I'M A VESTA, NOT A MAN!
Dreamed 1980/1/6 by Chris Wayan
I live in a giant caldera, a vast old volcanic crater, now full of lakes and warm springs. Beyond are cold mountains. I'm a vesta, a caribou-like guardian of the valley, golden-horned and violet-eyed.
My human friend, Lindsay, visits. She likes my long winter fur and velvet nose, and pets me until I'm hot. Then she wants me to lick her all over, until she comes. I lick and snuffle, enjoying her salt, and her scent, and the little cries...
Because I want you and you use me, maybe? I don't say it, just think it and look at her with one violet, dark eye. An eye that can't lie.
She adds, though I haven't said a word: "But you're not a man--he is."
I decide I've had enough of Lindsay.
I climb up the high crags like a mountain goat, scouting a way out of this crater I'm in. But wildlife researchers and game management officials follow me, hunt me. At last I turn and do a little hunting myself. Catch and challenge a low-ranking scientist: "If I can beat you at riddles, you must give me the key out." He agrees, knowing that animals don't grasp science. But I rattle off the answers to every riddle he tries. He didn't recall that the powers of a vesta are speed, agility, intelligence... and clairvoyance! What I missed out on, by not going to human school, I pick from his own mind. His pride flattened, and a bit scared of my horns, he reluctantly pulls out the Key and hangs it around my neck.
Triumphantly I clop up to the pass and use the Key. But I'm spotted and chased away from the Gate! Hunted again! I felt smug and took my time, now I'm paying for it. I flee up to the highest crag. The hunters can't climb it, but they've trapped me.
I don't want to fight to the death. And I won't go back. What, then? Well, they're scientists, so...
"I was promised free passage if I could answer riddles you thought I never could. Why are you chasing me? I earned the right to this key and you have to admit it..." trying to get them to disagree... because if they challenge me, I've got them hooked. The moment they acknowledge me at all, I'm bound to win.
And get out of this no-win valley.
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