INFINITE LONGING

 

Intro:

            I’ve decided to jump back a bit and write about Ouilee and his past.  Every single character in this story is mine and cannot be used without my permission.  Please email me at the6silent6one6@yahoo.com.  Again, any similarities to any other stories posted on this website is strictly coincidence; along with any similar names.

 

Characters:

Ouilee (Newborn)

Tremolo (Newborn)

Humwah (Newborn)

Yuta (5 Years)

Lilliko (7 Years)

 

Chapter 1:  Litter of Three

Chapter 2:  Happy Days

Chapter 3:  Family Bondage

Chapter 4:  The Fog

Chapter 5:  Realization

Chapter 6:  Love Lost

Chapter 7:  Rescued

Chapter 8:  Living in Captivity

Chapter 9:  Out in the World

Chapter 10:  Reunion

Chapter 11:  Help

Chapter 12:  Friendship

Chapter 13:  Starlight Doom

Chapter 14:  Prisoner

Chapter 15:  Departure

Chapter 16:  Fear Awakened

Chapter 17:  I’m Back

Chapter 18:  Ambush

Chapter 19:  Fight For Freedom

Chapter 20:  Awakening

Chapter 21:  Old Faces and New Faces

Chapter 22:  Inner Conflict

Chapter 23:  Freedom

Chapter 24:  The Truth

Chapter 25:  Veni

 

 

Chapter 1:  Litter of Three

 

            A lion and his mate were walking through a lush savannah in the middle of Africa.  They were rogues who didn’t quite fit in with pride life and they didn’t really care.  They were happy just being with each other; that was all that either one of them could’ve possibly asked for.  The male was known as Lilliko and the female was known as Yuta; Yuta was three months pregnant and due any day now.  This particular day was just like any other day:  sunny, hot, and the occasional warm breeze fluttering by.  Their schedule was just like any other day:  wake up, take a walk, nap, hunt and eat, nap, walk some more, sleep, wake up at night, walk, and finally sleep until the next day.  However, there were three little things that were going to interrupt that daily cycle of theirs.

 

            “Ooh!” gasped Yuta.

“What?” asked Lilliko, a little concerned.

“Dear, I think it’s time.”

“Time… Oh!  Time!  Do you think that you’re ready?”

“Well, I don’t really think that that matters right now.  Do you?”

“I guess not.  Well, do you know what to do?”

“How hard can it be?  I mean if- Ooh!”

“Yuta, dear, I think it’s time for you to lie down.”

“I know.” Yuta groaned a bit as she sunk to the ground and rolled onto her back.

            Yuta started to deliver while Lilliko helped as best he could.  Lilliko almost jumped for joy when he began to see the head of his very own cub; it was like nothing else in the world, he was now a father… almost.  Lilliko was too excited when his first cub was born that he didn’t even notice Yuta giving birth to a second one.  It wasn’t until he heard the second cub’s sad little meow that he even noticed its existence.  Lilliko was now, literally, jumping for joy but got distracted when the third cub started to come along.

 

            After a few moments both of the parents were cleaning their cubs and holding them close to their bodies for warmth.  First born was their daughter, Humwah; second born was their oldest son Tremolo; and third born, also the runt of the litter, was Ouilee.  Yuta and Lilliko knew that these three cubs were the best things to ever enter their lives.  Everything to them would be new, innocent, and carefree; just like the cubs.  They knew that parenthood wasn’t easy but were prepared to face the task with smiles on their faces; in fact, they couldn’t help but smile at their offspring.  Very quickly the young ones fell asleep in their parents’ forelegs; and the whole family slept soundly that night.

 

            Yuta and Lilliko woke up to the sun shining brightly into their eyes causing their pupils to contract.  Humwah, who slept beneath Lilliko, felt her father get up so she got up herself.  Humwah was meowing desperately for her father whom immediately turned around and picked her up.  He brought her over to her mother who was nursing the other two cubs; she rolled over to allow Humwah access; Tremolo and Ouilee struggled to move with their mother.  Lilliko looked down and Yuta and smiled; Yuta smiled back up and him, then they both looked down at their cubs and smiled.

 

            When night rolled around things seemed bad; Humwah started coughing uncontrollably.  Yuta put a paw on her daughter’s forehead which was astonishingly hot.  When she told Lilliko he felt his heart sink deep into his gut.

“How can it be?  She’s so new to the world… she can’t die, she just can’t.”

“I know, dear.  Don’t worry; I’m sure that she’ll be fine.”

“You don’t know that.  What if she dies?  I don’t want to lose any of my cubs.” Lilliko felt tears streaming down his face.  Yuta frowned to see her mate in such a miserable state.  Of course she didn’t want to lose Humwah either; but there wasn’t anything that either one of them could do to stop it if it did happen.  They had to do the best that they could right there and then to save their only daughter.

 

            “Oh no, Yuta!  Yuta, she’s coughing again!”

“Oh dear, what’ll we do?”

“I don’t know, I don’t know… oh, won’t somebody help us?”

“Stop acting so helpless, come on, we’ve got to fix this ourselves.”

“But how?  We don’t even know exactly what’s wrong with her.  She can’t tell us.”

“Maybe she just needs some water; take her over to the waterhole.”

“Good idea!”  Lilliko brought his daughter to the waterhole while Yuta stayed behind with the other two.

 

            At the waterhole Lilliko tried to get Humwah to lap up some water, but it was no use.  She couldn’t even move much anymore; perhaps she was in too much pain.  Lilliko couldn’t stand to see his cub like this, especially when she hadn’t even been two days old; her eyes haven’t opened yet, she hadn’t seen the world; but Lilliko swore that she would.  He tried splashing some of the water on her but it only made her coughing worse.  Yuta was grooming Ouilee when she heard a desperate roar echo throughout the savannah, she recognized that roar and what it meant.  It was a roar of mourning; Yuta started to cry.  When Lilliko returned he had dried tear streaks down his cheeks; Yuta was still crying, and she threw herself into Lilliko’s chest where she wept for the rest of the night.

 

Chapter 2:  Happy Days

 

            Tremolo and Ouilee grew from newborn cubs to older cubs; still young and childlike, but no longer helpless infants.  Over the first few weeks of their lives they learned all of the basics; they learned to walk, they opened their eyes, they learned to talk, they were potty trained, and they eventually moved onto solid foods.  Neither one of them knew of their sister; they were too young to remember and their parents never told them.  Ouilee and Tremolo had each other to play with, and play the did; they were always wrestling and fighting and playing predator vs. prey with each other, their days were filled with fun and delight; just like any other normal cub.  Ouilee was always annoyed that he would lose every fight just because he was the smaller one, the runt, the one who would always get walked all over and he didn’t like it.

 

“What’chya doin’ bro?” Tremolo asked Ouilee.

“Oh, nothing…”

“Oh really…” Tremolo said viciously.

“Yes, really, why-”

Ouilee was cut off as his brother suddenly pounced on him from behind.  The two of them wrestled with each other until Tremolo had Ouilee pinned to the ground.

“Ugh, hey, get off of me!” Ouilee demanded.

“Why dont’cha make me!” Tremolo taunted.

“Mom!!!” Ouilee yelled.

“Tremolo, are you being nice to your brother?” called Yuta.

Tremolo got off before speaking, “Yes mom, I am.”

“Don’t lie.” Ouilee whined.

“Oh, what’s the little runt gonna do, huh?”

“Hey, stop it!”

“All right, fine, don’t be such a whiny cub.”

Ouilee just turned around without responding; he knew that this was how brothers communicated with each other as cubs and there was nothing that he could do about it.  Despite their arguments and their constant bickering he still loved his brother deep, down inside and he knew it; he also knew that his brother felt the same way, but neither one of them would ever dare to tell each other that.

 

            “Hey dad.” Tremolo began as he approached his father.

“Yes, son.”

“Umm… where do cubs come from?”

Lilliko was stunned; “He’s that age already?” he thought to himself.  “Well, you see… it takes a mom and a dad to make a cub together.”

“You make the cub?”

“Well, it’s not like we build you or anything like that; but we do create you.”

“How?”

“It’s these things called genetics.”  By now Ouilee sat beside his brother listening to his father explain the complicated nature of genetics and how they’re used to make a creature who they are.  Both Ouilee and Tremolo just exchanged confused glances with one another, their father chuckled.  “You’ll understand when you’re older.” he said.  Ouilee and Tremolo walked off together unable to comprehend anything that their father had just told them about biology.

“Did you understand what he was talking about?” asked Ouilee.

“Not a clue.  I didn’t think that it was so difficult to make a cub.”

“Neither did I.  I wonder how long all of this took.”

“Don’t look at me; I don’t know, ask dad.”

“I’m done with dad’s lectures… let’s ask mom.”

“Okay.”
“Hey mom.”

“Yes, dear.”

“How long does it take to make a cub?”

Yuta stared at her son, bewildered by the question.  “What do you mean ‘make a cub’?” she asked.

“Yeah, dad said that two parents make a cub and then genetics happens; so how long does it take?”

“Oh…” Yuta said with a sigh of relief, “It takes about three months.”

“Three months?!!!” both of the cubs cried out in unison.

Yuta chuckled, “Yes, three months.  Hey, what do you two want for dinner tonight?”

“You mean we get to choose?” asked Tremolo.

“Yes, for tonight.  But, if I can’t catch it then you can’t eat it, deal?”
“Deal.”

“So, what do you want?”

“I want antelope.” Tremolo said, anxiously.

“Antelope, eww!!!  Mom, could you get some Zebra instead?”

“Zebra?  Come on Ouilee.  Antelope is much better than Zebra.”

“No it’s not.”

“Yes it is.”

“No!”

“Yes!”

The two continued to shout no’s and yes’s to each other for several moments before Yuta interjected.  “How about this?” she began, “I’ll catch a wildebeest, you both love wildebeest; right?”

“Okay, cool!” both of the cubs shouted.

“Alrighty, then, wildebeest it is.”

Satisfied with the choice of dinner Ouilee and Tremolo ran off to play until dinner arrived that evening.  All four of them dug into the wildebeest carcass that laid before them.  Most days had been like this one; cub curiosity bringing about questions, playfulness and fighting between the two siblings, both of the parents quietly watching over their cubs as they slowly grew into the lions whom they would later become.  Ouilee and Tremolo lived in cub-land which is the happiest place on Earth, while their parents had fun just enjoying the company of cubs; alongside each other.  These were happy days, indeed.

 

Chapter 3:  Family Bondage

 

            Being rouges has quite an affect on cubs; with only siblings to play with you never get the chance to make any friends (unless if you happen to come across other rogues).  Over the course of the next five months Ouilee and Tremolo reached puberty; however, they were closer than ever with each other.

 

“Hey Tremolo!  Tremolo!  Come one, wake up!  Tremolo!!!” Ouilee practically roared.

“Okay, okay, I’m up, geez!”

“Let’s go out for a walk.”

“You woke me up so early for that?”

“Yeah, what’s the big deal?”

Tremolo sighed, “Nothing I suppose; alright, come on, let’s go.”

“Alright.”

Tremolo rose from his comfortable little spot on the ground where the grass had conformed to the shape of his body.  Today was… sunny; no surprise there for it was summertime.  They took their usual route through the savannah that they had become accustomed to.

“Hey Ouilee, can I ask you something?”

“Of course, what is it?”

“Well, lately I’ve been wondering; why are we here?”

“What do you mean by that?”
“I mean it by every aspect of the question.  Why are we always walking through here?  Why is our family out here without a pride?  Why are we even alive?  What do we live for?  I just want to know; what’s the meaning to all of this.”

