TRIUMPH PENDING • by Lily Hunger

After years of battle, years of her mortal enemy escaping capture, vanishing without a trace, she is convinced that today is the day that she, Hunter-Supreme-Vanquisher-of-Enemies, will defeat the scarlet escape artist once and for all.

Despite years of reconnaissance, she does not know much about her enemy, just that the giant, flabby one without fur has something to do with it, as she only sees the scarlet light when he is in the room. Hunter-Supreme-Vanquisher-of-Enemies suspects that he guides is, controls it, but for what purpose? To torment her? To test her? To what end? When she finally succeeds, will he gift her an endless pile of those fish-flavored soft pebbles? Or more of the wonderful herb that makes her so relaxed that she will show the furless giant her belly? He can never touch it, but she will allow herself to look vulnerable for more of the herb. It is glorious.

Before the introduction of the scarlet demon, she led a pampered, spoiled lifestyle. She can hardly remember the days of her youth with her mother before her mother didn’t come back, before she was plucked from the earth, sick and weak, and thrust into a cave of metal where other giant fur-less beings came. They were smaller than her flabby slave. Smaller, but still giant others to gawk at her and try to touch her coat. Hunter-Supreme-Vanquisher-of-Enemies relied on her instincts in those days, she was a warrior in the making, thus her moniker, but that all changed when her blob of skin rescued her from the metal cave.

At first, Hunter-Supreme-Vanquisher-of-Enemies thought she was being returned to the wild. She missed the grass, the trees, the mice that she would chase, but was not yet big enough to kill. The small flying things to chase. It was a blessed existence.

Instead she was taken to the furless one’s cave. It was unlike any cave she had ever encountered, filled with soft things to sharpen her claws in, pebbles to eat, and smaller pebbles in a box to use the bathroom in. The furless one bellowed at her when she attempted to mark her territory, so she quickly learned to only use the little, sand-like pebbles that reminded her of the land by the river of her youth, especially when the land here was surrounded by short, soft claw-sharpeners that she could shred when feeling particularly motivated.

Thus, amidst endless nutrition, mouses that did not move and smelt of the glorious herb, and constant caresses and attention bestowed upon her by the hideous, but indulgent to her every whim fur-less one, she became complacent, spoiled, and a bit chonky in the stomach area if she was being honest. So, when the quick blur of scarlet came, she was unprepared.

Oh, the thrill. The anticipation. She salivated over the thought of it. It was so pretty, so compelling. It had to be hers. She must conquer it. Her instincts emerged, desperate for a chase, for a hunt, but, alas, no matter how hard she ran, she could not catch it. Instead, she lay panting on the floor for ages while it taunted her from just outside her reach.

Hunter-Supreme-Vanquisher-of-Enemies refused to admit defeat. She ran all night long, dashing all around the cave uttering battle cries as her flabby, fur-less beast was asleep to lose the hibernation weight she had gained. Just because she slept for a large portion of the day, does not mean that she needs the extra food, she told herself. The fur-less giant may dangle the scarlet light in front of her, but he always feeds her. On the occasions he forgets or is sleeping while she starves, her mighty roars are enough to remind him of her needs. She also waged war on the more boring prey, shredding it with vicious fury, sharpening her claws to the point where she destroyed everything in her path.

It took months of preparation to achieve the proper agility. She jumped up into the storage space for the fake-furs the fur-less wears, presumably for warmth, to strengthen her legs in preparation for the glorious pounce. Now, nothing shall stand in her way.

Hunter-Supreme-Vanquisher-of-Enemies waits. She spies light moving out of the corner of her eye, flying across their cave, so she chases it and waits, staring at the wall for ages, unblinking, for it to appear again. Her fur-less one coughs. Or maybe is amused, trying to summon her away from the wall, but she will not be distracted from her hunt.

Today is the day. She can feel it all the way from her wet nose to the tip of her tail. He whiskers shiver from the overwhelming thrill. When she sees it, she is ready. Flying across the room at top speed, a speed beyond anything her fur-less one could ever dream, she chases it. She vaults up walls when it tries to escape vertically, knocking over one of the mini suns, running, running, running.

Panting, she stops for a moment and narrows the slits of her eyes. Perhaps a new strategy is needed.

She lies down, feigning exhaustion. Sure enough, the scarlet prey approaches slowly, wiggling, taunting her. Hunter-Supreme-Vanquisher-of-Enemies remains strong, waiting for the perfect opportunity.

It gets closer.

Closer still.

Slowly, so as to not cause a retreat, she gets her hind legs into position, butt wiggling slightly against her will in anticipation. This is it. She lunges, paw coming to rest on top of her prey. Finally, Fina-


The scarlet light sits atop her paw. Attempting to cover it with another results in the same. It jumps through it. What kind of fur-less sorcery is this?!

For today, it appears she is defeated by these new developments. But no prey is uncatchable. Hunter-Supreme-Vanquisher-of-Enemies will one day defeat it. She will catch it if it is the last thing she does.

Lily Hunger is a graduate student in the NEOMFA program studying Creative Writing and Literature. Currently, she serves as the Fiction Editor for The Rubbertop Review. She has been published in Reunion: The Dallas Review and The Ashbelt.

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