Another post on lions! I have taken an interest in these big cats and decided to write more about them. Enjoy!
The night was still young when the lioness jerked awake, a growing feeling of uneasiness hollowing her stomach. She glanced around, but the purplish twilight was impenetrable, and the gentle balmy breeze was blowing in the opposite direction. She settled deeper into the lush grass, and closed her eyes, drawing her cubs closer to her tawny spotted belly with her protective tail. Then a faint moan ruffled her ear fur and she propped herself upright again, her cubs stirring sleepily. For the second time that night, she scanned the shadowy savanna, her nose twitching, her whiskers quivering. She could see the pale form of her sister, her three cubs snoozing in a pile on her haunches. But beyond that, the world was black.
She had barely shut her eyes again when an oscillating roar echoed across the land towards her and she stumbled to her paws, blearily shaking the sleep from herself. She had to wake the lead lion! She sprinted blindly across the tussocky grass, skidding on something slippery and sticky under her paws. She stooped to sniff the dark wet stuff on her paws. Blood. She blanched, terror rising like bile in her throat. Staggering the last few steps to the alpha male’s figure, she sniffed and pawed at him, dread bubbling up until it threatened to overflow. Red rivulets trickled down his flanks, paving tracks through his luscious blonde mane. He was dead.
She dropped her head, turning around to go back and tell her sister when she was halted by an imperious snarl. She looked up. A powerful male lion, with a jagged scar over one empty white eye, was watching her. As she watched, he bent down and lapped calmly at his crimson paws. He was the one who had killed the alpha! She snarled warningly, her eyes flashing in darkness like a pair of luminescent flashlights. He rose then, swishing his tail, and strode purposefully into the blackness. She froze. He was heading for her sister.
She spurred her exhausted limbs into action, streaking past him as he loped at her heels until she reached her sister. Her blue eyes were wide, the pupils dilated to vicious slits, foaming black lips curled over sharp white teeth. Her muscled shoulders rippled as she stood beside her sister, the cubs mewling behind them. It would be a fight to the death. The male lion looked surprised at the ferocity of the two females. Then he bared his teeth. He didn’t want to hurt them-they were an essential part of his new pride. He wanted to kill their cubs.
A bolt of lightning split the sky in a neon flash of light, as the thunder and dark clouds rolled in over the hills and rain bulleted down. The lion’s mane was slicked back against his body as he circled, looking for an opening. The two lionesses retreated further into the thorny thicket behind them, then exchanged a glance. They knew they couldn’t hold him back for long. An idea flitted between them and, almost in unison, they turned and grabbed their cubs by the scruffs of their necks. They burst through the bushes, sprinting at full pelt across the savanna, the fingers of darkness groping hungrily at their fur.
As they crossed the rise of the crumbling stone hills of Africa, the sun burst into its full fiery splendour above them and below, zebra and wildebeest trekked across the grass. Then they began the slow descent down the cliff and into the open plains.