Ouilee suddenly stopped walking; why was his brother asking him these questions?  Did he expect him to know the answers?  How ridiculous his brother must’ve been.  Ouilee didn’t know the answers to anything beyond the first question.

“Hey, are you all right?” Tremolo asked.

“Hmm… Oh, yeah, I’m fine, I was just thinking was all.”

“Well…”

“You see, we take this route every day because we’re familiar with it; as for everything else, well, I just don’t know.”

“Urggh, I hate this.  Not knowing, agh; why?  Why can’t we just know.”
“Maybe we were never meant to know; or, maybe, we just couldn’t possibly understand the answer.”

“Either way, I still want to know.  Hey, why don’t we be adventurous and take an alternate route today.”

“An alternate route?”
“Yeah, let’s head that way today.” Tremolo pointed to there right where a canyon was.

“Okay, sure, why not?”

 

            Ouilee and Tremolo walked over to the canyon and gazed down into it; it was too deep for them to try and climb into so they decided to call it a day.  They returned to their home and laid down next to their parents who were still asleep at the time.  Ouilee and Tremolo fell asleep right next to their parents.  Nobody awoke until that afternoon.

 

            Once Ouilee awoke and stretched his mother yawned and opened her eyes; the other two felt the movements of their family members and followed suit.

“Mmm; good morning, loves.” Yuta said with a smile.

“Good morning mom, dad.” Ouilee responded.

“Good morning guys.” Lilliko replied.

“Good morning dear.” Yuta said lovingly.

“Ooh, good morning.” Lilliko excitedly said.

“Everybody, I’ve got something to say.”  Yuta said loud enough for everyone to hear.  “…I’m pregnant.”  There were congratulations and happiness all around her.

“You mean Ouilee and I will have younger brothers and/or sisters?”

“That’s correct dear.”
“Alright!!!” Ouilee shouted in excitement.

“I’m so happy for you, for us.” Lilliko said as he nuzzled his mate.

In only three months, their family would be complete.

 

Chapter 4:  The Fog

 

            When Tremolo and Ouilee woke up the next day they decided to head back out to the canyon.  The two of them began walking out that way.

“Wow!  Ouilee, can you believe it?  Brothers and sisters are coming… I’m so excited!!!”

“I know, I know; I can’t wait for them to be born.”

“Me neither.”

“Ooh, this will be so much fun; we get to be older brothers.  It’ll be like having our own cubs but not really.”

“Um, yeah, I suppose you could put it that way.”

Ouilee laughed, “I didn’t mean it like that.” he exclaimed with a scrunched face and an unsheathed tongue.

“Hey, neither did I.” Tremolo said, disgusted at the thought.

Ouilee playfully tackled his brother and the two of them wrestled on the ground for a little while.  “Okay,” Tremolo began, “If I win, then I’ll be the first one to have cubs; deal?”

“You’re on!” Ouilee replied.

            And so the two of them fought (all in the name of fun, of course) each one trying to dominate the other for the right to mate first, if even at all.  It was a struggle; although Ouilee was the smaller of the two he had some well-developed muscles that gave him an edge.  It was like watching two kittens trying to catch a mouse; they had one object in mind and they stumbled all over the place to try and reach it (only these kittens are adolescent lions).  They continued to wrestle and roll around on the dirt for minutes but neither one of them ever ended up on top.  Every time that they were rolling around on the dirt the one on the bottom would immediately push the other one off of him resulting in an incomplete pin negating the deal.  They were there for almost a half an hour until an eerie fog began to seep through the lands.  They both immediately stopped in their tracks as they were enshrouded by this thick fog.

 

“What’s going on?” asked Ouilee.

“I don’t know… I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

“Yeah… do you think it’s safe?”

“It doesn’t smell dangerous, and it’s not hurting us, right?” Tremolo said still unsure of his answer.

“I… guess that you’re… right…” Ouilee said, unsure of himself as well.

“Come on, let’s go and see where it’s coming from.”
“I don’t think that’s such a good idea, maybe we should just go back to mom and dad.”
“Why, are you afraid?  Come on, it’s not hurting us; let’s just see what’s causing it.”

Ouilee sighed as he thought about it; he didn’t want to seem like a coward in front of his only peer, “Fine…” he said angrily.

 

            Ouilee and Tremolo walked in the direction of the canyon where the fog had crept up from.

“This doesn’t feel right Tremolo.  Can we please just go back?”

“No way!  We’ve just got to almost be there!  Come on, just a little bit further.”

“You said that five minutes ago; come on, I’m ready to turn around now.”

“Aw, please?  I just want to see.”

“Then you can go on alone.”

“Fine, I will.”

“Aw, crap… fine, I’ll too.”

“Yes!  I knew that you would.”

“Oh please; you were begging for me to follow you just a few seconds ago.”

“That was an act.”

“Yeah right.” Ouilee scoffed.

“It was.” Tremolo assured.

“Okay, fine; the fine and almighty Tremolo was just pretending.”

“Oh, be quiet.  If it wasn’t for me then we’d have never even seen that canyon yesterday.”
“If it wasn’t for you then we wouldn’t be lost in this thick haze.”

“Hey, be quiet!”

“Look, can we just get this over with; I just want to go back home.”
“Then go back, nothing’s stop-”

There was silence…

 

            “Tremolo?  Tremolo?!!!  What are you doing?!!!  Answer me!!!”  But aside from the echoes that Ouilee’s voice created there was nothing but silence.  “This isn’t funny Tremolo, come out right now!!!”  Now Ouilee was getting frantic, “Tremolo, where are you; please, just let me know that you’re all right.”   There was a muffled cry from off in the distance; Ouilee perked up his ears.  “Tremolo?  Tremolo is that you?” there was no answer.  “Come on, I just heard you; you can come out now.”  Ouilee heard the muffled screams of his brother becoming more frantic; but it sounded as if the screams were coming from below him, but how was that possible?

 

            “Oh, come on already Tremolo!  I know that you’re there, I can hear you.  I know that it’s your voice so just SHI-!!!”

Ouilee found himself falling down the canyon.  The fog was so dense that he couldn’t see his own paw in front of his face, let alone a gap in the ground.  Ouilee was falling for a good fifteen seconds before he landed; but he landed on something soft and fluffy.  It was weird; in a place with dirt and rocks you should feel something soft and fluffy breaking your fall, unless…  Ouilee suddenly realized what had happened; he landed on his brother.

 

Chapter 5:  Realization

 

            Ouilee quickly jumped up to his feet and examined his brother; Tremolo wasn’t moving, Tremolo wasn’t breathing, Tremolo didn’t have a pulse.  Ouilee flipped Tremolo over in a desperate attempt to get a reaction out of him or his body; but all that he found was the flattened half of the body.  Upon seeing this Ouilee knew that there was no hope of his brother ever reviving.  Tremolo was the only lion that Ouilee could’ve called, friend; he never knew anybody outside of his own family; it was earth-shattering for him to lose a relative.  He didn’t know how to cope with death, it wasn’t something that he was ever exposed to; it was at that moment that he realized just how sheltered his life had been.  Living in a pride exposes one to all aspects of life and nobody is afraid to hide anything from one another; a separate family is controlled by the parents.  It’s the parents who get to decide everything; what the cub knows (to a certain extent), how the cub develops, what the cub eats, which all inevitably leads to how the cub thinks.  Ouilee had never thought of anything outside of his family; he felt like maybe he was afraid of the world so he avoided those questions.  He didn’t realize how two adult lions had that much of an affect on his life; it’s truly a scary thought.  Why was he thinking about this?  His brother just died and all that he could think about was how sheltered he was?

“What’s wrong with me?!!!” Ouilee shouted to the sky.  “Tremolo is dead!  Dead!!!  And how do I acknowledge this; by thinking about my sheltered lifestyle?  What kind of a brother am I?  I should be the one dead, not him… I don’t deserve to live…”

 

            Ouilee started crying, but it was more directed at the statement that he just made about himself rather than his brother’s death; of course he was sad about that as well, but realizing that he doesn’t deserve to live was the worst part of the whole ordeal.  Not only had he killed his own brother but he couldn’t even feel bad about it; he just felt bad that he wasn’t feeling bad… he felt bad about himself; he was too selfish to have a brother who cared.  In fact, he didn’t know why anybody should possibly care about him; he hadn’t done anything for anybody.  It was because of him that his brother had died, it was because of him that his mother almost drowned once, it was because of him that his parents waited so long to have another cub; if he hadn’t been so needy as a young cub then maybe they would’ve given in sooner and he would’ve been too busy looking out for them to run off with his brother and inevitably crush him.  Ouilee felt as if he was a cesspool of misfortune; it was misfortune that not only affected himself, but others as well.  He didn’t even know what he was going to say to his parents; in fact, he didn’t even know if he’d ever be willing to face them.

 

Chapter 6:  Love Lost

 

            Ouilee had to find a way to reach the top of the canyon that he was trapped in.  He couldn’t see a way back up from his current position; the walls were too steep and the ends of the canyon seemed to go on forever.  He decided to choose a direction to follow the canyon to eventually find a way out.  He walked in the direction that his parents were, following the canyon in the straight path that it provided for him.  He pressed on for several minutes before finally spotting a recession in the wall with a few climbable ledges leading up to the top.  However, Ouilee didn’t feel the slightest bit relieved after finding this; he was still contemplating how the conversation with his parents would go.  With ever ledge that he climbed he felt his heart race faster, his breathing getting heavier, the butterflies in his stomach twittering at an increasing rate, and the weight on his shoulders getting heavier and heavier.  All of these factors made it very difficult to climb up the wall; by the time he reached the top he felt as if he was ready to pass out.  He had to press forward though, he just wanted to get it over with; just tell mom and dad and get the punishment out of the way.

 

            As he approached the savannah he felt himself starting to cry; it started with the sniffles and burning eyes and developed into streaming tears, uncontrollable sobs, but also a massive release of the weight on his shoulders and the butterflies in his stomach.  He felt better as he was crying but he still wasn’t quite himself.  He reached the savannah and he gulped a large gulp before approaching his spot amongst the family.  When he walked over the hill he found that nobody was there.  Usually when Ouilee and Tremolo went on their walks their father would at least stay behind and wait for their return.  It was weird that nobody was their and it was pissing Ouilee off because he needed to get this weight lifted off of his shoulders.  He laid there sobbing to himself as he waited for his parents to return from whatever they were doing.

 

            Ouilee was in a different place; it was a place filled with agony and despair.  He felt uncomfortable here; he watched his brother falling off of the cliff as he tried desperately to catch him.  He watched as Tremolo fell to his doom; and then he saw the whole thing over and over and over again; and every single time he tried to save his brother and failed.  He was freezing cold but he felt the warm tears trickle down his face and tickle his cheeks as gravity pulled them down to the ground.  It was heartbreaking for him to watch his brother die so many times; suffering the same exact fate right in front of him and him being unable to do anything to stop it.  Ouilee’s head shot right up as he awoke and found himself back in the real world; only now it was night with millions of stars lighting up the night sky.  There was something wrong though… Yuta and Lilliko still hadn’t returned.  Now Ouilee was getting worried, “What if something happened to them?  What if they found out about Tremolo and left me alone?  What if they don’t love me anymore?  Oh no, what if they don’t love me anymore?  What am I supposed to do?  How will survive on my own?  No, no, I’m sure that everything’s fine; they’ll be back by morning, I’m sure of it.”  Ouilee waited and waited for his parents’ return; the hours turned to days which turned to weeks, but they never returned…

 

Chapter 7:  Rescued

 

            Ouilee just sat there; he ate only the animals that were already dead, he was nothing more than a scavenger.  Every night he would dream about his old life; about when he was a young cub, playing with his brother and the stupid arguments that they’d get into; asking his parents all of the questions that he did; his mother, his father, his brother… how he missed them all.  He missed his mother’s smile, her laugh, her voice, and her love; he missed his father’s cheerful personality, his jokes, his stories, and his love; he missed his brother’s cocky attitude, his sense of adventure, and his love.  He didn’t know why his parents had left him; he thought that maybe they found out and wanted to start over again with their new cubs, he felt useless to them.  Ouilee sat there, failing to find something to fill the massive void that his family had left in him; they opened a rift in his heart that could not be sealed.

