Tiger Hunters

I had a dream. I lived in a valley with a few other refugees sometime around the end of the world. We spent every day avoiding a tiger. I had a daughter. She might’ve been eleven or twelve, open-eyed, with short black hair. I don’t know how people ate, slept, or found the time to make daughters because it was pretty time-consuming avoiding this tiger, but there she was.

She didn’t have a name—but she did have a catchphrase. She’d always say, “I’d like to buy a train ticket to anywhere else, please!” She got a real kick out of it. If my premonition could be believed, she’d never seen a train, which made this all the more mysterious.

When she was bored, or adults were talking, or when we’d be lying prone, in the mud, beneath a fallen tree, behind a bush, waiting for the tiger to finish prowling by, she’d look over at me, make eye contact, and whisper, “I’d like to buy a train ticket to anywhere else, please!” And then she’d giggle like it was the funniest goddamn thing in the world—which it might’ve been because, as far as I could tell, the world consisted of only a tiger and its lunch.

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