Challenge #02173-E344: Predator PracticesteemCreated with Sketch.

in fiction •  9 months ago 

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The most common game in the galaxy was, Surprisingly, Hide and seek, Havenworlders even had entire Leagues and sports stars based on the game.
For Havenworlders it was thrilling but safe, and allowed them to exhibit each species natural abilities in defensive evasion, as well as honed their tactics and attention to detect Predators

They were surprised to find Humans enjoyed the same game, realising that the seeker made sense to a Predatory Species, but it Terrified them just how well a human could HIDE, especially considering they had no natural aptitude for it... -- Adam in Darwin

Call it what you will: Practice Hiding, Camouflage, Hide and Giggle, Stealth Check... It's the same game. Younglings hide, siblings and older caregivers seek them out. Some add imaginary spice to the game, like safe bases and the rules behind being 'it'. Some even pretend that the floor is lava. Some merely drive their parentals to distraction.

The most surprising discovery happened on a planet named Amity, where Havenworlders and Deathworlders played one universal game, and laughed together in their shared childhoods.

Rii'tii, age five, was playing at hunting some of her Human friends, also aged five. She had thought that an elevated position in Gamma Bas' garden would help her find her play-prey, but she was mistaken. How could five Humans, none of them with natural camouflage and three wearing clothing that almost provided its own light, possibly hide themselves so thoroughly?

How could any given Human find a Numidid when their natural feather dappling caused them to blend in with the scenery?

It was a mystery to Rii'tii. It was certainly a mystery to many grown Numidids, too. The leading theory and source of amusement amongst Humans was that, as evolved hunters, they had an instinct for what was noticeable and what wasn't. As hunters, the story went, Humans had to think instinctually about what might stand out to prey.

Rii'tii thought hard about her Human friends as she perched on Gamma Bas' apple tree. They were only allowed to play in the garden because Gamma Bas was watching them for all the other adults busy rebuilding the school rooms. Everywhere else was out of bounds. They therefore had to be in the garden with Rii-tii. They knew that Havenworlders were better at spotting sudden movement, and would therefore be moving slowly if they were moving at all.

They would be hiding under and behind other things. Yes! This was an exercise in thinking like others. Knowing that others couldn't see as one individual saw.

It was so simple, it was ridiculous.

Rii'tii first triangulated on some giggling. Hopping closer and closer until the giggler abruptly stopped. Then she employed the tired phrase of a teacher worn out from attempting to teach people how to find things: Over, under, behind and through.

She looked over the top of the shrubbery. No sign. Underneath? Ha! A pair of slightly grubby and unlaced running shoes. Rii'tii reached out to grab one, and discovered they were empty. Their friend was not behind the shrubbery, so Rii'tii looked up through the branches.

"Peek-a-boo, I see you," she called.

Mai clambered down and retrieved her shoes, cramming them back onto her feet. "Aw, I thought I got'cha," she said. "Want help finding the others?"

That was one of the adjusted-for-Numidid rules. Numidid could ask for help when playing Simulated Hunting with Humans. Rii'tii said, "I would like trying one more. Thank you."

"Okay," said Mai dubiously.

Rii'tii ran the same procedure, finding a second friend in the middle of the mulberry tree. She puffed up her feathers in pride. She had this!

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / Isaac74]

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