Every night, after everyone has gone to sleep, I am still awake. I am a hunter and I hunt alone.
I slip quietly out the back door and the night is dark and cool and filled with the throbbing sounds of chanting crickets.
I slink out into the shadows and keep my head low.
It's there in the blackest blackness that I wait and listen.
Cars off in the distance.
Neighbors watching tv next door.
And then...a faint rustling in the leaves. A scampering through the grass and a brief flash of beady eyes.
My gently curving spring-loaded spine uncoils as I fly forward, grasping palms extended as I leave the ground.
Contact. Claws sink silently.
I've got it in my hands, then by the neck in my teeth. It stops twitching after a few shakes, and I saunter back to the porch.
I'll leave it, fully intact, on the doormat.
A thank you.
A "you feed me, I'll feed you" gesture.
But I know it still will be there in the morning. My gifts are never good enough.
A bigger one will come out in the morning, I'll slink inside the door, pretending not to watch for her reaction. But really, I'll be spying through the corner of my pale slit eyes as the long-maned one twists and stretches her mouth and closes the door in a huff.
It still will be there in the morning and I'll pretend to be aloof.
So now I'll sulk off into the night again to wait and watch and pounce and prey until I get a second for myself.
My gifts are always good enough for me.

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