but I still wasn’t sure they’d protect me from her. Even her tongue looked strong enough to knock me over as she laved her lips and yawned. Any hope of survival I’d had was utterly misplaced – no wall of iron was going to protect me from her, if she decided that it was time.

    When the sky grew dark, I slept. When I was hungry, I ate, though the rodents that passed this way weren’t that nourishing, and eaten raw, they curdled in my stomach, but there wasn’t anything to burn within reach that wouldn’t have drawn more companions like the one on the other side of the bars. Besides, I told myself that it was somehow funny that she was being forced to subsist on the same things as I was. As if the creatures of the jungle were anything other than an appetizer for her eventual meal.

    And then there were the times where she sat back on her haunches and stared at me, as if she was trying to figure out what to do with such an unusual toy. Humans didn’t come to this part of the world often, and I now knew why, my dreams of adventure and fame turned ridiculous in an instant, once I’d set eyes on her magnificence.

    I’d made this cage thinking I would capture a prize to bring back home. But when I’d seen her, I ran inside and closed the door without thinking. I swear, sometimes I saw her laughing.

    289 words
    @drmagoo

  6. A Token of Remembrance

    Gina walked through the forest like a queen.

    I am a queen, she thought; a fading one. My line is ending and there is nothing I can do about it. Sure they have created ‘laws’ against killing my kin – as though they take them seriously. Their laws are nothing like the laws of nature: binding, honest, trustworthy.

    With heavy steps, she walked in the grass. She pretended not to see those ugly iron fences that surrounded the natural reserve. She liked to call it the forest for it gave her a glimmer of hope.

    “Mama! Look at the tiger! It’s beautiful.”

    I was beautiful, child. I wish you could have seen me in all my glory, when I roamed wild and free. My hide shone beneath the sun like a thousand coloured diamonds. They were beautiful days; if only you knew.

    “It’s shame they don’t let us hunt’em no more. That fur’d be worth a fortune!”

    Gina heard one of the observers.

    Poacher. She grunted angrily to herself.

    They come in all shapes and sizes. Even the women on the far right think my fur is worth more than my life – for a petty coat!

    We are not evil; we were created as wild ones. But humans don’t understand that; anything that can eat them is evil and beastly. Typical. They haven’t seen themselves.

    Greedy poachers!

    Gina stood before the gathering audience, some watching briefly and some about to leave.

    Here is something to remember me by.

    She stood, her fur glittering black and orange beneath the sun.

    One final stand.

    And she roared with all her might, echoing on every airwave, little breeze and howling tornado.

    Word count: 277 words (281 words including the title)
    @NadaNightStar

  7. The stream running through the jungle was a good place to stop and set up camp. It provided shelter as well as the perfect viewpoint. The tiger would soon approach to drink or even bathe. Cats not liking water was a myth as far as the tiger was concerned and Brad was sure he’d be near enough face to face with his prey.

    Patience.

    Brad was used to waiting for his quarry.

    His finger itched as it was poised, a practise for when a tiger came into view.

    The setting was perfect and Brad found it hard to hide his excitement as a low growl reverberated through the jungle.

    The jungle erupted in a cacophony of warning cries.

    The tiger was near.

    Through the long grass, Brad was sure he saw movement and he trained his eye, not moving an eyelash, afraid to breathe.

    Brad was controlled, despite the adrenalin. He was only a matter of feet away from this magnificent animal, could see clearly the sparkling eyes, the huge padded paws.

    Silently, the tiger stood. He seemed to be staring right at Brad. This was his only chance before the tiger would bolt into the undergrowth.

    He aimed. His finger gently pressed down.

    A gentle click.

    The tiger yawned then skulked back into the jungle, leaving a deliriously happy Brad with the photo of a lifetime.

    227
    @Lizzie_Koch

  8. Man, this place is creepy at night. It smells like raw meat and ammonia. Gah I hate the smell of cat pee. Provided my subject cooperates, this will be worth it in about ten minutes.

    Sneaking down the concrete hallway, I pass by several blue doors. Each door has a square cut out of it with a scratched Plexiglas flap over it. Inside, I can just make out the slightly blurry figures of the tigers housed here.

    Creeping into the room at the end of the hallway, I smile. There she is: the cub that’s been all over the news. Her mother died and the father is traditionally kept away from her. I’m going to give her a loving home.

    Checking for cameras, I quietly pick the lock on the enclosure, walking into the nursery. Ara sleeps in a cage, her purple tongue hanging out as she swats something in her sleep. I quietly slip a purple harness over her, fastening it around her mid section. Clipping a leash to her, I gently pick her up. She isn’t too big; I thought she’d be a monster, but she’s no bigger than a one year old child. She lets out a small mewl but no one hears.

