Preyed Upon

I and my kind have roamed these lands for eons. I have no perception of time, so the sun rising and falling are of no consequence to me. I thrive in an ecosystem where every species has its place and familiar with their roles. I have no concept for the species for which I’m categorized; I only follow my animalistic instincts and do what’s natural. I live a free-flowing lifestyle; for I am the lord of these lands and ruler of all I survey. There are others that are thought to be superior to me, but are no challenge to my authority, cunning and intuition. I’m an imposing figure once upright and out of my stance. I’m deceptively fleet of foot and have the mental capacity to astonish. Some have thought I am the missing link to all existence; the strands of my DNA the missing piece to complete the puzzle of all humanity. And for this I’m WANTED.

This day is no different than any other. The morning dew litters the leaves and the sun rays pierce through the vegetation in which I dwell. I and other members of the troop go out to seek nourishment to fill our empty bellies. We separate briefly in an attempt to locate an area of abundance that will satisfy the needs of the band. The acreage in which I live is dubbed the “Dark Continent” because it remains shrouded in mystery and holds treasures the likes the world has never seen. Strangers have scoured these shores capturing my kind and ravaging the land of its resources. I wander the brush and detect an unfamiliar scent. My senses are now heightened. There’s uneasiness in the foliage; a twig breaks silently and I immediately perceive the presence of danger. I seek higher ground from the company of an enemy which remains invisible, and within moments I’m entwined in the confines of a net. I struggle to release myself from this prison and I’m met with butt of a shotgun; struck squarely between my eyes and forehead. I scrape and claw; bite and scratch and with the second blow, I’m left unconscious. I will see the lands of my birth no more.

I awaken caged and shakled. The ebb and flow of the seas make my stomach uneasy. I roar, shaking my enclosure unmercifully in an attempt to escape. My captors can’t understand me, as my dialect is foreign to their ears. Thus, my cries for help go unnoticed. To my enslavers, it’s an annoyance and they strike me with their staffs to silence me. I comply because I wish the pain to stop. We arrive at our destination and I’m met with awe; passersby halt in amazement. They’ve never seen a specimen such as me. Three (3) men to my left appear to negotiate an agreement for my services, and now I’m off to a life which is destined to be brutal and unbearable. They’re confident that because of my strength and size, I can outperform the work done by others; they’re correct in their assessment. They believe because of my stature, I eat meat and will devour everything placed before me, scraps, tiny morsels and all; they’re wrong because it’s been proven that I’m more herbivore than carnivore; the dietary change is something I’ll grow accustomed to. They assume because I can’t articulate my feelings, I’ll absorb their verbal abuse; they’re correct with their assumptions as with each act of defiance I am punished more severely. They think by cracking the whip and striking me with their instruments I’ll work harder, longer, faster; they’re wrong as I can only work to my body strengths and limitations. And after all of this, they force me to breed with others of my kind and continue the cycle that they’ve instilled. And for generations, I and my kind have entertained you; appeared on your televisions and featured films; you’ve pointed at me from the other side of impenetrable glass or a gate separated by a cavern; people have impersonated me and made a mockery of the ideals for which I stand; they’ve performed experiments and still can’t understand the state of my being; and if I’m deemed dangerous, they won’t hesitate to kill me on site. And though my freedom has gradually increased over the decades, I feel no freer than the day of my arrival. I yearn for peace and tranquility, and seek a reversal of the psychological damaged that has been inflicted upon me, plagued my kind and rule our existence. I am the Mountain Gorilla from Rwanda, Africa, and with my dwindling numbers I’m deemed an endangered species. Change my habitat to the concrete jungle and my species to human, what would I be? “We Are The Change!” I’m gone! (b)

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