Random number prompt - use a random number generator and redo a prompt from the first year of instants - do NOT read the first story before writing the new one.
[AN: The random number was 133: Anywhere in the story: “The element of surprise didn’t so much rest upon someone hearing you but registering the significance of your approach.” (I hope altering one word counts)]
There was an important lesson in here, somewhere. Living with Deathworlders taught them well. Continuing to remain alive around Deathworlders taught them fast.
It was the oddest thing. Humans would sleep soundly with K’kerik in the domicile, making small domestic noises and generally behaving as if all was normal. But the instant she consciously registered that there were sleeping predators in the vicinity, and acted accordingly… the humans would startle awake and zero in on her presence in seconds.
They could always detect her when she made an effort to move silently. And when she made no effort to disguise her footfalls, the humans startled and worried when they nearly stood on her.
In the end, she talked it over with her human friend Lu.
“Oh, that,” said the human. “Yeah. The element of surprise doesn’t so much rest upon someone hearing you but registering the significance of your approach. We evolved on a planet with some really stealthy predators. Being able to detect something being quiet is something of a survival instinct.”
“I must be utterly quiet or make significant noise to be detected?“
“That’s the bunny,” said Lu.
“You humans are very strange.”