In the valley of the leopard

The dawn had just begun gaining on the night, when the leopard spotted the hermit trudging through the thick wet soil.

Slow rays and opaque shadows began to form around them. The leopard shifted on the tree truck with only his eyes staying where they were. The dew on the leaves glittered before crashing down in a shudder.

The rays were pale in this morning, no colours tinged the east, no flush warmed the dawn. The coldness left everything in a semi-translucent glow. The morning came as slowly as a heavy treasure box being opened. But the light was weak, like the monsoon had almost won, extinguishing the Sun.

Ragged winds wheezed, stirring the night clouds. They fluttered but did not stray like an over-confident flock of birds. The hermit looked up with a sudden jerk that surprised him, an unexpected spasm had jumped up on his back.

The sunlight filled slowly leaving a colourless silver gleaming grasp around the horizon. Under these delicate vapours the earth was sodden, puddles exploding over drowning grass, the earth giving way and moving with ease. It clung to paws and feet, gathering distressingly over the tips of claws and toes.

The night birds were still alight, rushing under the wings of the biggest trees that still had clumps of darkness lingering within them. The sun was then risen, a white clear disk, tintless, almost chilling to look at. It remained half hidden behind the dark crest of a hill, looking down solemnly down the whole length of the narrow dale. A dirty trail followed the hermits laboured steps growing ragged and uneven as it came closer to him.

A small grass plot surrounded by scanty brown stalks, flowerless let itself be glimpsed briefly. Behind it was a whitewashed mud wall, bare and stained by water logging. Around it were trees gracefully gathered and rising around the cottage. All alone in the dale they looked imposing. It held an air of seclusion and dipped out of sight.

The hermit only saw himself cast down, his muddy hands over the little flowers of weeds, and thorns pressing into his hands, the dew gathered on them began to mix with blood that at once rushed all around him as he lost all sense around his neck feeling a heavyness on his back, firm nails begin driven deep inside him.

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