Lion’s Mane

Hello everyone. I believe I have mentioned the novel I am working on. Well I am not ready to reveal my novel until it is complete, but I thought I would share with you are the story that started it all. I wrote this story quite a while ago and felt that I could embark so much more within it. I am taking the journey now into making it more so enjoy the beginning and I’m hoping someday you will be able to find the full version in bookstores near you or on the latest tablet you may be carrying.

I woke up at dawn. “Why?” I muttered slamming the alarm clock down on the floor. It was not fair. Why were they taken from me?

I managed to get out of bed and have some breakfast. All I could taste was the bitter end of death. At times like this, I wished I had a pet, something to feel affection towards. “Damn, all out of juice,” I noticed as I got myself together. I went to the market to get some, passing the flower shop that always reminded me of her. When I got there I saw an interesting man in cargo pants standing next to the assorted goods. His clothes indicated that he was not from around here. Wanting some human interaction of any kind, I walked over to him. “Never seen you around here. Just move in?”

“Na mate, just taken a little detour. I’m from Australia. Drago the name,” he said putting out his hand.

“Drago? Sounds Romanian to me. Anyway, you could call me Bruno,” I said with a half smile.

“Hey, hey, hey you buy something or get out!” the store clerk yelled from behind the counter.

Drago got right in his face. “Hey you got a problem mate? Why don’t we settle this?” This crazed Australian took out a hunting knife and I knew I had to take action. I wrestled Drago to the floor and forced him out of the market.

“Let go of me, you dirty German!” Drago sculled Dirty? If only he knew what I went through, he would not be calling me dirty. “Now you listen to me! You better take your Australian ass out of Germany, before I make things get physical!” I roared holding him up by his vest.

“Don’t worry, mate. I’m leaving this ill forgotten country for Africa. You were right by the way. I was born in Romania, but moved when I was ten,” Drago said. Why would anybody want to go to Africa, I pondered? Before I could ask, Drago took his time to tell me. “Rumor has it, that by obtaining the mane of a lion, it will bring great wealth. What better place to find a lion than the heart of Africa?”

I stood on end and flashed back to that day. The day my family was taken from me. It was a beautiful Saturday. “Why don’t we go to the zoo?” I asked my wife. “The kid would enjoy that.” So we went. Did my son love lions or what? If only I’d been more protective.

“Mate, you feeling alright?” Drago asked with alarm, seeing the burning rage in my eyes.

Part of me wanted to just walk away, but the other part, the part I could not ignore, wanted revenge. “The mane,” I said with force, “you have to kill it? The lion.”

“Well yea,” Drago said with a confused gaze, “unless I want my torso ripped to shreds. Why?”

“Let me go with you!” I almost shouted at him. “I, I just,” trying to think of an explanation, “need a break. Something to take me away for a while.”

The Aussie looked me in the eye and nodded. He saw something in me, I know it, but did not bother to ask. I was thankful for that. We left in the morning in Drago’s jeep.

Drago was the first person I talked to since… since I became a man without a family. I’m not sure why, but I told him my story. About how my son had climbed over the gates of the lion’s cage while my wife and I shared our last and final kiss. As soon as we noticed, my wife climbed over the cage trying to retrieve him. Drago stopped me before I went further. He understood and saw that I was in too much pain to continue. The zookeeper did not even get hold of the lion until it was all over. I just need some justice. Why should that damn lion get to live while he slaughtered my flesh and blood? It was my time to do the slashing and if I died trying, well then, I guess that’s justice. I kept thinking about this until we made it to Africa and show something headed toward us.

Drago stopped short. A stampede of elephants approached, just missing the jeep, but running over a lioness with fresh zebra blood on its lips.

“Wow, did you see that mate? We nearly got trampled over. And that lion! Too bad it was a girl or I could have gotten my mane. But hey, where there are girl lions, the granddaddy is sure to be here!”

I could only nod, knowing how close I was getting. We spent about twenty minutes riding in the muggy jungle until we found it. This lion looked like it was something out of Greek mythology. It was huge…and its mane.

“There’s our target,” Drago said.

“Yea,” I said, “so how do we-”

Before I could finish, Drago took out his knife and went to attack the beast. He ran out of the jeep and jumped on the lion. I was speechless. My body was motionless, for I could not move, as this new buddy of mine was risking his life. Drago was on his back about to stick the knife in, when the lion hurled him to his feet. His leg was broken and could barley get up.

“Bruno! Get out here and help me!”

But, before I could make a sound, the lion pounced on Drago ripping him to shreds.

“Dragoooo!!!” I yelled as I finally got out of the jeep. It was all over. Blood oozed out of him like a sick twisted horror movie. Another life taken by the lions. No. No. “NOOOO!!!!” I yelled to the top of my lungs. The lion heard me and started toward me. I was weaponless. This beast charged at me, but before it could leap upon me, I punched the rapid monster in the nose, which gave me only a split second to retrieve the hunting knife in Drago’s dead hand. The lion took its paw and smacked me on my stomach. I was sweating profusely as I turned to my side. I had claw marks on my back that stung. There were tears in my tears. Not of sadness, but of rage. Just as the lion was about to go in for the kill, I turned my back over, wincing in pain and drove that bloodied knife right into the neck of the killer. Its jugular was slashed open and blood pored out. Blood still pored as the lion’s body fell to the ground making a loud smack. What a feeling… The lion was dead, but did that stop me? No. I reached for the wounded mark and pulled it open until I could reach my hand in. I ripped out organs and cracked its neck until no more blood came out. With the hunting knife in my hand, I cut the scalp off of the lion obtaining the mane.

“Finally, I got my justice. Huh, what’s this?” I saw in the corner of my eye, two cubs watching me with a timid glance. I had just mercifully killed their father. “Go! Go now!” I ordered them. “Go to your mother!” Why wasn’t their mother with them? Then I realized the markings of their faces looked familiar. Their mother was crushed by those elephants. They were orphans. I felt horrible. How was this justice? I had to do something. A sick part of me wanted to finish them too, but I couldn’t. I found a bag in the jeep and hurled it over the cubs. They fought to get out, but stopped after several tries. “It’ll be alright little ones,” I said as I drove to the nearest nature preserve. As I drove, I thought about Drago. I’ll never forget that crazy Aussie. I had left his body there. I could not bare to look at him another second.

As I entered the preserve, I saw a ranger. “Hi, I am Bruno. I have two lion cubs. I believe their parents were killed by poachers,” I said with a bitter lie.

“Tau, it is nice to meet you. They will be taken care of. Lions have always been my favorite, due to my name. In Africa, Tau means lion,” he told me this with wide eyes. How ironic, I thought. I nodded with acknowledgement and gave him the cubs. I left in the jeep going back to Germany.

“Here son,” I said at the cemetery my family was buried. I put the lion’s mane around my son’s grave stone, with my wife’s stone right next to his. I talked to them about my adventure and did not leave until next morning, having one last night to appreciate what I had. I have never been so lucky and never will be again.

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3 thoughts on “Lion’s Mane

  1. I enjoyed your story. The only thing I could find were a few grammatical errors scattered along it. Easy to read and follow. Keep doing what you are doing! I am interested to know more about your novel as you are ready to share. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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