Fight to the Death

Being immortal,
Stockton Dupres did
not fear death.

He knew that his
reanimated self would walk
the Earth again shortly
after he fell.

The problem was dying.
Violent death was very,
very painful.
And no matter how many
times it happened,
his body always fought it,
as though it were not
aware of its special ability.

The crowd grew louder as he and the creature circled each other.
Dupres marveled at the unusual animal. Thinking it looked like a big strange dog.
And then it laughed and began clicking its teeth at him.
A Hyena! Dupres had only heard of them but was well aware of their vicious reputation.
He would have to infect the mind of the beast, for he had no weapons.

In another time, he might have prepared for such an encounter
by making several acorn bombs in advance.
But having been Valentinian's prisoner, he had not the makings of a bomb at hand.
Dupres sat back on his haunches, trying to be as non-confrontational as
possible and began speaking to the creature telepathically.

"Why should we perform for them?" He asked, looking up at the terrible crowd.

"I perform for no one but myself." Stated the Hyena firmly.

"Oh, then you enjoy being held in a cage until you are let out into this arena?" Dupres went on,
"We are both slaves to the humans, and have no free will."

"Stupid squirrel," The Hyena lowered her head and snapped her teeth shut again,
making a frightening sound.

Dupres was beginning to think he would have to die but continued to speak to her.

"Were you stolen from your sisters and children?" He asked softly.

The Hyena stopped in her tracks and tried to remember her life before.
She did have sisters and children once, and a mother . . . All dead at the hands of humans.

The crowd began to laugh at the comic sight of the ferocious Hyena stalling in front of a squirrel
who simply sat down, nonchalantly in front of her.
But the Hyena wasn't laughing anymore.
She turned in a circle, looking up at the cruel spectators and growled menacingly.
"I'll kill as many as I can," she snarled.

"No," said Dupres,"Let's reeaallly irritate them!"

The spectators, hungry for death, now began to roar their disapproval.

And there in the center of the Colosseum, a Hyena knelt before a squirrel.
Dupres leapt upon her shoulders and rode around the arena as if he were on a carousel.

The spectators began to laugh hysterically and point, not only to the spectacle, but to Valentinian as well.
He was mortified.
He sent armed slaves into the arena to dispatch both creatures.
But the Hyena turned to face them defiantly as Dupres spoke to them telepathically, making each believe that God himself was talking to them.
The slaves, believing that the voices in their heads were from God, threw down their weapons and stripped naked, just as God had ordered. Then dropped to their knees.

An enraged Valentinian took a sword from his guard and charged into the arena.
Dupres knew that Valentinian would not succumb to his telepathy and so, prepared for the worst.

To be continued . . .

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All squirrel animation and photo alterations by b.kee(c)1999

Original squirrel photo (c)Gregg Elovich
Hyena photo: San Antonio Zoo

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