 

            Ouilee spent his time wandering around; barely alive, wallowing in his own misery, crying himself to sleep at night, hating himself for what he’s done, not even wanting to live anymore.  As far as he was concerned he was the biggest screw-up in the world; he killed his brother, he caused his parents to leave him out in the wilderness, he caused all of the pain that he felt; but it was that pain that still kept him going.  He knew that he wasn’t emotionless, quite the opposite in fact, and the sadness was proof of that.  All of the anger that he felt at himself was proof of his emotions.  He couldn’t live with himself and he truly wanted to die.  He lived for the sole purpose of feeling miserable.

 

            One day he was wandering around like he always does; just kind of loafing about as he grudgingly made it through the day.  He didn’t care about anything and he knew that nothing cared about him either.  Every time some creature would smile at him or bore a happy expression he felt so pissed off at them that he wanted to tear out their throats; but he always held back and just growled instead.  He hated life and didn’t understand it; what was it doing for him?  Nothing.  If he couldn’t be happy then what else was there to live for?  He never found an answer to that question.  Ouilee didn’t live, he only existed; and he knew it all too well.  He was disgusted with himself and how things turned out for him; he felt that life just wasn’t worth it.  If this is all that life has to offer then he would have to end it altogether.

 

            Ouilee awoke to an unfamiliar noise; it was so loud that it hurt his ears, but it kept getting louder and louder as if it was approaching him.  He turned around and saw a strange object coming at him; but he was even more surprised by what emerged from it… humans!  “Aw crap!  What do they want with me?” he wondered to himself.  They surrounded him and pointed weird objects at his torso; they spoke amongst one another, Ouilee couldn’t understand a word of it.  He just wanted them to leave him alone; he wasn’t even roaring or anything at them, he just didn’t have the energy to do so.  He started crying once more, he was certain that they would kill him; although he wanted to die he didn’t want to go.  It was an awkward feeling that plagues anybody put into this kind of a situation.  He just wanted them to get it over with, he didn’t care what they did; there was nothing left for him in this world.  He had nobody, nothing, no useful skills, absolutely nothing at all.  They just stood there in a standoff; nobody daring to move a single inch.  Ouilee started to get angry, “Just get it over with!!!” he roared causing the humans to all back up a little and ready their guns.  He roared once more and suddenly felt a sharp pain in his left hind leg.

 

            Ouilee awoke to an odd stench; it smelled… different.  The molecules in the air were more constricted filling the room with a claustrophobic stench.  Once Ouilee opened his eyes he found himself somewhere… not outside.  Ouilee saw a human approach the cage that he was trapped in, but the human dropped in a piece of meat.  Ouilee was a little skeptical to eat it so he started off slowly until he realized that there was no danger and began scarfing down the food; he found it relieving to not have to worry about the bones of the creature.  Despite being trapped in a cage Ouilee found himself being well taken care of.  He was regularly fed, let out to roam around and use the restroom, and entertained.  Ouilee actually enjoyed having someone to pay attention to him; and he quickly picked up on key words such as:  food, out, good cat, in, bad cat, and other simple things like that.  For some reason they kept calling him Tuluakan but he didn’t really mind.  Ouilee didn’t act aggressive or anything towards the humans; at first he was too depressed to care what they did to him, but he later found that their company was just what he needed to fill the void (albeit only somewhat).

 

Chapter 8:  Living in Captivity

 

            It was a good lifestyle; having everything handed to him; but it was missing something… it was an empty lifestyle, it was fake.  This isn’t how life is supposed to be, when you take away the ability to care for yourself you take away your innermost desires.  It’s no longer what you want; it’s what others want for you.  They’re in complete control and you know it; Ouilee knew it.  He knew that he was living a false lifestyle; the humans have falsified his life, made everything seem meaningless and unimportant.  Food was no longer something to strive for, something to earn, something that you get for yourself; food was now just something that happened everyday at the same time; and it never tasted as good as a fresh kill.  He was a slave to them; sure he had the same freedoms that he had in the wild; but he was still a slave to the world that they set for him.  He quickly forgot about everything beyond what he could see on the horizon; and if he did wander off he’d always return to the humans, but why?  Why did he always return?  He didn’t ever have to, maybe it was because they were taking care of him; but he was taking care of himself just fine before that.  So, why?  He pondered that question for many days and nights, but he never found an answer.

 

            Every day that passed became increasingly pointless.  He didn’t need to do anything; everything was done for him and he felt very bored with this lifestyle.  He also didn’t have the company of other lions.  Sure the humans kept him company and he had picked up on most of their language after the first few months, but they couldn’t understand him at all.  It seemed ridiculous; he could comprehend anything that they said but they couldn’t pick up on his language.  “Are all humans this stupid?” he thought to himself.  All that he really did anymore was sleep; sleep and eat whatever was given to him, which was usually the same generic meat every night, and the occasional walk with his masters.  Because Ouilee had nothing to do he thought, and he thought constantly.  He would think about his parents and how they left him out in the wilderness without teaching him any survival skills.  He thought about how he had killed his brother.  He thought about how his life had become pointless.  Ouilee would think all kinds of weird thoughts and those thoughts would sometimes grow to irrational levels and he’d become angry at himself for even thinking certain things.  He cursed his birth, he cursed his pessimistic view of the world, and he cursed life altogether.

 

            Ouilee eventually reached a point of insanity; he couldn’t handle living in such a place for much longer.  He would have conversations with himself (not just talking to himself, but actual conversations using phrases such as “How are you today?”), he would keep scratching the same spot on his body until he broke the skin and even then he might still scratch the wound.  Ouilee would listen to the humans speaking to one another and he’d repeat the conversation with himself word for word until he had the whole thing memorized.  He’d sometimes start ramming his forehead into the walls because he had nothing better to do with his time than to see how big of a hole he could make.  The humans noticed some of Ouilee’s erratic behavior and decided that it was time to set him free.

 

Chapter 9:  Out in the World

 

            Before setting him off into the wild the humans gave Ouilee a shot; it was supposed to stimulate the growth of his muscles and reflexes to increase his chances of survival in the wild.  Ouilee winced in pain and roared a little bit as he felt the needle enter his hind leg; and he had half a mind to attack the person doing it to him.  However, after the shot was over they drove away; leaving him all on his own again.

 

            Ouilee was sad and terrified, “Why are they leaving me here?” he thought to himself, “What did I do to them?  Am I really that worthless?  I guess that I must be…” but before he could dwindle on this topic for too long his stomach growled in hunger.  He needed to get some food.  For the first time in over a year Ouilee would get to eat fresh meat; since he was an adult now he decided to go hunting for the first time, despite the fact that he had no idea how to do so.  He figured that instinct would take over and show him the way of the hunter.  He decided to go for a small group of gazelle that was grazing off in the distance; he was so mesmerized by the fact that he was out in the fresh air once more that he wasn’t paying any attention to where he was going.  He bumped right into the rear end of a lioness who spun around and swiped him across the face with her claws extended.

“HOW DARE YOU!!!” She hissed.

“I’m sorry, it was an accident.” Ouilee said softly.

“Accident, my ass!!!”

Ouilee was about to speak but decided that now was not the time to be a smart-aleck.

“Really, I wasn’t watching where I was going; I truly am sorry.” Ouilee continued to plead.
“Oh, I’ll show you sorry.” The lioness readied her claws once more but retracted them at the plea of another lioness in the vicinity.

“I’m sorry mister, this is my sister Yemei, and I’m Ichita; who are you?” the lioness asked with a smile.

“My-my name is Ouilee, I was just recently kicked out of my home.”

“Oh, for what?”
Ouilee sighed, “I don’t know what; that’s the problem.  I did absolutely nothing wrong and they just kicked me out; I don’t get it.”  Ouilee sighed even deeper, “Everybody kicks me out of their lives.  You’re probably better off without me too, I’ll just go over here somewhere.”

As Ouilee walked off Ichita and even Yemei felt sorry him, surely he couldn’t be that bad that nobody wants him around.

“Hey, wait!” Ichita called out to him.

Ouilee turned his head and still spoke in that depressed tone of voice, “What?”

“Why don’t you stay with us?”

“Because you’re better off without me.  Trust me, I’m too much trouble; I’m just not worth it.”

Yemei felt her heart breaking as he said that; she almost wanted to cry for being so mean to him earlier.  “Please!” she called out, “I really want to show you that I’m sorry for what I did.”

“Well…” Ouilee began, reluctance in his voice; “I guess that it wouldn’t hurt to at least stay the night.”

 

            Ichita and Yemei led Ouilee to their pride, they lived in the Quantanabe Fields. It was a beautiful place filled with perpetual green fields and lush savannah, crystalline water that glistened in the sunlight, smooth rocks for sunbathing, and a nice cool swampland right in the center of everything.  Although the swamp was rather off-putting everything else about the place was absolutely lovely and Ouilee knew that he never wanted to leave.  They started introducing Ouilee to everybody in the pride…

 

Chapter 10:  Reunion

 

            “MOM?!!!” Ouilee shouted in surprise.

The lioness studied Ouilee for a moment, “Ouilee, dear?  It is you!”

“Mom, what happened?!  Why did you leave?!!!”

Yuta turned away, she couldn’t bear to look her son in the eyes; Ouilee noticed a tear trickle down her face.  “Ouilee, dear,” Yuta began still not making eye contact, “you have to understand something-”

“Understand what?!!!  Huh?  That you don’t care about me, that you don’t love me, that you loathe my very existence?!!!  Is that what you want me to understand, because I understand that all too well!!!”
“Ouilee, you don’t understand at all; your father and I had a very good reason for abandoning you and your brother.”

“Yeah right, what makes you think that I believe you?”

“Honey, I’m your mother doesn’t that mean anything to you?”

There was a brief silence, “…It did once.”

Yuta felt as if Ouilee had literally torn her heart right out of her chest and stomped all over it; but she had to hide all of her pain from her son, he had every right to be mad at her and she knew it.  She didn’t want to make the situation worse by crying.

She felt her eyes welling up; she didn’t dare to look at her son when speaking now, “Please, you must understand… I never wanted to leave you two.”

“Then why did you?!!!  What possible excuse could you have for doing this?!!!  It hurt, mom; you suddenly walked out of my life and I never saw it coming.” Ouilee was starting to sob a little bit now as well, “How could you do this to me?”

Yuta embraced Ouilee with her foreleg; “I’m so sorry son, I’m really, really sorry.”

Ouilee and Yuta didn’t let go of each other for almost an hour; they both cried all of their sorrow away, and neither one of them spoke a word to each other the entire time.  Nothing more needed to be said, they had reunited; Ouilee no longer cared what her reason was for leaving him, he had found her and that’s all that he ever wanted.  Once they both calmed down they started talking once more.

 

            “So, where’s your brother?”

