The gorilla would be outflanked and outnumbered. Tongues lolling, eyes gleaming, and mangy fur blowing in the warm breeze, the hyenas would encircle the anxious ape. The gorilla would stand, jump, beat his chest and let loose horrible shrieks that would send the other forest creatures into their distant hiding places. All the commotion, however, would be to no avail. The hyenas, not easily intimidated when they sense their advantage, would close in slowly. No one would be willing to strike first, sensing the incredible power of the silverback. Together, though, they were drunk on their united strength. Closer, closer. The gorilla turned quickly and lunged at a hyena nearing his back. He was several yards short of making contact, but the hyena lurched backwards. The others made a pause so momentary as to be unnoticable. They were not yet in their ideal striking range, and patiently, so patiently, did they proceed.The gorilla, seeing the retreat of the single pack member, tried again lunging at another one; but this time the target did not withdraw, only halted, and its mates made no cessation.
The jungle smelled of death. The silverback had a gash on his right arm. Blood matted his fur from where, earlier in the day, he had battled another silverback for supremacy of the vicinity and the love of a mate. Now, already bloodied and bruised, he was to be eaten by a pack of miserable hyenas. He felt his blood boil. The hyenas surrounding him turned into one blurry circle, as they were so close now that they were practically side by side. One blur, one perfect ring, enclosing him, strangling him. The moonlight glistened on the blood on his silver back. He closed his eyes.
When he opened them, he let loose a fierce roar. If he were near Mount Olympus, surely Zeus would have heard the resurrected battle cry of the great Achilles. As it were, only a final squirrel overhead in a tree heard, and dropped dead like a fallen leaf to the ground. With eyes newly open, each hyena took shape and form, and not a second too soon. The circle was so close now that one hyena, on the gorilla’s wounded side, dove forward to attack. With a renewed energy, the gorilla spun and with fists clenched together and only the might of his massive arms, struck the hyena. It flew fifty yards through the air and landed with a thud against the thick trunk of a distant tree, lifeless. Its fate was unmourned; no sooner had it been struck than did three other hyenas jump the lone gorilla. One went for a leg below the knee and clung with its jaws; another onto his left arm; and a third on his back. Four others began a series of snapping, retreating, and returning. With all the rage he could muster, the gorilla began with the most immediate threat: the one to his weapon. With his right hand, he grabbed the hyena on his left arm by the head and squeezed. The hyena’s skull was hard, but not so hard that the silverback in his rage could not crack it like a nutcracker a nut. He threw the body at one of the snapping hyenas, striking it and momentarily stunning it. With both arms free now, he grabbed the hyena at his leg. With one hand on each side of its body, he again squeezed. The hyena’s guts exploded within it and slowly seeped out of every orifice. By now, the bastard on his back had become more than a nagging pain. It was an excruciating wound, and crippling, so that the gorilla fell to its knees for a moment. Sensing a weakness, the other four hellspawn attacked. One, the gorilla thumped with a double fist, crippling it. Another the gorilla lifted by a single leg and threw several feet, breaking its leg in the process. It lay whimpering in the distance. The rear assailant jumped down and backed off. Realizing that the odds had severely worsened, it joined the other in reassessing the battle. The gorilla, bloodied, silent besides a desperate panting, was wild-eyed and still ready to fight. Weakened, yes, but strong. The hyena’s saw their decreased numbers. Lacking the nobility of individual battle, they walked on all fours backwards, past their dead and wounded, into the dark and welcoming woods.
The silverback sat tensed for hours. He watched the dying of the wounded hyena left behind. This was his land. He would defend it. This was his life. He would keep it. He fell to the ground on a pile of bloody leaves and slept.