THE LAST SNOW LEOPARD

He had been waiting an eternity for a glimpse of the almost mythical creature that lived in the mountains in Asia.

Seeing it on film was one thing, the chance to see one alive was something else. And time was running out – this old male was the last one left.

A hush of wind through the trees, a moment of pause, silence descended. Everything else in his life filtered away: and there he was.

The sleek Snow Leopard padded across the rough stone and gravel. It stopped and looked around, sniffing the cold air, sensing he was being observed.

The old man held his breath, staying as still as he could. Carefully he raised his camera, framed the large cat, focused and hit the rapid fire button.

The last of his kind and the old man held each others gaze before the leopard turned and slunk away through long grass. A magical moment the man had waited for his whole life.

A tug at his arm broke the spell. ‘Grandad, can we get a hotdog now?’ Maxwell whined.

‘Sure,’ he said, turning away from the mesh fence. ‘Let’s go.’

They pushed their way through the noisy crowd towards the cafe enclosure.


223-01-january-14th-2018

Written as part of Sunday Photo Fiction. Write a story of around 200 words based on the photo prompt given (above). Hosted by Al Forbes. For more details visit HERE.

To read more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

Feature image: Copyright WWF.

58 responses to “THE LAST SNOW LEOPARD”

  1. A tug at his arm broke the spell. Good line and excellent story, Kelly.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Never saw that ending coming. Brilliant.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Shehanne, glad it wasn’t too obvious where it was heading. Hope you had a nice new year.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Lol, I didn’t Iain, I had flu and pneumonia and the Mr. had a chest infection. So I never saw it. Him neither. Just been awful really but hey, there’s worse. I hope you had a nice time and all the very best to you and yours. I never saw that ending coming and may I also say it is a very nice character study.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sorry to hear that – glad you are feeling better now!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. So sad Iain. I remember seeing tigers in the zoo and they looked ‘defeated’ somehow. Hubby and I wanted to let them all out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The bigger animals never have enough space, even in the reasons of conservation and breeding may be well meaning.

      Like

      1. In the zoo in my previous comment, they had hippos with just a standard bath to wade in. It was criminal. I am pleased to say that the zoo was closed down some months later.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. As the blessed Joni says
    ‘Don’t it always seem to go
    That you don’t know what you’ve got
    ‘Till it’s gone’
    Expertly written, Iain, you tug something deep inside here.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you CE. I do hope it’s not too late for the Snow Leopard and some of the other high profile species, but we don’t seem to be learning quick enough.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That is the closest most of us will get to one. A delightful tale Iain.

    Click to read my SunPhoFic

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Keith. I have seen a couple in the Highland Wildlife Park. They are majestic, and they did look pretty bored behind a fence, but as they were part of a global conservation and breeding programme, so hopefully some good will come from it.

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      1. I hope to visit the park when I’m next up your way staying with my daughter. I didn’t realise they had them there.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well worth a visit Keith. Certainly better than most zoos, the animals have much more space and the animals there seem well cared for and a lot are part of protection and conservation projects. A new baby polar bear recently born as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Brilliant story and so sad. Humans . . . if can’t cage it, we shoot it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Afraid so. Slowly we seem to be learning, but alas not fast enough for many species.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great take on the prompt.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. michael1148humphris Avatar
    michael1148humphris

    We all dream, I liked grandads dream. And the way you broke it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wonderful. For a split second I thought he was going to shoot it in a different way.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Janet, glad that came across too.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Well captured, Iain. And so relatable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you John. Hope you are well.

      Like

  11. I agree with the other comments and also like your fun words and use of alliteration:
    sleek Snow Leopard padded across the rough stone

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, very kind 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. That’s some beautiful writing. You really had me going and I thought he found the leopard in the wild. So sad to think the last one might someday be found in a zoo. I hope it never comes to that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you and I agree, we can only hope…

      Liked by 1 person

  13. It can be a magical moment to come face to face with a creature like that, even in such a mundane setting as a zoo. I liked how we saw only the leopard through the man’s eyes, and not the civilization on either side.

    How tragic to think of yet another species we may see the “last one” of in our lifetimes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately I think we will see a few ‘big names’ become extinct in our time.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sadly, I think you’re right.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. As I grow older and as the world around me becomes more strange and alien, there are times when I too feel as if I’m going extinct.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think we all feel that as the younger generations come along and take over.

      Like

  15. Great twist. This had such tension I wondered if he would raise a gun instead of a camera so was glad to be wrong on that score. And great to know he hasn’t lost his imagination as he grows older.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. This was great! I really thought that he was out in the wild spotting the last snow leopard.
    i was even a little afraid that when the snow leopard slunk into the grass that he would appear again, attacking the man! The man may have got a snapshot of the last leopard but was it worth it?
    I like your ending better! 🙂 Good job!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. As a kid, I used to love going to the zoo, but as I grew older, I realized how cramped the conditions of the majestic wild animals were, and so, stopped visiting zoos altogether. Find it very depressing now. But I guess places like these could also be the only way to keep some magical species safe from us humans. On the other hand, not sure if those royal creatures feel it is worth it 😦 Great story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have conflicting views – some well run zoos with plenty of space can do a lot of good, but there are many that do far more harm. Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Like the others say, I thought he was seeing the leopard in the wild, and, like another commenter, was concerned he would be attacked. I also thought he was going to capture the snow leopard.

    Good job!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Reblogged this on ReBirth: The Pursuit of Porsha.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. the twist at the end is your hall mark everytime Ian!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Akshata – hopefully not too predictable! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nope! thats the beauty

        Liked by 1 person

  21. I thoroughly enjoyed your story with the surprise at the end. I’m so glad his dream was to see a snow leopard, not shoot one!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I loved the descriptions and the flow of the story – almost lyrical!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. A great ending twist, Iain. Let’s hope we don’t see the end of these magnificent animals. Good writing. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Suzanne, I hope so too.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Great story, man. I think the contrast of the main characters long held desire to get a look at this animal and the final reveal with the grandchild are very nicely handled.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Loved the imagery here Iain and the twist at the ending of the story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very kind, thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

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