Ouilee felt his heart jump and he almost vomited.  He swallowed a huge lump and carefully thought over what he was going to say.  He didn’t realize how long he had stayed silent for until his mother chimed in.  “Ouilee,” she said a little worried, “Ouilee, where is Tremolo?”

Ouilee sighed, he didn’t know how to tell her, “Mom, Tremolo, he’s… gone.”

Yuta’s heart skipped a beat, she hoped that he didn’t mean what she thought he meant; “You don’t mean he’s…”

Ouilee sighed even deeper, “Yes mom, he’s dead.”

Yuta started crying some more, “How did it happen?” she managed to say between sobs.

Ouilee looked down at the ground; he couldn’t believe that he was going to tell her this, but it had to be done.  “Mom, [sigh] I’m to blame.”

Yuta gasped, “What?  Ouilee you didn’t!”

“No, it was an accident.  We were walking and then there was this fog, and he fell, then I fell, and I landed right on top of him.”

Yuta felt her son’s pain; it would’ve been hard enough just dealing with the death, but to be the one responsible, even if it was an accident, was too large a burden to carry on one’s own.  Ouilee needed reassurance, and only Yuta could give it to him, “Dear, it’s okay.  Accidents happen; I know that you didn’t mean to do what you did.”

“Okay?!!!  It’s okay that he had to die?!!!”

“No, that’s not what I’m saying.  I’m saying that it was out of your control, you couldn’t do anything to stop it, right?  You can’t fight gravity, right?”

“Well, I guess so.”  Ouilee sighed again, “But that’s not the point, I’m responsible for the death of another… my own brother… I can’t handle it.”

Yuta knew that she wasn’t getting through to him; so she decided to change the subject to a higher note.  “You know… you never did meet your sisters, did you?”

“…Sisters; how many?”

“Two.”

“How old are they now?  One?”
“Yes, but they’ve been dying to meet you.”

“You mean, they know about me.”
“Of course dear, you don’t think that your father and I just forgot about you, did you?”
“Well, I wasn’t sure what you thought of me.”

“Hun, please, I love you.”

“And I love you too, mom.”  They nuzzled each other.

 

            Ouilee saw a lion approaching who he recognized as his father; he was actually the king of the pride and was off on official business everyday.  There were a couple of one year old lionesses with him; they were joyfully hopping around admiring their father.

“Lilliko, Thura, Ulgula!  Look who I found, it’s Ouilee!”

“Ouilee?” Lilliko thought to himself, “Oh my gosh, it is him; look at how much he’s grown, he’s an adult now.  Wow, I can’t believe it; my own son found us, I knew that we’d see each other again.”

“Dad.” Ouilee said when his father approached him.

“Ouilee, it is you!” he embraced his son.

“Oh, dad, I’m so glad that I could see you again.”

“As am I.”

The two cubs stared at Ouilee in awe.  “Ouilee?” the darker one said, “You’re our brother Ouilee, huh?”

“Yes.” Ouilee replied.

“Cool; we do have a brother.”

“Yeah.” said the lighter one, “But where’s our other brother.”

Ouilee looked down at the ground, “I’m sorry, but he’s dead.”

“Oh.” Said the darker one a little saddened.

“Wait, Tremolo’s dead?” Lilliko asked.

“Yes dad.  Here sit down, I’ll tell all of you what I’ve been through.”  And so Ouilee told them his story.  He told them about Tremolo, about the loneliness that he felt once his parents left, about the humans, about his freedom, and about how he met Yemei.  His sisters were very interested in the stories; his mother and father were listening with horror as they heard how miserable life had been for their son.  Ouilee stayed with the pride that night.

 

            “Yuta, Yuta.” Lilliko whispered into his mate’s ear that evening.

“Hmm, yes dear?”

“We’re going.”

“Going?  Going where?”

“We need to leave; come on, wake up Thura and Ulgula.”
“What about Ouilee?”

“He’s a traitor; he’ll lead the humans here, I know it.”
“You can’t be serious?”

“Dear, he was with humans.  Don’t you understand how dangerous that is for us?”
“He’s not with them anymore.”
“That’s just wishful thinking; the humans never leave.”
“But dear-”

“Enough Yuta, we’re going; and we’re not taking him with us.”

“Well what about your pride, who’ll be king; you’re just going to abandon them?!”

“Family first dear.  Besides I’ve got an heir, Hefta.”
“He’s four months old!!!”
“SHH!!!  Don’t wake anybody up.  The lionesses will take care of things until he comes of age.”

“What about Ouilee, he’s perfectly capable of taking care of this pride.”
“He’s with the humans, and he must be terminated.”
“Lilliko!!!  I will NOT allow this.”
“Fine, but we’re still leaving.”
“I can’t just leave him, he needs us.”

“Look, he can take care of himself; but your daughters still need you.”

“But, but, I want to stay here, with our son.”
“He’s no son of mine; he’s a backstabber.”

Yuta started crying, she knew that it was useless to argue.  “Fine…” she finally said; “I’ll go.”

Lilliko and Yuta woke up their daughters and the four of them headed off into the savannah, before Yuta left she licked her sleeping son on the cheek as tears slid down her face, “Ouilee, I’m so sorry; please forgive me.”  Yuta left with the rest of her family.

 

Chapter 11:  Help

 

            “I can’t believe it; they left me again…” Ouilee stuck his head into the waterhole without any intention of ever pulling it out.

“This is no way to deal with your problems!” Yemei yelled from behind him.

Ouilee didn’t bother replying; that would require his head to be above water.

“All right, you want to do this the hard way; come on, up you go!” Yemei grabbed Ouilee’s mane causing him to yelp in pain as she tried to jerk his head out of the water.

“What was that for?!” Ouilee shouted.

“I didn’t want you to die.”
“Well, that makes one of us then.  Please just let me be.”
“I don’t think so, you just tried to kill yourself; I’m not taking my eyes off of you.”

“Really, I’m flattered,” Ouilee said sarcastically, “but I’m not your type.”
“Ha, ha, ha, very funny.” Yemei said returning the sarcasm, “but seriously, I’m watching you.”

“Yeah, whatever…”

“Listen, I know that you don’t care but there are others who want you alive; there are others who care about your well-being.”

“Well, good for them; but if they really wanted me to be happy then they’d let me die.”

“That’s not the answer!”
“It’s the ONLY answer!  Listen, you can stand there and try to talk me out of it all you want, but you’re talking to a rock here; and rocks don’t reply.

Yemei was worried as she watched Ouilee storm off towards the den.  She didn’t know what he could be thinking; Ouilee was thinking about how useless he was to his own family.

 

            Upon entering the den Ouilee plopped down onto the floor and got lost in his own thoughts.  He knew that they had left him and not just gone out for a while; Hefta told him what Lilliko said the night before.  Many thoughts started racing through his mind.  “Everything that mom told me yesterday was a lie.  She didn’t really want to see me again, she just couldn’t leave right in front of me.  And dad, how could he call me a backstabber?  WHAT THE HELL DID I DO WRONG?!!!  Why is my life such a dysfunctional mess?  Why is my sole purpose on this Earth to be miserable all of the time?  Why does everybody hate me?  Why do they all conspire against me?  What did I ever do to deserve any of this…?  Oh, yeah, my brother…  It was an accident though, mom said… wait, mom’s a liar; it’s not all right that I killed him.  Oh no,” Ouilee was now whimpering, “I deserve everything that I get.  Why did I ever listen to her in the first place?  What was I thinking; I should’ve recognized her as the two-faced lying witch that she is.  She’s against me; if my own mother can’t love me then who possibly can.”  What hurt Ouilee the most wasn’t that his mother had abandoned him again; but that she had lied to him about it.  She said that she loved him; she loved him for chrissakes, and this is how she shows her love?

 

            “Ouilee?”

“Oh, what do you want Yemei?”

“I just wanted to let you know that if you ever wanted to talk about it; then, well, you can talk to me.”
“Thanks for the offer.” Said Ouilee completely emotionless.

“Oh, please Ouilee; talk to me.” Yemei said with desperation.

“I don’t feel like talking.”

“Listen, I won’t pretend to know what it is that you’re going through; but I want to help you get through it.”

“So, by your logic you want to help me get through something that you know absolutely nothing about.  What if something along the path is dangerous; but due to your ignorance I end up dying anyway?  Did you ever think of that?”

Yemei was stunned; she had only known Ouilee for a day and he never struck her as the type of lion to say something like that.  “Well, I guess that I’d better leave you alone then.”

“That’d be nice.”

 

            “Ichita, I don’t know what to do.  He won’t talk to me; I want to be his friend but he just won’t say anything.  He keeps pushing me away.”

“Why are you interfering, you don’t know what it’s like to have your entire family walk out on you.  He needs to deal with it on his own.”
“Ichita, I found him trying to drown himself this morning.”

“…Alright, it’s obvious that he needs some help; but we don’t know what to do for him.”

“Well then, who does?  Does anybody here know what it’s like to lose their loved ones?”

Ichita sighed, “Okay then, let’s see what we can do.”

 

            Ichita and Yemei walked into the den where Ouilee was lying down in a corner by himself; everybody else was looking at him, their eyes filled with pity and sadness.

Ichita nudged Ouilee, “Hey, you, get up, we’re going.”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me, we’re going on a walk; you, me, and my sister.  Now come on, get up.”

“Yeah, I think I’ll pass; I’m just fine right here thank you very much.”

“I don’t think you heard me; I said we’re going on a walk.  I didn’t say ‘Would you like to go on a walk?’ now get up.”

“No.”

“You’re getting up and going on this walk if I have to drag you on my back the entire time; now are you coming peacefully or not?”

Ouilee knew that refusing would get him nowhere; he had no choice but to accept.  He sighed, “Alright, fine; I’ll go.”

“You mean that you’ll go peacefully.”

“Whatever.” Ouilee growled.

 

            Ichita and Yemei led Ouilee around their lands; but this wasn’t a tour, it was an excuse to talk with him.  Ichita walked to the left of Ouilee while Yemei followed alongside on the right.  “So, you never did tell us where you were from.” Ichita said.

“Listen, if you wanted to make awkward small talk with me then you could’ve easily done it without having to get me up.”

“Alright, we’ll get to the point.”

“You can’t kill yourself Ouilee, it’s not worth it.” Yemei broke out.

“How isn’t it worth it, huh?  I’m not happy here so I may as well leave this place and move onto somewhere else.”

“But you’re not even trying to be happy here.” Ichita said.

“Well, what is there to be happy about?  Everybody hates me.”

“We don’t.” Yemei pleaded.

“I wish that I could believe you, but that would be foolish.  ‘Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.’”

“Is this about that whole ‘I love you’ thing?  Dude, come on, you’ve got to let that go.  Just because she doesn’t mean it doesn’t mean that nobody else does.”

“I wish I could trust you, I really do; but I just can’t.”

“Listen, I’m sorry that you feel this way; but you can trust us.”
“No, I can’t.  Every time that I trust somebody they hurt me.  I can’t do it; it’s not worth it to trust anybody.”

“But-”

“Forget it, I’m heading back.”
“Hey, this walk is not yet finished, buddy.”
“Oh, yes it is.”

 

Chapter 12:  Friendship

 

            It had been hours since Ouilee had last seen head or tail of Ichita or Yemei.  He didn’t want to see either of them though; he preferred being a loner.  He didn’t care for anything or anybody; all that other creatures meant was pain, suffering, sorrow, misery, and hopelessness.  He didn’t even bother talking with anybody despite their best efforts to console him.  He didn’t know why he was alive, he didn’t know why anybody should care about him; he only saw himself as a cold-blooded murderer who deserved all of the bad that the world had to give.  Ouilee silently wept in the corner as all of the lionesses still watched him with pity.  Suddenly, the cub prince, Hefta, approached him and tapped him on the shoulder.

