Angels in the Valley

Part I: The Prologue

I wanted something to happen – something, anything – I did not know what. From the comfort of my favorite sleeping spot by the lake, I could see them – the females of the Herd – gathering as they've always done. It is a quirky assortment of grand ladies, ranging from staid and oh-so elegant Baylene to the raucous grandmotherly sage Eema to the younger ladies. I can see Neera, Plio and Suri, and I can see my mother Vonda.

But there is a telling absence. Perhaps it was dreaming of her, or sensing her children in Plio and Eema's care that jolted me from my noon nap. I know she's been gone – how long now? – nearly six months, but her spirit still lives on in all of us.

Perhaps it's good that we still talk of her as if she's still alive. Who knew that the illness that plagued her all throughout life would steal her eyesight then her life.

My sister, my confidante, my best friend...

As I watch the ladies in their usual afternoon confab, I can't help but turn back the years when she touched our lives in so many ways. I don't think Chanda wanted us to grieve and mourn as much as we do; she knew she didn't have long for this world, but somehow I can't stop missing her.

It was more than a year ago, when Chanda met her future mate, Omar. Of course, our mother had her reservations about Chanda taking on so much responsibility: watching out for mate, then bringing forth new babies. I think this is what frightened Mama most, the prospect of losing her only daughter.
In my assessment, Mama kept denying Chanda's illness, but there was really nothing we could do about it. Her eyesight was already failing her at such a young age, and there were other frightful effects of this disease. We didn't know what to make of it. Chanda would go into fits if she hadn't enough to eat in a timely manner, or she was under certain stress.

I think it was then, that day when the females gathered as they'd always did – as they do now – that Chanda's disease began to exact its toll. However, she didn't complain and took everything in stride. She was determined to go on with her life as if having a mate and hatchlings were all that mattered.

My name is Quinten, her brother, and this is our story of a lady who will always live in our hearts.

[To Be Continued...Go to Part 2]

Copyright©2003 by PRP

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