A Roar of Hope

A short fictional story about the impacts of tiger poaching in a man's life.

A Roar of Hope.


                 Bang! The bullet torpedoed through the cold, brisk air, and tore through the tiger’s muscular body like it was made out of butter. The beast hit the icy snow with a frightening thud, lying motionless, its eyes glazed over with fear. That makes the third tiger this month, thought Ahmi, as he crept past the dead twigs and branches that shrouded the snow-filled landscape, to where the tiger now lay limp.

                 Ahmi released the bloody iron trap around the tiger’s left paw, and it clasped together with a frigid snap. Sometimes poison traps did the job, but this time the iron trap and gun completed the task. It was impossible for Ahmi to carry the 600 pound body by himself, so he asked for help from his fellow poachers. They tied the paws of the creature onto a long wooden pole and let its head swing to the gravity of the earth as the two heaved the weight onto their shoulders and headed back to the hut.

                 Poaching was just another job Ahmi worked to support his wife and two kids. When he first started, tens of thousands of tigers thrived in the wilderness, but slowly over the years, the numbers decreased to about only 3,000 tigers left. Most of his customers request the tiger’s fur, claws, teeth, and other body parts for as much as $50,000. Some of the poachers he knew even hunted helpless cubs, but Ahmi strayed away from that path. He secretly detested the poaching ways, but he couldn’t find another option to support his family. Times were hard, but then again, life as Ahmi knew it began during a time of famine and scarcity. If only he could find a way out.

                 That night, after preparing the tiger for the dealers, Ahmi twisted and tumbled into a deep sleep, only to relive the events that happened earlier that morning in a foreboding nightmare, but this time, he was the prey.

                 “Let go of me, let go of me!” Ahmi incessantly screamed, but not a sliver of life paid heed to his cries of desperation. In this particular nightmare, he took the persona of the majestic striped beast, caught in the iron trap of never-ending pain and torture. Droplets of blood formed in the cracks of his paws, staining the alabaster snow crimson with each rotation of his limbs. Please make it stop! What is this vile purple, staining the fur on my paws? Every slight movement keeps me in agony! Please, someone, somewhere, take this pain away…

                 All of a sudden, Ahmi’s dream transported him to a different setting. He morphed back into himself again. Spring appeared and blew him kisses from the breeze of the cool forest. Midnight, when the moonlight cloaks the jungle with a serene grace, and instills the rivers with a shimmering lullaby. He noticed three other beings across from him, but they were unaware of any abnormalities unfolding, resting at the other side of the river. He slowly crept towards them, curious and bewildered, and hid behind the contours of the jungle.

                 The moonlight fell on the beings to reveal a tigress and her two cubs. The magnificent beast dipped its head into the cool water and let out a satisfied growl. Her cubs tried imitating her, but managed only a tiny growl, which sounded more like a meow. With water still prickling its whiskers, the mother raised her head calmly and caught sight of the man hidden across the stream. Her stripes only glimmered more brilliantly in the moonlight, accentuated by the passing water that flickered playfully, reflecting waves of light across her fur. In that brief moment, their eyes locked, and a peace passed through the two of them, finally understanding each other’s ways, their differences melting away into the reflections of themselves in the water.

                 Then, the elegant creature spoke with a dignified roar. “We’re the same as you, Ahmi. We desire a peaceful home where humans let us thrive in our ecosystem like we’re supposed to. We also want nature to run its course, but devoid from human disturbances and destruction. Deforestation and logging, poaching, urban expansion, and other man-made obstructions deter us from a life filled with appreciation, peacefulness, and complexity. We want to coexist with humans, and we want them to look at us and appreciate the beauty of this world and the beauty of existence. Don’t be scared Ahmi. If you wish for a change, it will fulfill its course, in this time or another…you can be the change…”

                 The words of the tigress trailed off and suddenly, Ahmi awoke with a burst of amazement and fervor, immobilized by the tiger’s powerful words. He knew exactly what he had to do. He had found a way to save both the tigers and his family.