“What?” Ouilee said, trying to hide his sadness.

“Um…” Hefta was unsure of what to say; he could sense Ouilee’s helplessness but he didn’t know what it felt like to be helpless and sad.  “Would you like to play a game with me?”

Ouilee sighed, “Sorry, I don’t feel like playing right now.”
“Aw, c’mon; I’ve been so bored since your sisters left-”

Ouilee turned around to face Hefta, he started bawling out loud.  “Even the youngest of my family hate me!” he cried out.  “Why does everybody hate me?!”

Hefta and the lionesses looked upon him with pity, “…I don’t hate you.” Hefta said.

“Please don’t lie to me.” Ouilee said as he turned back around.

Now Hefta knew what helpless felt like; he couldn’t do anything to help Ouilee.  Hefta walked back over to his mother with his head hung low.

“It’s okay, dear.” Hefta’s mom said.  “You tried.” Then she nuzzled him and licked him a few times.

“But mom, I don’t want him to be sad.”

“None of us do, but there’s nothing that we can do about it.”

“I just wish that there was some sort of way to make him instantly happy, then he’d want to play with me.”

“You know what?” it was Ouilee, neither of them had noticed him walking by, “So do I.”  Ouilee was about to leave when Yemei and Ichita stopped him right at the exit.

 

            “What do you two want now?”

“We want you to come to your senses.” Ichita said, a hint of worry in her voice.

“Well, you’d better brace yourself for the impossible then.”

“Come on, Ouilee; we want to know the real you, not this pathetic, self-loathing lion that you present to us.”

“This is the real me, do I strike you as having multiple-personality disorder or something?”

“Stop that!!!” Yemei loudly pleaded.  “Just stop; I hate it when you do this.  You try to make jokes out of a very serious situation.”

Ouilee was stunned for a split second but he quickly snapped out of it.  “Listen, I’ll deal with it however I see fit; if that requires jokes then I’ll joke all that I want.  Just don’t tell me how I should deal with my problems; you have your methods and I have mine.”

“Killing yourself is NOT the answer.” Ichita pleaded.

“That was hours ago!”

“Really, then where were you going just now, hmm?”

“To get a drink of water, where else?”
“Oh, don’t even try that with me; I know what the waterhole means to you.”

Ouilee knew that he was caught in a lie; why did they always seem to show up when he tried to remove himself from society?  “Listen, I was going to get a drink.  Now, if you don’t mind, I’m still thirsty and I want to get to the waterhole.”

“Then we’re coming with you.” Yemei said.

Ouilee grumbled but had no choice but to comply, he actually was quite thirsty.

 

            Upon reaching the waterhole Ouilee did get a drink; but he also did something that neither he nor the two lionesses with him expected; he actually opened up to them.  Ouilee told Ichita and Yemei everything; about how he felt towards his parents, about his brother, about the humans, about how he felt all of the time, about his misery, about everything.  He felt very relieved to get everything off of his chest, but he also feared the judgments that the ladies made about him during his long, rambling monologue.  He was surprised to find Yemei nuzzling him; he never had been nuzzled by a lioness before, other than his mother.  She looked at him with tears in her eyes, “It’s okay Ouilee, you’re going to be okay here.  Ichita and I promise to never do anything to hurt you, right sis?”

“Right.” Ichita then nuzzled Ouilee after Yemei was done.  Ouilee was surprised at how much better he actually felt after having two lionesses nuzzle him like that.

“I guess…” Ouilee began, “I just needed to know that somebody really did care.”  Yemei and Ichita smiled at him; and he at least attempted to smile back.

 

            Over the next few weeks Ouilee had gotten closer to Ichita and Yemei, but especially Yemei, and he knew that he always had them to talk to if he needed to get something off of his chest.  The three of them would spend their days together; walking, sleeping, just hanging out really.  Ouilee even played with Hefta a few times (but he always let the cub win).  Although he wasn’t really happy, he was better than he previously had been, he had friends now; and they cared for him.  However, in the back of Ouilee’s mind he knew that they would someday leave him as well; he just wanted to live it up while he still could.

 

Chapter 13:  Starlight Doom

 

            Ouilee, Yemei, and Ichita were all hanging out in the savannah one day.  They laid on the grass watching the clouds float by.  Ouilee and Yemei really wished that Ichita wasn’t there; it’s not that they didn’t like her, they just wanted to be alone together.  Yemei rolled over and put her forepaw around Ouilee’s chest; her face was right next to his ear.  “Tonight.” She whispered sensually before giving him a passionate lick on the cheek.  Ouilee grinned; he succeeded in containing his excitement enough for Ichita to remain ignorant; unbeknownst to Ouilee and Yemei, Ichita wanted Ouilee just as bad.  As they laid there Ouilee kept watching the sun out of the corner of his eye, it was still only halfway through the sky; tonight was still hours away.

 

            Ouilee and Yemei killed the time by talking with each other; eventually Hefta came over to play with them and the three had a wonderful time.  Ichita had left to help out with the hunt for the day.  Yemei said that she needed to stay behind to keep an eye on Ouilee; although he didn’t appear to be suicidal anymore, she just wanted to make sure that he didn’t try anything anyway.  It was just like any other day, it was just the anticipation and anxiousness of awaiting nightfall that made the day seem to drag on forever.  Every agonizingly, painfully, unbelievably slow second seemed to go on for minutes.  Even just an hour seemed like an entire day to them.  Waiting is always the most painful part; but their waiting would become the downfall of their relationship.

 

            Finally nightfall came, “At last!” Ouilee thought to himself; he slowly approached Yemei feeling the butterflies in his stomach flutter unrelentlessly.  He finally reached her, “So… should we head out now?”

Yemei, too, was feeling anxious; her heart pounded in her chest and her stomach was full of butterflies.  “Um… yeah, I guess so.  Are you ready?”

“Yeah, yeah I’m ready.”

“Alrighty then, I guess-”

“Everybody, everybody get out here quick; unknown lions approaching, I repeat, unknown lions approaching!!!” it was Ichita who happened to be standing guard that evening.

“Wonder what’s going on?” Ouilee said.

“Ugh, why now?” Yemei groaned.

Ouilee and Yemei both got up and headed out to where Ichita was standing; they saw not a few, but a whole pride of lions approaching their lands.

“Oh, shit!” Ouilee said, stunned.

“Yeah…” Ichita replied.

“Let’s go and see what they want.” Yemei said a little annoyed.

Ouilee watched as Yemei approached the leader and tried to negotiate with him; but he struck her across the face with his claws extended.  Now Ouilee was outraged, “HOW DARE HE!!!” he roared; “I’ll show him!!!”

“NO!!!  Don’t, I want to avoid bloodshed.”
“Avoid?!!!  Your sister is already bleeding; yeah, you’ve done a great job of avoiding it!!!”

“Excuse me, but I don’t see anybody else hurt.  Besides she’s fine, look here she comes now.”

Ouilee nuzzled Yemei once she approached him, “Are you all right?” he asked.

“Yeah, it’s just a little scratch; it’ll heal in no time.”

“Oh…” began Ichita, “I see what’s going on here; you two have fallen for each other, haven’t you?”

“Yes, we have.  What’s wrong with that?”

“Back off sis, he’s mine!!!”

“Excuse me?!!!  I don’t think that it’s up to you.”

“Yeah, well I’m sure that he’d choose me anyway.”
“Um, guys-” Ouilee tried butting in.

“Oh yeah, I’m so sure that he’d choose the ugly duckling over the beautiful swan.”

“That’s exactly why he’d choose me.”

“Why you little-”

“GUYS!!!” Ouilee shouted even louder.

“I’ll fight you for him.”

“GUYS!!!”

“What?!!!” roared Yemei and Ichita in unison.

“They’re approaching our lands.”

“Dammit!!!  We’ve got to stop them.” Yemei said.

“I’m right behind you sis; let’s get them.”  Yemei and Ichita ran off together.

“Geez, these two chicks are crazy.” Ouilee said to himself as he shook his head.  He then took off after them.

When he finally caught up with them he found Ichita lying on the ground in pain and Yemei in a stand-off with the leader.  Ouilee nudged Ichita.  “Are you okay?” he asked.

Ichita smiled, “I knew that you’d choose me.”

“Please, don’t do this to me, alright.  I did choose to be with Yemei tonight.”
“You WHAT?!!!” Ichita scratched Ouilee across the face.

“Ouch, what on Earth could possibly have been for?”

“For choosing her over me.”
“But, I really do like her that way; I love you as a friend, not as a mate.  I’m sorry, I wish that that could’ve been easier to say but it’s not.”  Suddenly Yemei let out a yelp of pain.  “Yemei!!!” Ouilee ran up to her and nudged her.

“Mmm… Ouilee, Ouilee, is that you?”

“Yes, are you okay?”
“I think, I think my leg’s broken.”

Ouilee started to well up with anger; he felt every muscle in his body tense up, he felt adrenaline rushing through his veins, he felt like he could kill a full-grown elephant with one swipe.  Ouilee rushed in to fight the leader.

 

            It was a fierce battle; both of them landing near-fatal blows to each other, usually knocking the other one down.  They bit at each others’ throats and swiped at each others’ faces; each swipe drawing blood.  They both had the intention of killing the other; but what Ouilee forgot about was the rest of this leader’s pride.  Ouilee finally took down the leader bringing the battle to a halt; the other lions ran off.  When Ouilee turned around he saw the last thing that he had expected to see that evening.  Both Yemei and Ichita were laying on the ground, dead.  They had literally bled dry.

 

Chapter 14:  Prisoner

 

            “Why did you attack our pride?” Ouilee asked a hostage.

“I’ll never say anything to the likes of you filth!!!” the lioness practically spat.

“Filth?!!!  Filth?!!!  At least we don’t go around killing the innocent.”
“Innocent?  Oh, please.  If you’re so innocent then I’m a male.”

“Don’t speak to us like that; you’re in no position to make such remarks.”

“Pft!  What’re gonna do?  Kill me?  Then how will you get your precious answers; everybody else is miles away by now.”

“Don’t act so high and mighty.”
“Ooh, I’m so scared.  I tripped and fell and you guys surrounded me; you’re the ones who took the cowards approach.”

“Why you little-”

“Enough, Ouilee!” said a lioness from the Quantanabe Fields.

“But-”

“I know that you’re upset that they killed Yemei and Ichita; but violence won’t bring them back.”
“I know… I just want her to feel the same way that I feel.”

“Revenge isn’t worth it; even if you get your revenge then what?  You’ll always live with the pain in your heart.  If you just let it go then you’ll feel much better.”

“Let it go, LET IT GO?!!!  HOW DARE YOU!!!  She MURDERED two of my friends; she doesn’t deserve to get away with it.”
“Ouilee-”

“No, I DON’T want to hear it!!!  I actually cared for them; I actually cared, and now they’re gone!!!  It’s all her fault!!!  I’ll never let her forget it for as long as she lives.”
“That’s not going to solve anything.”

“You have no idea what it’s like to lose everybody that you care about; everybody.  Every single time I start to let my guard down I get tackled in the gut.  And you know what the worst part is?  The only other one that I care about is a cub; Hefta; what’s going to happen to him?”

“Ouilee… Hefta’s gone.”

“What do you mean gone?”

“He became another casualty.”

