DAY 2:  KIARA’S DESPAIR

 

Early Morning

 

            The sun had not yet greeted the African savannah by the time Kiara’s restlessness reached its climax.  It was unusually cold this particular morning as Kiara lay sleeping in her spot in the den, next to an empty space which Kovu used to occupy.  Kiara’s grandcubs had finally settled down and fallen asleep.  They still slept with their adoptive mothers so they weren’t together for the night.  As the Pride Lands were enveloped in twilight Kiara decided to go outside to get a breath of fresh air.  She had put up a strong front in front of everybody but on the inside she was still suffering.  It had been less than two full days ago that she lost her entire family other than her father.  She had sat outside enjoying the cool nighttime breeze for several moments before a lioness noticed her standing out there all alone.

 

            “Kiara, hun, are you all right?”

Kiara turned to face the lioness; tears in her eyes and a frown that could’ve stretched the entire continent of Africa.  She said nothing, she only whimpered.

“Kiara,” the lioness gave her a friendly nuzzle, “Do you want to talk about it?”

Kiara sniffled and silently sobbed a little bit more, “No, not right now.  I’m sorry but, could you just leave me alone, please?”
The lioness was shocked; nobody had ever seen Kiara like this before, she was always so cheerful and upbeat; this was so unlike her.

“Um… okay.  Just let me know if you need anything, alright?”

Kiara sniffled once more, “Sure.” She gave a nod.

“Okay, I’m going back inside now.  Come on in when you’re ready, it’s very cold out here.”
“Yeah, sure thing.”

The lioness walked back into the den.

 

            Kiara sighed as she continued to sob.  She looked up at the stars, “Kovu, Kovu where are you?” she cried out.  “I need you now more than ever.”  She sat there, waiting for a response, but got nothing.  As time went on without a response she continued to sob even harder.  She knew that it was futile to sit around waiting; but she didn’t know what else she could do.  She couldn’t sleep and there was nobody else awake to keep her company.  She felt so helpless, her own son had left her with nothing; she didn’t know why and she feared that she never would.  She couldn’t suppress the urge to roar out loud any longer; so she gave a loud, mournful roar that echoed across the Pride Lands, awaking many animals.  She woke up every lion in the den, but they were in shock.  Kiara had never made such a sad sounding roar, or anything before; at least not in front of them.  In fact, the only time that they had ever even seen her cry before was when she thought that she lost Epesi when he was a cub.  If Kiara was miserable then the situation had to be hopeless; this was the mood that crossed the minds of many of the Pride Landers.

 

            Inside of the den many of the lionesses spoke amongst themselves.  They uttered whatever little thoughts entered their heads.  They gave each other support and comfort but only ended up feeling bad in the end.

“But, if Kiara can’t see the good in this…”
“I know, I know, but you see…”

“It’s not just about that…”
“Then what is it about?”

“I just don’t see how we can get through this…”
“I feel like we’re lost…”
“What do you mean lost?”
“I mean…”
“Oh, so do I…”
“Yeah, but also-”

“Oh, hi Kiara.”

“Kiara?” the lioness spun around, “Oh, Kiara, hi.”

Kiara didn’t say a word to either one of them.  She just trudged on over to her spot in the cave and laid down to sleep.  The lionesses gave each other puzzled looks and continued to speak amongst themselves.  They all went to bed moments later.

 

Dawn

 

            The sun began to rise on the distant horizon.  The sky was still dark and the stars were still visible on the western border.  Simba stood on Pride Rock’s summit with his head bowed, his body strong, and his face in a deep frown.  His eyes seemed fixed on the structure below him; he watched it intently as if it would crumble beneath him.  He was thinking of Nala; he missed her dearly, and he knew that he could never have her back.  He wept silently as everybody inside of Pride Rock continued to sleep.

 

            Off in the distance, Rafiki was mourning the losses in his own way.  First off, it was his duty to rub out the outlines of the ones whom had passed.  This was something that he usually did at night, however, he hadn’t done it the previous two days because he was too busy assisting the Pride Landers in grieving their losses.  Now that he had time he smeared out the images of Giza, Kovu, Nala, and Imara.  He surrounded Epesi’s image with a mix of red and green to create a brownish-blackish color.  He added in Fewahara, Pem, Varcia, Tohanuro, and Miki underneath Giza’s image.
“Well…” he said aloud to himself, “At least there’s hope.”

