Chalene walked confidently through the grass. She was beauty, she was grace, she was perfection. Her fur could compete with the most exquisite mane of any quadruped, its colour outshone the silver grey of the moon and her tail made every tom cat turn his head. She was the embodiment of what it meant to be the most graceful, yet dangerous species of all; a feline in her prime. 

Today she was striding through her realm towards her hunting grounds for some distraction and entertainment. She did not nééd to hunt for food; royalty like herself was cared for by the big, stupid humans. Walking around on their hindlegs like it was something special. However they knew enough to recognize their superiors, and as such provide her with any and all she required. True, at times it was rather tedious to get the stupid primates to understand what she wanted, but three summers had now gone by since she deigned to take residence in her current household and Chalene rarely had to make a fuss anymore.

However, they hardly provided her with the mental and physical challenge she longed for. Hence, the hunting trip to the forest behind the house. Swishing her tail, relishing the way it waved in the slight breeze, she walked leisurely to her playground. The neighbour’s dog was watching from behind the fence, so she walked close by. He couldn’t get to her anyway, so she might as well have a little fun with him. She walked just where he could see her, and when she heard the low growl, she sat down to clean her front paws. Tail neatly tucked around her body. A human passed by and oohh’d and aahh’d over her fur. She was not overly fond of being petted, but it made the neighbour’s dog even angrier. So she could tolerate it for now.

After strolling in the sun, the forest was nice and cool. Birds were singing loudly, high up in the trees. Cheating little nuisances. Chalene could, of course, climb any tree she set her mind to, but it’s such a… common thing to do. A real lady won’t risk her nails to get high up a tree, only to have the offending creature fly away. While Chalene had many, many qualities, even she had to admit flying was not one of them. The chatter of the birds raked her; if they had any decency they would keep their talk about sex and territory to themselves instead of blasting it for all to hear.

Ahead of Chalene the pathway veered to the left. The path would keep her feet clean but the prime hunting ground was in the fores-… Chalene stopped midstride and crouched down.

 Right in front of her, as if nothing in the world could bother it, sat her first prey of the day. A small bunny. Greyish brown, nearly invisible in the forest for all but the best hunters. It was clearly still a baby and currently all alone. The little thing nibbled some leaves, enjoying the few rays of spring sun that permeated the canopy. 

Chalene lifted one front paw up and started wiggling her rear a little, not really sure why but instinct kicked in. Involuntarily, she let out a little, excited noise before she pounced. She shut herself up right away, but it was enough. The infant heard the noise and darted away.  Chalene limited her focus to the baby rabbit now, forgetting all but the hunt. Becoming one with the forest, she ran after her prey. Gracefully jumping over a twig it went under, skillfully avoiding a tree it went past. The air rushed past her, her ears were tucked back and tail worked to keep her balance. It took all she had to follow the small animal, but oh how alive she felt. It tried to escape by going into a bramble bush. Chalene sped after it, unafraid of a few thorns for she was a gracious hunter in the prime of her years, she was grace and beauty and some common thorns would not deter her. Her long, luscious hair began to tangle with the thorns and the pull of her fur made her lose momentum, ruining the perfect thrill of the hunt.

Grumbling, she shook her back and shoulders, tearing clumps of hair out while she made her way through the thorns, gathering a score of twigs and leaves in her fur in the process. Chalene realised that the bunny was sure to have gotten away during her unfortunate encounter with the evil thornbush. She should use her time to groom herself, she was a mess. With a last push she reached the end of the thorns and looked around to find a nice quiet place to groom.

She stopped dead in her tracks. Inexperienced and young as it was, the tiny bunny sat in the middle of the clearing, looking around nervously. Instinctively Chalene flattened herself to the ground again. Ready to pounce, ready to win this battle of the hunter and the prey.

Yet, even before she jumped, the little nuisance saw her and scampered away. Chalene let out a low growl, certain she didn’t make a sound to have tipped it off. Why coudn’t  the stupid fluffball just accept its fate, so she could go back lounging in the sun? This hunt thing was a fun idea and all, but it  took way too much time and made her way too tired. Not to mention the toll it had taken on her purrfect furr. It would take hours to get back to her normal grace.

Speeding through the undergrowth she could see the grey furball fleeing on and on, it sometimes took a moment to look around, but always ran off just before Chalene could catch up. She chased faster and faster, losing track of time and direction but back in the thrill of the hunt. Finally, the little thing ran into a hole.

This is what Chalene was waiting for. FINALLY she will be able to play with her prize, maybe even take a bite. Also because by now she was a little hungry, but mostly because she was victorious after all. Chalene sprinted towards the hole and squeezed as much of herself in as she could, eager to catch her prize. Suddenly it became very dark. With her front paw she tried to feel around a bit, while she registered the smell of the old rabbit hole. It must be where their whole family lived, she could smell not just the bunny, but several rabbits seem to have been here lately. 

A red hot line appeared on her nose. It hurt, it burned, it was unexpected and she scrambled back as fast as possible. This could never be the tiny creature that she followed. Before she could recover, she felt something biting her nose. It hurt, it hurt so much.

While she clawed and crawled her way out of the hole as fast as she could, something kept on attacking her from the front. Dazed and confused she tried to turn and flee at the same time. She ran into a tree root, stumbled over her own tail and finally recovered enough to start running. She didn’t even know what happened, she only knew she needed to get away. A glance backwards showed her she was being chased by a huge, enraged rabbit, it screeched again, baring its long, yellow teeth and posing a terrifying sight to the confused and scared Chalene. She never knew rabbits could be this fast or this scary.

In about half the time it took her to get to the hole, she was back at the edge of the forest, shaking and dishevelled. Not where she started, but near houses nonetheless. Safely back in the civilised world, she finally looked behind her. The huge rabbit sat on the tree line, chattering away angrily. Next to it, looking smug, the little bunny she’d chased. She didn’t understand the chattering, but the general message was conveyed. Don’t come back, or else…

Grumpy, in pain, bleeding and tired she started the walk of shame back home. A human child passed her by, but ignored her totally. The neighbour’s dog tried to sniff her, but she hissed at it and tried to scratch it to no avail and the fence that kept her safe on the way there, is keeping him safe from her temper on the way home. To add insult to injury, the wind had picked up and her fur got even more tangled. 

With relief she squeezed under the door of her garden fence. Her humans made some loud and high pitched noises when she came in, taking twigs and leaves out of her fur and trying to coax her into drinking some milk. One tried to touch her bleeding nose, but Chalene was having none of that and scratched the hand with a hiss. Chalene didn’t want milk, she wanted to be left alone. 

Feeling rather sorry for herself, she decided to take up her favourite spot in the sun, on the windowsill. When the humans tried to approach her again, she turned her head towards the window, lamenting on the unfairness of the world. As she was dozing away, and almost fell asleep in the afternoon sun, a small grey ball of fluff appeared in the garden. It sat in the middle of the grass, brazenly washing its nose and ears in the sun. Chalene scurried under the couch as soon as she recognized it.