She heard Rava’s cries, telltale signs of a struggle, and was up and sprinting towards the sound without a thought, heart racing. Laura knew the many dangers of the jungle, living there for so long, and she couldn’t let Rava face them alone. They had known there was a rogue panther, fur a dark gray compared to Rava’s own midnight black, wandering the borders of their territory but Laura had been hopeful that it would move on to a new hunting ground. It became harder to navigate the farther she went, foliage blocking her way as the jungle grew thicker, making it harder to see in the near darkness. Vines smacked her face as she ran but she didn’t care, needing only to reach her friend.
Laura froze when she saw the black form lying on the ground, blood muddling a normally sleek coat. She knew it was Rava, years of familiarity between them, yet her heart screamed that it wasn’t true. She slowly approached, muscles suddenly stiff and fighting her every step of the way. Warning bells in the back of her mind reminded her that she should be more cautious, the rogue panther could still be in the area, but she dismissed it numbly, only able to focus on the black panther in front of her. She dropped to her knees beside Rava, gently pulling the panther’s head into her lap, cradling her while stroking her fur for the last time. The leopard had fought hard and at least now she could feel no pain from the multiple claw and bite marks marring her pelt.
Laura left Rava under the stars surrounded by the jungle that she had grown up in and returned to their- her camp. She took out her drawing supplies, fingers itching to draw something, anything, to get her feelings out on the page. She brushed her hand across the paper with quick erratic strokes, covering it with charcoal. The end result was a smoky image of Rava’s face, lips curled back baring her teeth, eyes conveying her strong fighting spirit. Laura sat, staring at the drawing as it flickered in the light of the campfire. She could still remember the mewling little creature she had found all those years ago, alone just as she had been. They became each other’s family, prowling the jungle as one. Laura slowly reached out, letting the paper fall into the fire. A tear traveled down her face as she watched the flame curl around the edges of the paper almost hesitantly before engulfing it in a small flash of light, ashes fluttered around her as if it was a final good-bye from her beloved companion before floating off with the wind, leaving her alone once more.
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Character: Graphic Artist
Plot: Character reacts when a beloved pet dies