The Last Quagga
I hear the guns in the distance, the humans on their horses chasing after me. Tired and weary, yet I cannot stop galloping. My life depends on it. I am the last wild quagga of the African savannah. For as long as I could remember I witnessed the savage and bloodthirsty humans raid the savannah, chasing my herd as far as we could run before killing off a few. For too long I relived countless times the awful scenario of waking up to find less and less quaggas roaming the savannah by my side. Yesterday I had witnessed the last quagga from my herd captured and killed. Today would be my turn unless I fought back. So I did. Gathering the last bit of strength in my legs I dart across the ground like lightning until I could feel the hunters dropping back. Finally when I could not hear them any longer I stop and turn around. The sun is setting, casting a beautiful multicolored glow across the land. Nowhere to be seen, the hunters had given up on the chase. They were gone, leaving me safe at last. Weary and breathless, I waste no time in lying down and closing my eyes. Tomorrow would be another day. Then I could relax and spend the day grazing happily by a stream. That would be wonderful. Despite all being well there is something preventing me from sleeping. I force my eyes open a tiny bit. In front of me stands a quagga in the midst of a mist. I cannot identify his identity but I know he was from my herd.
“Get up!” he called out to me.
Heeding his warning I stand up. “I am tired,” I responded. “What is it that you want?”
“You are the last quagga to roam the entire savannah,” he answered. “The danger has not passed, you are not safe! You are tired, but you must run! Run until you come to a long river that curves like a snake. It looks shallow from the banks but it is deep and rocky. You must take caution if you wish to cross safely. The humans may be fast on their horses but they do not know the savannah. And once you cross, do not stop running. The humans can still shoot you. Keep running until you cannot see or hear them at all.”
After delivering this message to me the ghost quagga vanished. Straining my senses I gaze out to the horizon to see that the ghost was right. About ten to twenty humans, mounted on their swiftest horses, are approaching. Following the ghost’s orders I run, nearly stumbling on a loose stone and slipping because of my weariness. I can not see the river ahead of me but I know the quagga was right. Two of the humans shoot at me and miss. Three more shots follow but I ignore them and keep galloping. At last I can see the outline of the river in the distance. As I gallop faster the river is appearing closer and closer until I jump into its waters. Swimming at my maximum speed I struggle across to the opposite bank. I feel my front hoofs touch the bank and hoist myself onshore. The humans are very close now but I know I have to keep trying. A young gazelle hiding in the bushes watches me gallop past. She, too, senses the danger approaching and bolts off to her mother. I am too large to hide so I have no choice but to run. Remembering what the ghost quagga had told me I do not stop galloping until the hunters are out of sight. When they completely vanished in the distance I stop and observe my surroundings. I am in an unfamiliar part of the savannah. My herd and I had never traveled to this part of the savannah. That does not matter now since I am without a herd and cannot return to my homeland. I am the last quagga in the savannah. Through me the legend of the quagga lives. I cannot be helpless and complain any more. I have to be strong. An entire legacy will depend on it. I will not let the quagga die.