    Holding her tight, I make my way out. For a tiger, a Bengal no less, she’s very calm. She’s awake now, looking at me with big, brown eyes. Probably wondering who I am and where we’re going. Smiling, I walk into the chilly autumn night. My friend Mark waves me into his truck, smiling as he pets Ara on the head.

    “She’s perfect, isn’t she?” he asks, stubbing out his cigarette.

    He drives off as I hold Ara. She nuzzles my chin, purring, a smile on her face. I nod, smiling. Yep, she’s perfect.

    300 words
    @Aightball

  9. Anil

    The Hero falls, no longer in grasp of the truth behind his promise of destiny and love.

    He holds his sin before him, and he whispers, bringing his fingers close to his lips, how he longs to be taken home, where darkness is replaced with light and the hero is only a child that cannot manifest into a man poisoned with revenge and destroyed by false love. There in his palm is his name, Anil Shyama, but to him it sounds broken. His colored skin, strips and orange clay, itches and hurts.

    He’s lying on the bottom step of a palace belonging to the ruler Ravindra Vasanta; the deity of power and cruelty descends the steps with a gold knife in his hand.
    “Stand, Anil” Revindra lures him.

    Has the tiger lost his claws?

    Anil longs for death, and as he raises his eyes he sees her and he sees Death – his stolen lover, but no, never his. She, nameless watches him, her face unhidden for a last time to witness the death of the man she betrayed.
    The sun is a red coal burning then melting behind the dunes that mark the horizon.

    It is how the story ends.

    But then as the knife swings its death blow, a gentle breeze of sand soft as cashmere reaches the Anil’s ear. It is his name spoken by her; it falls heavy and poised with the strength of his being.

    The marks on his body become animated; they dance with the roar of a Bengal tiger, the roar of a reborn Hero. Anil feels the grit of his teeth; the smell of revenge fills him up.

    Silhouettes perform a ballet of deadly moves, until one enlarges itself over the other and the act is done.
    The Tiger roars his triumph.

    300 words
    @Raptamei

  10. Lungri’s Revenge
    184 words
    @LadyHazmat

    Once again, there were children in the jungle.

    He’d nearly tasted such tender meats as these once before, but the village boy had escaped, a slight that was still raw and throbbing, even after all these years. The great Bengal inhaled deeply, savoring the fragrance of succulent man flesh.

    He moved soundlessly through the moist jungle undergrowth, stealthy despite his uneven limp, toward the source of the alluring fragrance. His sensitive nose, undulled by the passage of time, discerned two distinct scents. That of a boy child and that of a girl child. The great cat’s stomach produced a roar that rivaled one of his own.

    He reached the edge of a clearing. There, lingering near the watering hole, were his intended prey. Unaware. Unassuming. Unguarded.

    The Bengal crouched. Eyes wide. Tail twitching. His deformed leg pained him, but he paid it no mind. He was Sher Kahn, rightful lord of this jungle. He would not be denied.

    This time, he would sup on the lean, sinewy flesh of man-cub and satiate his thirst with their blood.

    This time, there would be no escape.

  11. The piercing scream of the beast broke through the thick silence. Amanda jumped, pulling the blanket around her. She thought going to see ancient sites would be exciting. What wasn’t exciting was her tour guide stealing her bag and leaving her in the middle of the jungle with wild animals.

    The last hour had been spent crying. Then it got dark and the jungle exploded in a chorus of sound.

    “I am so going to die. I don’t want to die. I just wanted an adventure.”

    Amanda had picked a direction and walked, hoping that she might come to a road but so far no luck. She was hungry, scared, in dire need of a shower and –slap– getting eaten alive by insects.

    “No more adventure. Stick with boring. Boring is good.”

    Another scream of the cat. She flinched. “Boring is safe.”

    Branches and underbrush snapped as something came close to the hut and she shivered, fingers fumbling with the blanket to pull it around her and over her head. If she covered up and acted like the ground, she would be okay, right?

    There was a snap of a branch just outside and something chuffed.

    She froze and curled into a tighter ball. She had heard of blood freezing but never thought it was an actual thing. She pulled the blanket over her head, eyes the only thing showing as the stripped creature came strolling into the hut.

    The tiger sat down, staring at her before muscle and skin bulged. Color shifted as bone snapped and reformed and there was a naked man standing there, black hair hanging in his eyes.

    “What are you doing, American? Little girl lost?” He grinned, exposing sharp canines.

    “I just want to go home.” Her voice quavered.

    “You’re a long way from home.”

    300 words
    @solimond

  12. Sally was six when her father took her to the animal shelter to pick out her cat. She’d always wanted a cat, and had begged her parents for one for as long as she could remember. “They’re smaller than dogs. And they don’t bark.”

