They move in the dark, not at all silent, great thundering footsteps clashing against the ground, clumsy beasts with their reflective eyes and hissing calls. They scream at the moon and bait one another, tails twitching, claws catching on every little thing. They fear nothing, at this time of night — anything that looks like terror is merely a play-act; they bottlebrush and puff up, and their bared teeth are more of smiles than anything else.
They taunt the caged one, and listen to her whimpers, listen to the thump of her tail, begging for friendship, for attention, for anything but these long, dark hours of neglect, and the whine she makes through her wet black nose as she watches them gallivant without her, as they cavort, taunt, tease, and terrorize.
They climb subtle mountains and breathe in the night’s scents, catching the briefest hint of far off prey, some nesting bird, only just out of their reach. They sing, longing and high, raking themselves against any object that will stand still long enough to feel itself gouged and flayed.
They are kings and priests of the night, lovers and murderers, and they will dance what precious secrets they have, until the darkest hour, when they will mourn the moon, and grow silent as the its death promises the sun’s birth. There, they will lie down, and die a bit, themselves, falling into silksoft sleeps and tail-twitching dreams, waiting to do it again, as soon and as often as possible.
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