Today’s The Day

picnic basket illustration

“Stop running around like a blue-arsed fly and sit down on the blanket!”

The child froze, then turned to his mother and pouted. “But I’m bored.”

“I’m bored of your whinging.”

“But I’m hungry.”

“So sit on the blanket and eat some berries.” His mother raised her brows to let the child know that there would be dire consequences if he disobeyed.

The child did as he was told, but he couldn’t resist a whine of: “I hate berries.”

“They’re good for you.”

The child dropped to his bottom on the plaid blanket and reluctantly selected a bright red berry from the bowl before him. He curled his lip. “I want some real food.”

“The real food will be along soon enough, but you have to be patient. And quiet. Quiet being the most important part,” murmured the mother with a roll of her eyes.

The child slipped the berry into his mouth, chewed once, and shivered. He checked that his mother’s steely gaze wasn’t on him, then spat the mouthful out onto the mulchy floor of the forest, just to the side of the blanket.

He opened his mouth to bleat about the sourness of the berries his mother insisted on feeding him, but when he looked at her he knew he couldn’t.

She was as still as a statue. Her neck was stretched out and her head cocked. Her nose twitched as she sniffed at the air, and her ears strained to noise that was almost imperceptible.

The child followed suit. He raised his nose to the sky and sniffed at the air.

“Humans,” he whispered. “My favourite.”

“Be patient, little bear,” said his mother. “Wait on my cue to pounce.”

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