Five00-6 The Choice

The Eliminating Paws

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She didn’t want George to go today. But with three females and one male to fend, he had to leave. His injured leg worried her. The carcass of the wild boar lay stinking. She looked at her playful cubs, trying to grab the last bit of flesh. Their soft growls were the signs that they have begun to understand the game of survival.

As Victoria lay beside the lake to cool her silky coat, she could listen to the monkeys whooping.

‘Ah! My king is on the prowl.’ She cuddled her cubs and drifted into a siesta.

It was getting dark and George wasn’t back. Victoria moved restlessly. The little ones sensed the trouble as she pushed them behind the rocks. “Don’t move. Mumma is going to come back soon.”

Next morning Victoria returned to her cubs sans George. The queen accepted that the king would never return and now she had to take charge of her cubs. With George gone, things were getting difficult.

She would hide the cubs behind the dense bamboos or rock caves and go for hunting. She pounced on deers, rusa deers, blue bulls, boars and at times smaller animals like rabbits; peacocks with all grit and determination to keep her cubs well fed. As the years flew by, the male cub Sam grew up into a handsome lion. As he walked his muscles would move in a regal way making all the females of the pride go weak in their knees.

Meanwhile, life gave Victoria another chance and Brad joined their pride. Brad couldn’t resist falling for the courageous beauty and soon they procreated three adorable male cubs.

“Your son aims for the territory,” said Brad.

“Don’t worry, he loves me and won’t harm the cubs,” Victoria said. Deep down, she knew the rules of the jungle. She had a fair idea of what happened in the world of adult male lions when it came to war for territory.

Sam began to realise his strength. He wandered alone and hunted down the big animals all by himself. He didn’t care for his half brothers. For him, they were DNA of a potential challenger. Brad succumbed to Sam’s ambition of becoming the Alpha Male of the Pride.

Victoria looked helplessly at her cubs. They were not safe as he was looking out for an opportunity to eliminate them.

Victoria had gone for hunting that afternoon.

As the cubs stayed hidden behind the bamboos, Sam lurked with his prowess to pounce on them. As soon as he jumped forward, he felt a sharp jaw piercing through his neck.

“Don’t you dare touch them!”

“Mother, I am your flesh and blood…I am the destined king!”

“Sometimes there is no happy choice, Sam, only one less grievous than the others,” Victoria uttered in a moist voice.

As the dust settled on the blood smeared Sam, lying there cold and dead, Victoria cuddled her cubs by the lake in the tangerine sunset. The majestic law of the jungle prevailed.


Author’s note –

The ratio between male lions and female ones is 1:3. Other than lack of food and injuries, one of the major reasons is fights for territories. The male cubs always face a danger of getting killed or kicked out of pride by the adult male lions.

As only a lesser number of male lions make it to the adulthood, they for all their hardships, are sought after by trophy hunters. The expansion of rural areas unsettles the lion’s territory making them more vulnerable. The numbers are decreasing at an alarming rate and we need to mend our ways that interfere with law of nature in the forests for the larger interest of our planet.


The above story is an entry into #TheChoice a Five00 entry.
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Photo by Kirsten LaChance

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