 

            Ouilee felt anger boil up inside of him; he turned to face the imprisoned lioness and smacked her across the face.  “WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO US?!!!” he screamed as he cried.

The lioness laughed, “I just wanted to see you suffer.” She said with a sick undertone in her voice.

“You-”

“ENOUGH!!!” this time it was the only other male who lived in Quantanabe Fields.  His name was Trapa.  “Why did you attack us?” he asked the lioness.

“Don’t worry about it.”

“Okay, this is going nowhere.  How about this?  If you tell us why, then we’ll let you go, deal?”
“You’re joking.” Ouilee said.

“No, I’m not.”
“You’re not in charge here.”
“Yeah, well neither are you.”

Ouilee stormed off; he no longer cared why they attacked, he sat next to the bodies of his friends and silently wept.

 

            “You stole from us.” Said the lioness.

“Stole what?” Trapa asked.

“Him.”

“Who?”

The lioness pointed at Ouilee.

“What do you mean we stole him?”

“We were sent to kill him for leaving.”
“What?!!!” Ouilee roared; “Who gave you such an order?”

“A lion by the name of Lilliko.”

“Father?”

“Father?  He’s your father?” the lioness started laughing now, “Oh, this is just rich; talk about dysfunctional families.”
“Shut up!” Ouilee said.

“Now it all makes sense; no wonder why he was so hesitant to give us the order.”

“So, why did you kill them?”
“They got in my way.”

“And that’s a good excuse?”

“They resisted; they got exactly what they deserved.”

“You’re the one who deserves what they got.”

“Ouilee, don’t even think about it.” Trapa warned.

Ouilee growled and stepped down.

“Okay,” Trapa began, “You’re free to go now.”

The lioness walked off without saying a word.  She left in a different direction than the rest of her pride ran off to earlier.

 

            “I can’t believe that you let her go.” Ouilee grumbled.

“She never would’ve told us otherwise.” Trapa replied.

“Whatever.” Ouilee said as he walked off and rolled his eyes.

 

Chapter 15:  Departure

 

            A few days had passed since Ichita and Yemei passed away and Ouilee couldn’t find himself to get over it.  Ouilee was convinced that the world was out to get him; nothing ever seemed to work out for him.  His life was nothing more than a spec of dust floating in the air; meaningless, just getting in the way of everyone; just dead weight, really.  His path was always interrupted by somebody slapping at him trying to get him out of the way; and once he finally settled in somewhere he would be thoughtlessly wiped away and, once more, at the mercy of the wind.

 

            He didn’t want to leave Quantanabe Fields; but he had no choice; there were lions after him, he couldn’t stay anywhere for very long.

“I’m leaving.” He announced.

“Why?” asked a lioness.

“…It doesn’t matter, does it?” Ouilee said, coldly; his voice sending chills down the lioness’s spine.

“No, I-I guess not.” She replied.

“Okay then, I’m leaving and I don’t know when, or if, I’ll be back.” Ouilee looked out upon the crowd; he gave them a sort-of half smile, but it was a smile that said, “I’m going to regret this decision someday.” And they all smiled back at him; with that Ouilee took of into the wilderness.”

 

            Ouilee was walking through a half-dead grassland when realization suddenly hit him.  “Alright, where should I go?  Where can I go?  I don’t know where I’m going.  I don’t know what I’m doing.  I know very little about anything.  Why does dad want to kill me?  I can’t believe him!  What on Earth have I ever done to him; he’s the one who keeps hurting me, I should be the one who wants him out of the picture.”  Ouilee sighed, “…But I’m just not like that; I could never do that to my own father.  How could he do that to me, and why can’t he say anything to my face?  He really is a coward.  It’s not that he doesn’t want to have anything to do with me, he’s afraid of me.  But, afraid of what…?”  Ouilee pondered this as he continued walking through the half-dead field of grass; eventually there was less vegetation and he found himself approaching a desert.  He didn’t want to have anything to do with deserts so he decided to make a turn as soon as he saw it on the horizon.

 

            Ouilee was just aimlessly wandering around with no particular goal.  He felt hopeless as he searched for a new home; he felt ridiculous just wandering around as he was.  He finally found a spot; it seemed perfect, there was a waterhole, a small incline along the side of a hill, a field full of grass behind it for prey to graze in… he had everything that he needed.  He felt content as he laid for rest; he would make his new start here, everything in his life would turn around; he was sure of it.  Everything seemed to be so perfect…

 

Chapter 16:  Fear Awakened

 

            Ouilee enjoyed being on his own; he no longer wanted to have anything to do with others.  He would sit around all day doing nothing; no responsibilities, no worry, and no anxiety about others disappearing.  It’s not that he was happy, in fact he was far from it, but he was… better than before.  He felt better off here, like he was finally where he needed to be; he actually felt necessary.  This is where he needed to be all of this time and without him there this place meant nothing.  Ouilee settled into this new home very quickly and effortlessly.

 

            On Ouilee’s first night at this safe haven he had an ominous dream.  It was daytime but the sky was dark, he was panting as if he had been running for miles, and he saw a shadowy figure gaining up on him in the distance.  Ouilee had no other choice but to continue running despite the sudden pain that shot through his legs.  He had to continue running, but he could barely even move because of the pain.  The figure drew closer, and closer until Ouilee could see it’s… no, her face.  She gave an evil grin and drew back her paw; she started to swipe at him until everything went black.

 

            Ouilee awoke to find that he was resting flat on his stomach causing his knees to be pressed against the ground which explained the pain that he felt in his dream.  He was in too much pain to stand up so he had to settle for rolling over, despite the fact that his legs still felt like they had been stabbed it was a relief to finally have the pressure taken off of them.  He found himself breathing heavily; due to the pain and due to the nature of the dream.  “It’s only a dream.” He would tell himself.  It seemed ridiculous to look too much into it so he just shirked it off as a figment of his imagination (after all, that’s what dreams are, correct?); but no matter much he tried he just couldn’t shake the feeling that this dream meant something, and it meant something horrible.

 

            “He wasn’t there!” cried out the lioness from his dream.

“Are you sure?” Lilliko asked her.

“I’m positive.  He wasn’t there and everybody told me that he ran off.”

“I don’t care; you shouldn’t have ever let him live in the first place, why did you just leave after they let you go?”
“I was still a prisoner, I couldn’t try anything or else I’d be killed.”

“Do you think that I care?  My son shouldn’t be alive; he’s been with the humans.”

“What do you have against them anyway?  Didn’t you love your son before he came into contact with them?”

“That was a long time ago; that Ouilee is dead now, dead!  This Ouilee is no son of mine.”

“Geez, talk about your dysfunctional families.”

“You’re in no position to make those kinds of remarks, Heda.”

“Well, so-o-orry; I’m just shocked at how a father can treat his own son.”

“He is NOT my son!!!  You’ve already screwed up once Heda, don’t do it again.”
“What do you mean I screwed up?!!!  My mate died because he tried to go after Ouilee; but you don’t even care about that, do you?!!!”

“I just want the job done; your very life counts on this next attempt, so do it right!”

“Yes, your majesty.” She said derisively.

“If you keep that attitude up I’m not going to reward you if you do kill him.”

“Oh yeah, I’m sure that your mate will just love the reward that you’re going to give me.”

“Well, she’s not going to find out, now is she?”

“Why would I tell?  Besides, I’m getting that reward whether you like it or not.” And with that Heda walked off.

 

            Ouilee started thinking again, it was his usual thoughts about life and how it kept knocking him down and mocking him.  Suddenly, the dream that he had crept into his mind again.  He could vividly remember that face; grinning at him, staring at him with those evil crimson red eyes, those nostrils flaring up at the mere sight of him, and that darkness that overtook her whole body.  He got the chills just thinking about it.  Suddenly he pictured that face every time that he closed his eyes; eventually he heard maniacal laughter coming from her as well, then she was spitting at him.  Ouilee grew terrified of that face.

 

            It was another night and with it came another dream.  This dream instilled a different kind of fear, the kind of fear that is accompanied by sorrow.  This dream made Ouilee wake up sobbing.  In this dream he was a cub again; playing with his brother.  His mom walked up to them and told them not to wander off.  Ouilee and Tremolo obliged; suddenly they were adolescent lions and they ran off, they figured that that rule only applied to them when they were younger.  Ouilee turned around at the sound of a twig snapping; then he looked back at where his brother was standing only to find him gone.  Ouilee hesitantly walked onward until he fell down what seemed like an endless chasm of pitch black.  He heard the squeal of his brother as he felt himself hit something soft at a very high speed.  The squeal faded away into nothing.  Ouilee felt the same fear that he felt after the incident with his brother; he was afraid to tell his parents.  When he did arrive to tell his parents they listened and they walked away from him.  Ouilee sat for hours and hours, afraid that they would never come back; and they never did.  Ouilee awoke to the last thing that he ever wanted to see.

 

Chapter 17:  I’m Back

 

            Ouilee jumped back as he awoke; he didn’t want to confront her, not here, where he actually felt somewhat important.  She looked him square in the eye and grinned; “I’m back.” she said evilly.

Ouilee sighed, “Please, just leave me alone; I don’t want to deal with you right now.”

“Oh really, well that’s not up to you, now is it?”

“Go away.” Ouilee growled.

“Or what?”

Ouilee took a warning swipe at her and still managed to draw blood.

“Now that wasn’t very nice.” Said the lioness.

“Oh don’t even start joking around.” Ouilee warned.

“Oh, well, aren’t we all ferocious and mighty now; and all because we picked on a helpless little girl.”
“You’re hardly ‘little’.”

“Perhaps; but you seem very little to me.” She was looking between his hind legs.

“HEY!!!” Ouilee roared.  Heda just stood there laughing uncontrollably.  “I should just attack her right now; she’s not even paying attention.  Ugh, what’s stopping me; huh?  Why don’t I just do it?  She’s right there.”  Before Ouilee could even answer his own questions Heda put her serious face back on; but she continued to mock him.  “Ugh,” Ouilee though, “I really didn’t want to have to put up with this right now; she’s here to kill me, I know it, so why is she doing this?”

 

            “Yes, that’s it; mock him, make him feel inferior to you, make him cower in fear at the very mention of your name.” these thoughts kept running through Heda’s head as she circled him, snarling with sarcasm the entire time.  Ouilee felt that she hated him; well, that she hated him and who he was, rather than just hating him because she was supposed to.  She didn’t just want to kill him; she wanted him to suffer and undergo intense mental anguish before he died.  After all, it was his fault that her mate had died.  However, she couldn’t help but feel sorry for him; after all, it was his father who had done this to him.

 

            “I said, Knock it OFF!!!” Ouilee roared as he swiped at Heda; but she managed to dodge the swing.

“Now, now, now; there’s no need to get angry little one.

Ouilee growled after that statement; Heda just laughed.

“Anyways, as I was saying… there’s no need to be angry with me.” She seemed to give off a hint of seduction in that last half of the statement.  She looked him in the eyes and started purring loudly.  “Yes, there’s no need to be angry with me.”

“What are you doing?  First you tried to kill me and now you’re trying to mate with me?!  What’s your deal anyway?!”
“Why are you questioning it?  Don’t you want it?”
“That’s beside the point.  Besides; you think that you can just insult me and then try to seduce me, well it’s not going to work.  I don’t know who you are-”

“My name is Heda.” She interrupted.

“At any rate, I barely know you.  So, if you have no more business here then I suggest you leave.  Now!”

“You don’t want me gone; I know that you want the company, you can’t live your whole life alone.”

“Watch me.” Ouilee started walking off.

