It was hot, as it always is. Why do I have to live in Africa? My plan for today: eat, sleep on someone's bed then get chucked off when they realise I'm there, eat, sleep in a tree, eat a bit more, maybe drink, maybe not. As I prowled over the dusty yard in front of Leopard's Den with the sun's rays beating above me, I was sure I could hear footsteps behind me, as if I was being followed. I knew who it was without turning around.

"Go away Peeters," I growled at the vulture behind me.

"Why?" He came from behind me and walked beside me instead, "you okay?"

"I'm just hot...and tired. Please leave me alone Peeters," I smiled, "I have claws."

"Oh I'm so scared," he laughed sarcastically, "I better start running."

"Yeah you better, I could catch you even when you were flying."

"Says the cheetah with three legs."

"You want a bet?"

Peeters smiled, "okay. I'll run to that tree over there," he pointed to the tree in the distance-the one I usually sleep in during the day, "if you can catch me before I get there, you win."

I took some time looking at the tree, planning where would be best to attack and how. It seemed-if I concentrated-somewhat possible.

"Fine," I agreed, "as long as you fly low."

Peeters nodded, "okay, you ready?"

"Three," I pushed my back leg back into the dirt and lay my front legs in front of me, as if about to pounce.

"Two," Peeters lowered his head and lifted his wings



I lifted my feet from the ground and ran, reaching top speed in less than three seconds. For now, I would concentrate on running instead of the vulture just in front of me. Every time my paws hit the ground, I could feel my lungs getting drier and heavier. Slowly, I started to lose my breath, and I knew I would have to make my move before I got too tired. As I carried on running, I never took my eyes off Peeters, lowering my head and shoulders as he got tired and flew slower than he had started. When I was almost directly underneath him, I leapt. My claws dug into his feathers and he screeched a piercing shriek that hurt my ears.

"Cassidy!" He screamed, "Cassidy stop!"

I released my grip in shock, falling to the ground with a thud. As I looked on to Peeters in front of me, his black feathers were stained red with blood. He dug his beak into the ground and pulled himself up, stumbling a few times.

"Peeters I'm so sorry."

"Cassidy why didn't you stop?"


"What to you mean?"

"We passed the tree ages ago, I just didn't stop flying because I was afraid I would fall back and hit you in the face."

I looked behind me. He was right. We were about as far away from the tree as we had been back at Leopard's Den. I must've been concentrating on running so much that I hadn't noticed the tree go past me. I lifted Peeters onto my back and headed back.