by Klaudia Bara
My hyena is a glossy brindle brown and black. Her shoulders are slanted and her gait is awkward, the same as others of her kind. Bat-like ears jut from her bony head above black, shining eyes. Sometimes her tongue lolls from her mouth after a good meal. And also, I think, when privately amused.
She is the queen of my backyard. Nothing is too good for her. I keep her quarters spotlessly neat, feed her only the freshest kill and bathe her often. My husband lives in mortal fear of her, though she all but ignores him. She guards my children with her life and loves them without reserve, a love that is returned in full.
Sometimes we take her on walks. Not often. She makes the neighbors uneasy. The high-pitched laughter unnerves them—annoys them, even, especially late at night. They don’t realize that Hanna’s a treasure.
Mostly we play tag with her in the backyard, or chase a ball, or pretend to hunt. But only the children and I. Never my husband.
He says Hanna looks at him. He says she looks hungry. I would argue the point but I can’t. After all, she ate my mother-in-law.