You freeze in your tracks and your whole body becomes tense. This is the hideout of another cat. A male, nonetheless. This could be dangerous... or interesting.
Trying to decide if you want to encounter another one of your kind, the howling of the storm pushing through the opening of the cave makes you decide between the storm and the tiger. And you quickly come to your senses. Better the tiger than the storm...
So you carefully make your way around the bend. You can't really see in front of you, it is just too dark, but you can smell him and the feel the warmth of his body as he lies right in front of you. Your heart beats faster and you don't really know what to do. But he seems to be as tense as you are. He seems to be just as fearful of having to deal again with the storm as you are. So you decide to sit down. To be friendly. You push yourself into the edge of the small room so you don't block the exit. You try to be as calmly as possible, to tell him, that you don't want any fight.
And he seems to get the message. His heart rate and breathing becomes more calm and he relaxes a bit.
You are relieved.
And although it becomes harder to find your own calm with another predator right beside you, slowly the fatigue of the travelling overwhelms you. You close your eyes and start to doze off. Your mind begins to fill with the comfortable warmth of sleeping.
Until you feel something pressed against your body.
Your head darts up and you try to make sense of whats going on. But then you hear a soft purring sound from the mountain of muscle and fur right beside you. And you feel his warmth pressed against your lower body. And it feels good. You start to doze off once again...
You both sleep far into the next day. The night was just too stressful and the cave is just too comfy with this other tiger right beside you. But when you wake up, you finally are able to make out the form and appearance of your cavemate. He seems to be a bit bigger than you, and his hair is black instead of white, but other than that, he is clearly one of your kind. Slowly you stand up and stretch a bit, waking him up in the process. He doesn't seem to mind, so you walk out of the cave, driven by the hunger that wants you to hunt again. And so you climb out of the cave, stepping out into the snow, although you have to dig a bit, as the entrance is blocked by a big pile of it. But finally you can breathe the fresh air of the morning and let the sun shine down on your fur, through the leaves high above you. A new day has begun.
Written by Lifeguard Arran on 24 June 2018