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My absence of a mane might have you believe I am tame. That I can be managed. I might appear playful, perhaps, so much so that if I jumped from these walls, we would engage in a game, you and I. A kitten-ish chase, with a colourful ball of wool. I would bat my paws, this way and that, but you would be in control. So cute, you might say. You would pat the top of my head if I made a pleasing leap. My tail would swish with pleasure. Possibly, I would purr.

In fact, if you put your hand too close to my head, it would not be returned. Your fist, removed from wrist, would be my prize, the blood trailing from it like a line of string, rich red and vivid, viscid. I would lick at it while you screamed. I am a living roar. I do not purr. My tail is a whip. It does not swish. I am a hunter, a stalker, a killer of your kind. The leader of a pride, I pursue my prey with all the benevolence of a bullet; I sneak close to a critter, become its shadow, and then I leap. I take lives with my teeth. I open throats as you do letters. Be warned, human, I am not a pet, a fuzzy feline to pat and play with. For I was carved by a furious hand, and my other name is Death.

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