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Seena snaps awake, ears pricking at the click-click of the razor-talons of a Merken hunting. She is already moving with unearthly grace when the talons strike the tiles of her roof again. Sliding into the darkest corner of the room she allows the velvet dark to seep into her skin, staining her until she is one with the shadows. She lowers the lids of her eyes so that the Merken cannot catch their gleam in the sharp starlight. As the musky death-scent of the Merken rolls into the room Seena struggles not to gag or envision the bits of rotting flesh caught in the teeth of these predators that capture, kill and then let the meat rot before consumption. Carrion eaters through tradition and preference.

Though Seena breaks a promise to herself as she releases her own set of claws and the animal within, she can think of no other way to protect herself and Byel. She lets her fingers harden and sharpen, her teeth drop and jaw elongate. Her spine burns as if dipped in liquid glass as it stretches and pushes spikes through her back and along the tail that grows coiling itself around her feet. She readies herself to cut the leg tendons and arteries of the Merken, hopefully killing him before it scents Byel, so new to the world. Just as she coils to attack she hears the click-click of another set of talons and a voice from the doorway.

“Mommy, what’s going on?”

And she knows this fight is lost.

***

Inspired by Trifecta’s word of the week”

ANIMAL (noun)

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