The group fell to the ground, making sure to stay out of sight of the spotlights. Much of what the four did was illegal, but this was something that gave them pause for thought. There was a huge market for ivory, but with today's restrictions it was hard to find a buyer. Luckily, the sick monsters who wanted them paid a small fortune as well. The first, was a woman who led the three men. However, she never expected so much security to protect a dying elephant.
“You two, watch behind us,” she ordered. “The last thing we need to be seen. It’s shoot-on-sight here, so best we see them before they see us.”
The scared fools turned their backs to her while the third lay there with a grim expression. It didn’t go amiss by the woman.
“If you have anything to say, say it now,” she told him.
“There are too many people in there,” the third replied. “Way too many hunters, man-hunters. If they don’t find us, they will find our tracks and follow us home.”
“Don’t fool yourself with those stories. These people are no more than cops with the safety off. Treat them as such and we will have no problem finding the elephant and remember, it is sick, which means it will be easy to kill.”
“I don’t feel right about this.”
The woman clenched her teeth and spat in the dirt beside her.
“A dying elephant isn’t worth much,” she told him. “If it doesn’t die tonight, it will die tomorrow. Consider it a mercy killing.”
The third man seemed doubtful, but the woman didn’t have time to deal with insubordination, especially since they had such a narrow window to work with. Eventually, that window opened.
“Now!” she hissed at her group.
The four ran across the field between a break in the guard shifts. There was always the chance that one of the guards would spot the desperate poachers, but they were all too willing to take that chance. Once they reached the fence the three worked quickly to cut a space in the fence. It was narrow, it scratched at them and tore their clothing, but they made it through without leaving too obvious of a hole.
The poachers were now in the lion’s den. Getting out now would take a lot more effort, but that was a bridge to be crossed when the ivory was in their hands. The woman once more led the way, but she could hear the steps of her men faltering with their steps. It was at this point she knew what was going on, they had been paid off by someone else. Most likely the boss wasn’t happy with the last job she did for him and wanted her out of the picture.
It was risky to kill so close to government officials, but what better place would there be for leaving the body of a criminal? The woman ran a little faster towards the watering hole that the elephant was no doubt near. The fools might try to kill, but they couldn’t use their guns without alerting someone. However, she might be able to use her pistol if she ran far enough from the fence.
The anxious group were soon interrupted in their thoughts when they heard the groaning of the dying creature. It was pained, true, but sad as well. The poachers couldn’t help but feel a twinge of sadness for the noise, but their hearts immediately cut that emotion off. The woman approached the elephant, it laying on a patch of dirt, covered with the red dust. As she neared the creature the quickened footsteps of one of the men caught her attention.
It was clever of them to strike now when her attention was grasped by the animal. She did not react in time and the poacher tackled her to the ground. The three men gathered around her and beating began to ensue. She was tough, but there was only so many kicks a person could take before the pain began to settle in. Once more she tried reaching for her gun, but the arm was trodden on before it even grazed the handle.
When all seemed the lost the huge beast of an elephant clambered to its feet, swaying in its weakness and approached the poachers. The three looked up at the elephant and tried to raise their guns in defense. The woman took this moment to kick their feet out from under them and that was enough to only distract them if not bring them to the ground. The elephant charge was fearsome, the tusks colliding with two of the poaches sharply while the other was knocked to the ground.
While still in pain, the woman climbed on top of him and let loose a flurry of strikes that hit their mark. The three betrayers lay there wounded or dead. One would bleed out before the officials found him, the other two would have long since passed.. In this moment however, the woman was confronted with the elephant she had come to murder. It seemed ready to charge, but swayed too much to go any further. The elephant toppled over for the last time.
The last poacher stood up and stared down at the dying behemoth. Although in its last attempt to have peace it tried to kill all four of them, the elephant saved her life and she couldn’t see that gesture any differently. Instead of doing as she had planned she sighed a deep sigh and accepted that she had do what was right, not what was smart. The would-be poached stayed by the elephants side with a hand on its head while it slowly died.
Most likely the elephant would have lived another day, but the effort it put into its fight taxed it greatly and the woman grew silent as if breathed its last. The next day the elephant was found dead, tusks still intact, while three poachers were buried out of sight. The woman waited in hiding before escaping the next night through the same gap in security.