Disclaimer: I nearly reported Pet Fly to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Anthropologists.

Warnings: This is a death story, of sorts.

Author's Notes: : My own little attempt at closure written during the Hiatus From Hell when it looked like we weren't gonna get Sentinel Too, Part 2. I was sorting through my fanfic files and thought I might as well share since I'm having a little trouble with the next scene transition in Mimsy's Wedding. Smarm smarm smarm... no idea where this one came from. I may have been touched by an angel...

The Path



You couldn't see the rainforest for the trees. Thick, primeval jungle the Earth hadn't seen since the Spanish arrived and started clearing land for their haciendas.

The young man stood on a trail, at the top of a hill, looking down into a lush valley below. He knew he was supposed to go there, but he hesitated and twenty years passed. He wore only a loincloth, but carried a Shaman's medicine bag, and a leather thong decorated with stone beads and parrot feathers tied back his long, curling brown hair. The air was hot, heavy with humidity, but in the cool shadows of the jungle, parrots squawked, monkeys chattered, and the black jaguar lounging on a branch overhanging the trail lazily yawned, revealing a mouthful of ivory fangs. The Guide squared his shoulders, and studied the valley. It seemed far away. And he would have to walk there alone.


He started, and looked up at the cat. His approach unseen, the other man stepped up beside him. Where he belonged.

Sensing his presence, the Guide looked up at the taller, older man. The simple loincloth emphasized the long powerful legs, the broad chest and shoulders of the Sentinel. A necklace of claws and teeth hung around his throat, and in his right hand he carried a spear.

"Aw, man, what are you doing here?" the Guide asked softly, already knowing the answer.

"Someone had to keep you out of trouble."

The Guide smiled, shaking his head, the Sentinel grinned back. Balance restored. He looked down into the valley, he was a Sentinel, he had good sight, but even he could see nothing through the thick green canopy. He looked up into the luminous amber eyes.

"We must walk down this path?" he asked. The great cat flicked his tail. "What's at the end of the path?" But the jaguar rose to his feet and lept to another branch, then another, and disappeared. "Smart-ass spirit animal," he muttered.

The two men regarded each other, suddenly serious. Sky-colored eyes met eyes of sapphire and steel. "You waited."

"You came."

They began to walk together. The sun was high, the air hot and heavy, but the tall trees provided shade. The Guide chuckled. "Y'know, Jim, only you would find a 'hiking in the wilderness' heaven."

"You were expecting Pearly Gates, Chief?"

"Aw, maybe an angel or two. With a really great set of—" hands fluttered descriptively, "—wings."

From the hilltop, the jaguar and the wolf watched them walk away.

~ End ~

Author's Additional Notes: What can I say? It's spring. The sap is running...

E-Mail Besterette at Besterette@aol.com
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Page last updated 8/15/03.