Recently I was privileged to take part in an online writing course. One of the exercises was to write a description that lasts only ten seconds. The essay was to be 300-500 words long and should not include any interior thoughts of the characters involved.

I think describing only ten seconds of time in 300 words did a good job of making sure the description was very detailed. Try it for yourself, it’s a lot of fun. Here is what I came up with.

Under the Bluestem

Tall dry grass concealed a tiny grey speck of life. A field mouse rustling in the undergrowth for a ripe seed caught her attention and the tabby froze in mid-step. Every bit of the cat’s body was poised for the kill, even her hair lay in patterns designed to hide her.

The tiny rodent stopped short, even chewing stopped while he listened. Only mouse-sized heartbeat and respirations betrayed the dry grass tunnel beneath towering Bluestem and Aster.

Her delicate ears flattened slightly, as she sunk into a crouch. Her yellow eyes became almost entirely black as elongated pupils dilated to let in maximum light. Every muscle waited, taut with energy, to be released at the precise moment her prey dared to blink.

She sprang in a high-arching pounce. Nothing else existed for those moments in the air. Whiskers, ears, and tail were all held streamlined, so as not to slow or deviate her trajectory.

All of her weight, claws extended, bore down on a single spot, holding him tightly to the ground. Dagger teeth sunk into his back, snatching him off the ground. A whip of her head from side to side broke his neck.

She protectively tucked the prey under her chest, ears cocked to pick up the sound of any threat to her dinner. Her tail twitched and twisted, flattening the dry grass.

She rolled to her side, the mouse’s lifeless body limp in her front paws. Her hind feet curled around to kick it out of her grip, giving the opportunity to spring and catch it again.