Nnamdi Agu shifted the bundle to his left shoulder, and walked on. He tried to hasten his steps to keep up with his mother as they headed for the village. He was bubbling with excitement. Tomorrow, he would be going to Umuoha, to begin school in JSS1. He whistled a few notes, then stopped short as he remembered it was bad luck to whistle in the bush. He stopped and put down his bundle to ease himself.
The big cat bounded down from the tree. Her eyes gleamed in the dusk. She sighted the human, one hand on hip, passing water by the road side. A small growl escaped her throat as she crouched, claws out, ready to spring.
Nnamdi turned and saw two eyes gleaming yellow in the dusk. Paralyzed with fear, he sank to the floor. All the tales of people attacked by leopards he had heard were swimming around in his head. He tried to scream…….
……. The leopard reared back in shock as the human dropped to all fours. A loud, irritated growl came forth. Humans did not growl, they were prey, unless…..the leopard pounced, and had to hurriedly duck as a large paw with sharp claws swiped at her flank. She righted herself and hissed sharply at the young male leopard. Mating season was far away, this was hunting time.
Ears flat against her head, she whimpered once, then bounded off into the undergrowth. There would be easier prey elsewhere, far from the male leopard’s hunting range. Nnamdi, covered in sweat was still sobbing in shock and relief when his mother came to check on him. His leopard had just knocked for the first time.