“I knew that would do the trick.” Heda said to herself.  “He doesn’t even know that he’s heading right into an ambush.”

 

Chapter 18:  Ambush

 

            “I don’t know what her problem was.” Ouilee was thinking aloud.  “But man, she’s just crazy, loony, insane.  What was her deal?  What did she want?  What are her motives?  It seemed as if she had no one motive on her mind; maybe she’s just bipolar.  I just don’t understand; what does she want with me?”

As Ouilee continued walking through the half-dead savannah he heard a noise from behind.  He perked up his ears and turned his head, but he saw nothing.  He cautiously continued moving forward until he heard something rustling in the bushes behind him.

“Who’s there?!” he called out; but nobody replied.

Ouilee decided to check it out; he looked in the bushes and caught a snake slithering away.  He breathed a sigh of relief knowing that nobody was stocking him.  When he turned around he saw Heda standing face to face with him.

Ouilee growled, “What do you want?”

“I’m just here to finish what I started.”
“What you started?  You started, like, five different things.  Just what exactly are you trying to finish?!”

“My main mission; to take you out.”  As she said that, right on cue, twenty-five lionesses came out of hiding.  They emerged from bushes, from behind trees, some emerged from a nearby waterhole, and others emerged from the tall grass.

“You led me here on purpose, didn’t you?” Ouilee said.

“Ooh, you’re so smart.” Heda said derisively.  “Why don’t you tell me what color the sky is.”
“Shut up!” Ouilee roared.

“Oh please.  Do you really think that you can take all of us out?”
“You guys all ran off last time, all that I had to do was kill the leader.”

“That was then, now we’re all sticking around to the end.”

Ouilee looked around; there was no way that he could take on this many lionesses on his own.  He did the only logical thing, he ran.

 

            “After him!” Heda roared.

Ouilee just ran; he saw no place where he could hide.  He decided that since he couldn’t see them behind him that he’d make a sudden u-turn back into the field of grass and try to confuse them.  However, a lioness smelled his scent getting closer to her until she saw him run by far off in the grass.  The few lionesses that didn’t catch the scent were ordered by those who did to turn around and follow them.  Ouilee knew that his plan wasn’t working, but now he was headed back for Quantanabe Fields; he knew that they’d help them there.

 

            Meanwhile, at Quantanabe Fields Trapa had found a lioness named Veni who he decided to take in with him.  Veni mentioned being a princess of the Pride Lands until she ran away from home.  Lilliko was making his way to Quantanabe Fields as well to warn everybody that Ouilee meant doom.  If he ever came back then he’d be the downfall of the entire pride.  He knew that they’d listen to him since he used to be their king.

 

            Ouilee continued to run to his ‘home’ but he knew that he couldn’t keep on running that long.  But he lived on the hope that the lionesses couldn’t either.  “But what if they can?” he thought, “Then when I do stop I’ll be too tired to defend myself.  Ah, this is futile.  Why can’t there be something that I can hide in around here.”  He observed the area but still found nothing.  “I’m doomed.” He thought to himself.  “Why is there nothing?  Stupid savannah; I’ll die out here, I know it.”

 

Chapter 19:  Fight For Freedom

 

            “Aha, found you!!!” It was a lioness sent out by Heda.

“No.” Ouilee thought as he was quickly pounced by the lioness.

“Everyone, over here; I’ve found him!!!”

Ouilee saw several lionesses surrounding him; he panicked and tried to head butt the lioness that was on top of him, only to fail in the end.  He tried flailing his legs in a useless attempt to break free from her pin; but she had her legs on top of his forcing him to lay on the ground without any chance of breaking free.

“Why?” Ouilee asked in a helpless tone.

“Why not?” Heda replied as she approached him.  “Let him up.”
“Excuse me?” said the lioness.

“Yeah, excuse me?” Ouilee repeated.

“I said, ‘let him up.’”

“Um… okay…” the lioness got off of Ouilee who immediately stood up and crouched into an attacking position with his teeth bared and his claws fully extended.

“Hey!” Heda called out, “She’s not the one you’re after.  It’s me that you want.”

“Oh, really; okay, then prepare for the brawl.”

Heda held up her paw to Ouilee, “Hold on a second; I want to ask you something first, then we’ll go one-on-one.  Just what is it with you and your father anyway?”

Ouilee sighed, he honestly had no clue; “I don’t know… he just-I don’t know…”

“Yeah, that cleared things up for me.” Heda said sarcastically.

“Well sorry, but I just don’t know what his deal is.  I never did anything to him.”
“Well, it’d be a shame to kill you; but… how much lower could I sink anyway?”

Heda suddenly leapt at Ouilee and she told the others to stay out of it.

 

            Heda scratched and bit at Ouilee who returned the favor.  They stayed on their toes the entire time making sure not to screw up the smallest thing.  They kept rolling around pinning each other; still biting and scratching.  Heda managed to overtake Ouilee and roll him right into a rock which he got his head bashed into.  Ouilee slipped into unconsciousness.

 

            “Is he dead?” asked a lioness.

“He’s not breathing.” Said another.

“That doesn’t mean he’s dead, he might’ve just had the wind knocked out of him.”

“Well, then check his pulse.”

The first lioness held his paw but didn’t know where to check for a pulse.

“Um, where do I find it?”

“I don’t know.”
“Oh, you two are useless.” Heda said.  “This,” she was holding a throbbing part of his paw which pulsated very slowly “is where you check for a pulse… and he still has one!”

The lionesses kept on attacking him for several minutes; but Ouilee’s pulse never stopped, eventually they got tired.  “Well, if we just leave him here then I’m sure he’ll die anyway.  Come on, let’s go.” Heda cried.  All of the lionesses ran off and left Ouilee to die.

 

            “So, he’s really dead?” Lilliko asked Heda.

“Yes, he’s dead; I checked his pulse and everything.”

“Excellent.”

“Ha,” Heda thought to herself, “I never said that I made sure that his pulse stopped; I just said that I checked it; so technically I’m not lying.  But, I’m sure that his body gave in by now; it’s been hours.”
“Excellent, your reward will come after my mate and cubs go to sleep for the night.  Don’t worry, I know where to find you.” Lilliko winked at Heda who winked back.  Once that night came Heda was rewarded many, many times for her deed; however, Ouilee was just getting up where he had been left…

 

Chapter 20:  Awakening

 

            The sun had risen and filled the sky with a fiery glow; a blinding glow that shrunk Ouilee’s pupils to the size of a freckle.  As soon as he opened his eyes a sudden burst of brightness overwhelmed his sight causing objects to appear blurry and dark.  He awoke, stinging all over, feeling as if he had been pummeled for hours on end.  He had many scars which still bled; many bumps and bruises that didn’t appear as though they would heal anytime soon; and he felt every little injury pulsating with the beat of his heart.

 

Chapter 21:  Old Faces and New Faces

 

            Heda had to leave Lilliko’s side; for his mate, Yuta, would be returning soon.  She sped off into the horizon leaving a trail of dust behind her.  Lilliko awoke to find Yuta standing over him with a slab of meat hanging from her mouth.

“Ooh, breakfast?” Lilliko asked, hopefully.

“Yes dear.” Yuta replied.

Yuta dropped her catch in front of Lilliko who began to dig in.  His two daughters came up from behind their mother and joined in.

“So, how were my girls last night?  Hmm?  Did you three have fun?”

“Yeah, daddy!” replied one of the cubs; “Look what mommy found for us!”  She stepped aside to reveal a small gopher.  “Now we have somebody to play with us!”

“And he doesn’t mind?”

“Not at all.” Replied the gopher, “I love cubs.”

“But… what about your family?”

“Don’t have one.”

 

            As the five of them (Lilliko, Yuta, the gopher, and the two cubs) conversed amongst each other Heda stood off in the distance, watching.

“Oh, Lilliko; I need to be with you.  I need to be yours.  I love you.  I love you more than that filthy lioness you call a mate does.  Look at her… I could’ve easily caught something thrice that size.” Heda shook her head and sighed, “I will be make you mine and we will be each others’.”

 

            Ouilee decided that it was best if he returned back to Quantanabe Fields.  Now that Heda probably thought that he was dead he thought it best to return to where he liked to call his home.  He started off towards Quantanabe Fields; not even thinking of the injuries that he sustained.  Ouilee writhed in agony the entire trip; but it would be worth it to finally be somewhere where he was wanted.  All of the pain that shot up and down his legs, tail, and back seemed insignificant when he thought about his home.  Even looking like this he knew that they’d welcome him warmly.

 

            Ouilee returned to find that Trapa had found a mate, Veni, and she was a runaway adolescent from the Pride Lands; a princess, no less.  Trapa had actually been looking for him; and told him to come and see Veni because of a pain that she was feeling.  He approached her and began the inquisition.

“So, what’s going on?” Ouilee asked.

“I have a sharp pain in my belly, most of the time it just feels like there’s pressure on it but occasionally it’s a sharp stinging sensation.” Veni said.

Ouilee pondered this for a moment, “When did you first notice this pain?”

“Yesterday.”

“And what were you doing yesterday.”

“Well, that’s actually pretty private.” Veni looked over at Trapa shyly, he gave her a grin.

“Oh… I see… well that’s actually what I thought.”

“What do you mean?”

“Congratulations you two!”  Veni and Trapa exchanged confused glances at one another, then they looked at Ouilee.  “Veni, you’re pregnant.” He said with a smile.

“Really?!” said Veni and Trapa in unison, except their tones were very different.  Veni was excited while Trapa was angry.

“What do you mean by THAT?!” Veni said irritated.

“How…” Trapa said with his head hung low.

“You know how it happens, but what are you so sad about?” Veni asked.  She never got an answer, all that Trapa did was walk off.

“Well, I’d better go see what everybody else is up to.” Ouilee turned around and walked off in the direction that the rest of the pride ran off to; he didn’t want to, nor did he know how to deal with their situation.  He decided that it would be best to just walk off and try to make small talk with some of the other lions in the area.

 

Chapter 22:  Inner Conflict

 

            “Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure.  That’s exactly what I was told.”
“But… he’s-”

“I know; but she wouldn’t lie to me, especially about something like that.”

“Ho-how-how, is he a ghost?”
“Oh please; there’s no such things as ghosts.”

“But, I just saw him.”

“Fool; he’s not really dead.”

“Hey, what’re you guys talking about?” Ouilee butted in.

Both of the lionesses turned away with horrified looks on their faces.

“Wh-what’s wrong?” Ouilee asked.

Suddenly one of the lionesses turned and pounded on his chest with tears in her eyes.  “How could you make us all think that you were dead?” she cried.

“Dead…?  Oh, you heard about that, huh?”
“Yes.”
“Well, to be perfectly honest… I’m lucky to even be alive right now.”

“So… it’s true then.”
Ouilee looked down at the ground; he barely knew her but he still didn’t want to worry her, “Yes, it’s true.”

“Oh, Ouilee; when we heard that you were dead none of us could stop thinking about you.  You were always so quiet and sad and… distant.  We all really wanted to get to know you better; but… well, we thought that our chance might never come.”

“Well, don’t worry,” Ouilee said comfortingly, “I’m here now.”  They nuzzled for a few seconds.

 

            “HE’S STILL ALIVE?!!!” Lilliko roared at the top of his lungs.

“Now, just calm down…” Heda pleaded.

“Calm down, CALM DOWN!!!  I gave you one mission, ONE MISSION, and you failed; how DARE you let me reward you.”

“I didn’t know.  I was sure that he was going to die.”
“I don’t want to hear it; you should’ve made sure before you left, you know better than that.”

