His eyes communicate his intent; to devour me. How can I blame a starving wild animal like him for attacking a lonely hiker in the woods? It was my decision to enter his territory and now all I can do is hope for the best.
All of my training confirmed two things: do not make eye contact and slowly back away. Today was different. The beast had no intention of letting me get away. He was in predator mode and I was the prey. Fight or run were my two options. Considering I cannot run a mile in ten minutes, my options for survival were diminishing. My perspective changed as my entire body tensed; preparing to fight.
To my left, I saw a broken tree branch. My first move; leap behind the tree and arm myself with the branch. As I shifted, the mountain lion changed his position; preparing to strike. There was no time for my life to flash before my eyes. With a desire to survive, I took the leap. The mountain lion responded with super hero speed in my direction. He pounced and landed on top of my shoulder and we crashed to the ground. His teeth sank into my neck. Claws curled into my back and legs. Unable to fight, face in the dirt, life fading; this was the end. Despite all of my good intentions in life, death was upon me before I was ready to leave my world.