    She’d tried everything she could think of. “Ruby’s cat’s named Caesar. He let’s me pet him. He has such soft fur. Mommy, he’s orange all over! He sits on Ruby’s lap, and purrs.” She’d tried to purr. “Purrrrrr. Purrrrrr.”

    She’d told Santa at the mall what kind of cat she wanted. “I want a girl cat. She’ll be orange, with black and white stripes, and I’ll call her Shiva. And she’ll have a big, swishy tail. Can you find Shiva for me, for Christmas?”

    The night her parents told her she could get a cat, she got so excited she couldn’t sleep. That morning, she’d brushed her hair, clipped in her favorite bow, put on her prettiest shoes, and her Sunday dress. “It’s a special day! I want to look special for the cats!”

    At the shelter, they looked at all the cats. “There must be a thousand cats here, Daddy!” When they found one she liked, they’d get to sit in a little room, and visit the cat. Some cats were mean. They hissed at her. Some were sweet, and licked her fingers, and purred. None of them were just right. “Is there an orange one, with black and white stripes?”

    A helper guided them to a cage. Inside was an orange cat, with black ears and paws, a white tummy, and white stripes, and it was a girl. “I LOVE her! She looks just like a Bengal Tiger!”

    That was the day Sally brought Shiva home. And so the story began.

    299 words.
    @LurchMunster

  13. The Tiger’s Tail
    by A J Walker

    Chhaya, the tiger, watched the villagers festivities. Even through the undergrowth and evening darkness he saw their brightly coloured garments as they sang and danced. They looked happy. Chhaya was not.

    Earlier in the day he’d seen a traveling man with a basket entertain the children with a pungi and a great snake – he immediately recognised the bespectacled Aswara and saw his discomfort.

    Aswara had been missing for several days and whilst they weren’t the closest of friends their truce between each other felt like kinship. It was difficult to watch him swaying groggily for the sake of a few rupees. Chhaya needed to do something to help. He couldn’t get near the village as it was well defended – they were well aware of his presence in the jungle. He needed a plan.

    A dripping sound behind him caught his attention and he turned to see his swaying tail hovering above a puddle. Plop. He looked at his muddy tail like he’d never seen it before. Plop. A plan.

    Next day Chhaya waited in the undergrowth. Early in the morning as hoped, the snake charmer walked the perimeter with his basket, a sack and a forked branch – peering and prodding the undergrowth. Chhaya turned his back on the charmer and slowly swished his tail – he’d worked all night perfecting it.

    The charmer saw a fantastic snake he didn’t recognise and put down the basket in readiness to catch it. When his forked branch poked behind its head he was surprised to see the mud flakes. He was surprised to see orange and black fur. He was most surprised to see a tiger turn and pounce from the forest.

    Chhaya left the man trembling whilst he carried the basket into the forest and freed Aswara. They became real friends that day.

    (300 words)
    @zevonesque

  14. “The Natural Order of Things”
    Kristen Falso-Capaldi
    @kristenafc
    294 words

    Billy Charity was beautiful and mean, which seemed the natural order of things. Maria stared out the window of the junior high bus, dreaming of him. It was Wednesday when she first saw the woman in the tiger print coat. She was staring at Maria.

    That afternoon, the woman walked into Maria’s parents’ store. She was tall and stunning with a brilliant red mouth; she walked like she’d never been afraid. When she stopped in front of Maria, she stared a little too hard and squeezed Maria’s hand when she took her change.

    After that, Maria saw her everyday. Mornings, she watched Maria watching her from the bus window. Afternoons, she came in the shop, always squeezing Maria’s hand and holding on too long.

    “I really like your coat,” Maria said one day. “Tigers were my favorite when I was little.”

    “I remember.”

    Before Maria could question her, she was out the door.

    The next time she came in, Maria was crying.

    The woman stared at her, her mouth agape.

    “Why are you looking at me that way?”

    “I remember this.”

    “Huh?”

    “Some guy was cruel to you?”

    Maria nodded.

    “But you like him anyway?”

    Maria nodded.

    “Don’t.”

    “You don’t get it. Junior high, it’s like a–”

    “Jungle?”

    “How’d you know I was going to say that?”

    “Don’t waste the next four years obsessing over Billy Charity for God’s sake!”

    “You have no idea what it’s like to be me,” Maria said. “I’ll never be you. I’ll never have a coat like that.”

    “It’s just a coat.”

    Maria rolled her eyes.

    “You want it so much? Take it.”

    “It doesn’t fit me,” Maria said.

    “It will.”

    The woman tossed the tiger coat on the counter and walked out of the store and strode away.

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