Jalleed could feel the grass and twigs under his four paws as a ran freely through the woods, from tree to tree, from bush to bush, from thicket to thicket. He looked around and all he could see was lush green space. He happily nibbled on nuts and berries where he could find them. He
Jalleed had everything he needed to lead a productive life as a racoon. What more could he need but food and space to run? Jalleed lived in a two acre green space that had been in the city center since its inception. Undeveloped it served as a place where humans could get back to nature without having to leave town.
Jalleed froze as a group of four adult deer galloped by him only to stop in a small field nearby. No kids, and constant necking. This group was obviously on a double date. Add to the dismay the fact that they wouldn’t stop talking to each other in that in that annoying deer accent that, try as he might, Jalleed would never be able to understand. “Would you deer knock it off?” He asked them. They stared at him blankly for three seconds and continued their conversation. He was a racoon, communication was just not going to happen between the two groups.
He looked up into the sky and was bombarded with images of bluejays and robins courting. They didn’t know it taunting him. Reminding him that he was a mature racoon who had not found a mate. Yes, Jalleed was single. It wasn’t for lack of trying. In the year since he had found this wonderful place, Jalleed had covered every millimeter of ground and had not once seen another raccoon with which he could continue the species. He spent his days care free. He didn’t even need to worry about where his next meal would come from because he could eat anything that existed in the park. For exercise he would wander through the woods in search of dogs to taunt as they dragged screaming humans behind them in their quest to catch him.
But all was not well in this paradise. Jalleed’s brain was taunting him too. It was sending him negative signals reminding him of his need to reproduce with another raccoon and the fact that he wasn’t getting any younger.
Today he was desperate. It was all he could think about. Jalleed began to run faster, driven by this most basic of goals. At long last he burst through the final cluster of trees into a grassy clearing that gave way to a concrete sidewalk beyond.
He was going back. He was going out there. Jalleed would need to summon his old city survival skills. There was no way he was going to find a mate if he just stayed where he was. The last year had taught him that he would have to go out and find a female himself. Once he brought her back here, if he survived, he knew she would love her new surroundings and have more reason to stay with him. He set off down the street. The hard concrete of the sidewalk was going to take some getting used to after being away from it for so long. Night had fallen sufficiently enough that humans had retired to their excessively large and complex dwellings.
A lone car drove by, its occupant paid no mind to Jalleed as the human was too focused on his driving task. The excessive noise startled Jalleed. Paradise had caused him to forget how loud the city could be.
Jalleed breathed the bitter air. That would take some getting used to as well. No matter. For the moment he owned this deserted street. He owned the night. Now he just had to find a warm, fuzzy, ring tailed body to share it with.