Tiger by Polly Clark


Polly Clark

Two continents and two totally different lives collide in this powerful, raw and at times, disturbing read. It's not disturbing in a frightening kind of way, but it does concentrate on the reality and harshness of the natural world. Entwined through the story are the Siberian tigers: majestic, ruthless, beautiful and predatory. After reading this I'm still undecided on keeping animals captive. I'd be interested to hear your views.


Luna was waiting at the glass when I appeared. Her hearing was impeccable, and her one eye was wide and clear, taking in everything. When she saw me, her face concertinaed in a hiss. I found it so hard to reconcile the hostility that radiated from her with the cuddly twitch of her teddy-bear ears, and, frankly, the sheer beauty of her head. In the weeks since her arrival, she had filled out handsomely. Was this what men thought about cold, beautiful women, why they turned them into haughty princesses in fables? It was impossible to be sure of any consistency. Gentleness shown at one moment could vanish the next.

I tipped the carcass into the flesh cell. When I had shut and locked my side, I pulled open the slide so that Luna could drag the meat away, foolishly not securing the slide rope when I called for her. A bomb of orange and black detonated against the door. I screamed, but miraculously did not drop the slide, which would have cut off her tail. Gasping, I wrapped the rope safely round the hood. Her claw, and then her fangs, poked through the barred window in the door. Her eye stabbed me with its void.

Then she turned her attention to the carcass, dragged it out and set upon it as if it was going to escape.  Oh, she was hungry.

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