“You have no idea; I was there for hours, he just wouldn’t give in.”
“You’ll stay for days if you must.”
“But-”

“I don’t want to hear it.  It’s bad enough that you let him live; but now he’s walking around in my pride.”
“Excuse me?  Your pride?  You left them when he came into the picture.”
“I did NOT leave them; I left
him.”

“Ooh, sorr-y your majesty.”

“How dare you.”

“How dare YOU let him live; I will not have those filthy humans wipe out my pride because he’s there.”
“Just forget about those damn humans!  They haven’t done anything yet, why would they do something now.”

“You don’t understand-”

“Oh, and you do?  Just forget about it.  Please; I’m not going after him again, I’ve had it with this family.  We’re running off together, okay?”

“Excuse me?  I have a mate.”
“You didn’t seem to mind the other night when you were with me.”

“That’s totally different.”

“No, it’s-”

“Leave.”

“What?”
“Did I stutter?  I said leave, now!!!”

“Okay; but trust me, I will return; for you.”  Heda walked off then started muttering to herself, “Oh yes, I will return for you; you can count on that.”

 

Chapter 23:  Freedom?

 

            Ouilee could finally wander about without any fear of this lioness who had been stalking him, he felt like he was free of her.  He believed that she may have finally gone off of the deep end and thrown herself into a position where she would finally receive the treatment that she desperately needed.  Everybody at Quantanabe Fields felt relieved to see Ouilee alive and; sort of well.  Nobody had expected what was looming over the hills on the horizon.

 

            Lilliko had gotten fed up with Heda’s lame excuses and was relieved to have her quit the job; he hated excuses and absolutely did not tolerate failure.  He was worried about what she had told him though; that she would be back for him.  It was too eerie and it gave him the chills.  Yuta, of course, remained completely ignorant of the fact that her mate was trying to kill her only living son.

“If Yuta knew the truth… no, she can never know the truth.  It’s not worth it.  If she discovers the truth then she’ll leave me.  Wait a minute… Heda, she wouldn’t; oh, who am I kidding?  Of course she would; she’d do it without thinking twice.  She left me, but she did not leave me my freedom.  I know her; she’ll do whatever it takes to get what she wants… and she wants me.  How do I get out of this?  How?”

 

            “No, no, no, no, no!!!” Heda roared.  “You’re NOT kidnapping him!!!  How can I possibly stress that enough to you?!!!  It’s not kidnapping if he goes with you willingly.  Just tell him that you have some important business regarding his son and he’ll listen.  Lead him to me and block his only escape.”

“What is all of this for anyway?” asked a lioness.

“Yeah, what do you see in him?  He’s got to be the biggest jerk on the planet; all of the things that he’s done.  Why go through all of this trouble?”
“It’s not trouble.” Heda replied, “It’s simple; a cub could lead him to me.”
“So what; we just block his escape for our entire lives?  That is kidnapping.”

“It’s not kidnapping!  Listen; once he sees how good of a mate I can be he’ll dump that pathetic lump he’s with now.”

“Excuse me; but how do you know that?  What if he really does love her?”
“He can’t love; you’ve seen the things that he’s done, well, heard about them anyway; nobody like that could love.  But see; I would use that to my advantage.  Without love there’s only one reason to have a mate; and I can get him to do whatever I want for it.  That is every male’s weakness.  I could finally have somebody hunt for me rather than hunt for them, I could have somebody worship the ground that I walk on, I could have a slave.  You see, when you give somebody only one thing to live for; that’s all that they know about.  That’s all that they know and that’s all that they do, they’ll work for it because to them it is their life.  If I can rid Lilliko of all conscious thought then he’ll work for only one goal; and I can create whatever jobs I want for him.  So you see, he gets what he wants and I get what I want; well, I get two things that I want; it’s a win-win situation.

“Umm… I thought that you loved him.”

“Why do you think I’m trying to brainwash him into this then?  Not to exercise my brain; no, I’m doing this because it’s the only way that he’ll ever love me back.  He’ll live to serve me for my love; and in turn, he’ll appreciate the love I give him and he’ll love me back.  We’ll be two regular lovebirds.”
“That’s not love!!!  I don’t even know what to call that!!!  That’s just… awful.  He won’t love you; in fact, he’ll loathe you for making him work for his ‘life’ as you call it.”

“Oh yeah; let’s all listen to miss High-and-Mighty over here.” Heda called sarcastically.  “Don’t you know anything-”

“Don’t you?  That’s not love that you’re describing.  That’s slavery and ownership and it’s NOT a good thing.  You can never make somebody love you and you’re an idiot for thinking otherwise.  Heda and her lackeys continued to argue for hours; they kept bringing up the same points over and over again.

 

            “Ouilee.”
“Dad?  What do you think you’re doing here?” Ouilee asked his father.

“Son, I’m afraid that I just can’t let you live?”

“How dare you say that right to my face!!!”

“But it’s the truth.”
“What gives you the right to decide that anyway, hm?!!!”

“I’m your father; and I know what’s best for you.”

“No dad, you don’t know what’s best for me.  What’s best for me is life.  I need to be alive.”
“Son, you’re not making this easy on me.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.  What do you want me to say, hmm?  Daddy, I’m sorry for surviving; now do you want me to jump off a really tall cliff; or would you prefer it if I stayed underwater for a good day or two.

“You know…” Lilliko said, advancing on his son, “How would either of those two outcomes satisfy me?  I wasn’t the cause of either one of those.  It just, wouldn’t feel right for you to fall victim to an accident; now, I want you to make this easy on me, after all, your old man is very old.”
“I’m only three; how old could you possibly be?”

“Shut it, Ouilee!!!” Lilliko roared.  “You’ve talked back to me for the last time.” Lilliko drew his paw back and extended his claws; Ouilee followed suit and the two of them stood in a standstill.

“Hold it!!!” roared a lioness.

“What, HEY!!!  Let go!!!”  Lilliko was dragged away into the bushes by hidden lionesses.

 

Chapter 24:  The Truth

 

            “Heda; we’ve got him.  He’s just on the other side of the bushes there.” The lioness motioned towards the bushes to their left.

“Good; bring him to me.”

The lioness walked back into the bushes and emerged with a helpless looking Lilliko. 

“Wh-what do you want from me?” Lilliko asked in desperation.

“What do I want?  Let’s see, hmm, what do I want…?” Heda was circling Lilliko and grinning at him.  “I want… you.” She said.

“Why?  I have a mate; what makes you think that you could possibly have me?”

“I’ve already had you.” She grinned and inched her face closer to his, “and I want more, and I want it all to myself.  You can’t share me and you won’t share me; understood?”
“I’m not even your mate, I won’t even see you.  Now, let me go.”

“That’s not going to work.” Heda motioned toward a lioness who walked into the bushes.  “You see, I’ve got a surprise for you.” The lioness emerged from the bushes with Yuta, along with their two daughters.  Yuta was crying and the two cubs looked alarmed; Heda grinned evilly.

 

            “Dear,” Yuta managed to blurt out between sobs, “What does she mean by ‘I’ve already had you.’?”

“Don’t worry about it; it was a long time ago.”
“Yeah, if a long time is a few days.” Heda said.

“Be quiet.” Lilliko growled.

“Ooh, I’m so scared.” Heda laughed.

“Enough.” Yuta ordered, “Now, Lilliko, dear, please tell me that she’s lying.”

“Yuta, you have to understand something-”

“Understand?  UNDERSTAND?!!!  What the hell is there to understand anyway?!!!  How could you possibly do this to me?  To our family?  Dear, I don’t know if I can ever forgive you for this.”

“Then don’t.” Lilliko said quietly.

“What?”

“I said, ‘then don’t.’ and I meant it.”

“You, you can’t be serious.”

“I am serious.  It happened, alright?  I can’t change that.”
Yuta felt her heart breaking; “Why is he doing this to me?” she thought to herself.

“Daddy?”
“What?” grumbled Lilliko.

“Daddy, why did you growl at me?”

“Lilliko, what’s going on?  Who are you?”

“I’m Lilliko.”

“But dear; I thought you loved me, loved us.”

“I did once; but now I just don’t care anymore.”

“What do you mean you don’t care?  How can you just stop caring about that?”

“As long as our son is alive, I will care about nothing more than his death.”

Heda felt the tears really start to flow now; “What?!!!”

“Honey, you must understand, he was with humans-”

“What is so damn wrong with those humans?!!!  They haven’t even seen him since they took care of him.  They helped him; they did no harm to him.”

“But they’ll do harm to the rest of us.”

“How can you possibly believe that?”

“Daddy, you never answered my question.”

“Shut up!!!” Lilliko roared.

Heda slashed him across the face.  “Don’t you DARE talk to your daughter like that.”

“If you thought that was bad,” Heda began, “he was about to kill your son right before my friend here caught him.”

Heda slashed Lilliko across the face again, leaving four deep gashes across his left cheek.  Lilliko didn’t even seem to react the pain.

Yuta gasped, “You’re not the lion I married.” She said, horrified.

“But, I love you dear.” Lilliko said tonelessly.

“No, no you don’t love me; you don’t even know me, I don’t even know you.  You’re not Lilliko; you are not the lion I married.  I can’t be with you; I’m finding my son and taking him far away from you.”

Lilliko jumped in front of her, anger clear all across his face.  “You will do NO such thing.” He growled.

“Oh yeah, well then, just try and stop me.” She started walking away with her two daughters; Lilliko followed but was roared at by Heda.
“And just where do you think you’re going?” she asked.

“I’m stopping her, where else?”
“Oh no you’re not.  We’ve got some unfinished business here.”  She leapt in front of him and pinned him to the ground.  “You’re not going anywhere.”

 

            “Okay, we’re back to our old home girls.  Now, let’s split up and look for your brother.  You do remember what he looks like, right?”

“Kinda.” The darker daughter replied.

“I remember, and I remember his name; I can ask anybody else if they’ve seen him.”

“Good, now I’ll go this way and you two go that way, alright?”

“Okay.”
“Good.” Yuta ran off in one direction while her two daughters ran off in another.

 

Chapter 25:  Veni

 

            Ouilee was walking through the desert when he came across a very pregnant lioness.  He recognized her as Trapa’s mate.  When he approached her she mentioned that Trapa left her.  She was in no condition to live; she ran away from home and returned to find that her hated brother, Taka, was now in charge of things so she ran away again.  Mufasa, the brother whom she admired, was dead along with his cub whom she had never met.  Her mate left her pregnant and alone, and she had no survival skills.  She was as good as dead and she definitely couldn’t take care of a cub.  Ouilee stuck by her side and helped her through these hard times.  He provided comfort, friendship, companionship, and food.  Veni would tell him about her problems and he’d always be there to listen to her; they quickly grew a close bond as the two of them have had to deal with many problems in their lives; in fact, they both mentioned that their entire life was an ordeal.  They both knew what it was like to be rejected and thrown aside, completely useless to the world, and then once things start to build up they both had their worlds shattered completely.  They talked about their lives up to this point, it was never a dull subject for either one of them.  They decided to become mates; and they never left one another.  They wandered around their whole lives with their son Mopa.  Before dying Veni wanted to see the Pride Lands one last time; she found that a descendant of Mufasa and a descendant of Taka were ruling the Pride Lands together; but everything was at peace there.  She could die happy.  The Pride Lands became Ouilee and Mopa’s home after that; they had nowhere else to go.

 

            Yuta never found Ouilee; she searched the Quantanabe Fields high and low but Ouilee never returned to that spot.  She lived the rest of her life there with her two daughters.

 

            Lilliko and Heda were never heard from again.