"The Tiger's Heart"
by Jim Kjelgaard
The tiger whirled, and hot spittle from his mouth splashed on the back
of Pepe's left hand. Holding the machete before him, like a sword, he
took a swift backward step. The tiger sprang, launching himself from
the ground as though his rear legs were made of powerful steel springs,
and coming straight up. His flailing left paw flashed at Pepe. It hooked
in his shirt, ripping it away from the arm as though it were paper,
and burning talons sank into the flesh. Red blood welled out.
Pepe did not try again to slash with the machete, but thrust, as he
would have thrust with a knife or sword. The machet's point met the
tiger's throat, and Pepe put all his strength and weight behind it.
The blade explored its way into living flesh, and the tiger gasped.
Blood bubbled over the machete.
With a convulsive effort, the tiger pulled himself away. But blood
was rushing from his throat now and he shook his head, then stumbled
and fell. He pulled himself erect, looked with glazing eyes at Pepe
and dragged himself toward him. There was a throttled snarl. The tiger
slumped to the ground. The tip of his tail twitched and was still.
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