 

Morning

 

            Morning came too soon for most of the Pride Landers.  After Kiara’s roar hours earlier, most were too depressed to even get up.  As soon as the sun entered the den most of the lionesses covered their eyes with their forearms and sighed deeply.  Their cubs, who sensed that something was amiss, urged their mothers to get up and be happy.  Once they realized that it was a futile effort they decided to get together and try as a group to get everybody moving.

 

            “So, how are we gonna do this?” one cub asked.

“I dunno.” Said Varcia with a shrug.

“We’ve gotta do something.” Cried Pem.

“Yeah, I hate it when mommy’s sad.” Said another cub.

“But what can we do?  They’re not even listening to us.”

“I’ve got it!” Tohanuro cried out.

“You do?” asked Fewahara.

“Yeah, everybody, follow me.” And with that Tohanuro ran off towards the Elephant Graveyard.  The others followed him, not knowing what he was planning.

 

            “Hey, dad…” Kiara asked hesitantly.

“Yes Kiara?”
“Dad, I-I-” Kiara let the tears flow; she ran up and nuzzled Simba.

“Kiara, dear, what is it?”
“I’m unhappy, dad.  Everybody’s gone; EVERYONE:  Kovu, Mom, Giza, Epesi, Imara, everyone.”
“I’m still here.” Simba said reassuringly.

“Still… it’s not enough.  Dad, please, don’t go anywhere.”
Simba frowned, “Kiara, you know that I don’t have that many years left.”
“No, no, no, no, NO!!!  Don’t die dad, you can’t die, you’re the only one left.  I won’t let you die on me.”

“Kiara, please.  Kiara, you’re being unrealistic right now.  I understand.  I lost my mate as well; not to mention my son and my father all of those years ago.  I lost my grandcubs, both of them, and I feel the same losses that you do.  But Kiara, you can’t set unrealistic standards on life; it’ll only torture you in the end.  I’m not saying that you shouldn’t hold on to what you have, because you should, but you shouldn’t expect to have anything forever; that’s not the way the world works.”
“I know, I know; but please, dad, don’t die anytime soon.  I just don’t think that I could take it.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll be here for you.  Also, when I do pass, I’ll be up there for you.” Simba gestured towards the sky.  Kiara looked up in disgust.

“I already tried calling Kovu, but he never answered me.”

“You need to give him time.  I’m sure that he’s busy getting settled in.  I know that he wants to see you just as badly as you want to see him; but he’s too busy right now.”
“How long does it take?”
“I really don’t know…”

 

            “What are we doing here?” asked Pem.

“We’re getting something special.  Something so special that our parents will just have to get up and enjoy the day.”
“So, what’s so special out here anyway?”

“You mean, your mom’s never told you guys the stories?”
“What stories.”
“Tohanuro, you don’t mean-” Fewahara began.

“Yes sis, I do.”
“You could get killed trying to get it.”

Tohanuro just scoffed, “I’ll be fine.  Nothing can hurt me!”

Fewahara rolled her eyes, “No, come back, it’s too dangerous out there.”
“I’ll be fine.” Repeated Tohanuro.  “No monsters are going to come out and get me.  Besides those stupid hyenas ran off long before we were even born.”
“What about the rouge hyenas.” Warned a cub.
“Forget the rouges.” Fewahara cried, “If your parents ever told you the stories of the pretty blue flower then rouge hyenas are the least of your problems.  There are pits of fire, crumbling rocks, dense fog, steep canyons, hungry vultures, and hunters.”
“Hunters?!!!” repeated the cubs.

“Yes, hunters; they came in recently.”
“If there are hunters then I’m definitely not going in there.”

“Yeah, me neither.”
“I’m not going.”
“Oh, you guys are a bunch of cowards.” Cried Tohanuro.  “I don’t care what you do, I’m going to get it.”

“Please Tohanuro, don’t, I don’t want you to get hurt.” Fewahara called out.

“Oh please, I’ll be fine.  Don’t worry, I’ll be back.” Tohanuro ran off onto one of the elephant skeletons so that he could reach a hill.  He looked back at the others one last time before running off.

 

Afternoon

 

            Except for a few all of the lionesses were still laying in Pride Rock’s den, too depressed to even think about getting up.  Nobody even realized that their cubs were missing.  Even those who were up and about were too busy with their own thoughts to even notice the world around them.  It was a slow afternoon which was spent sleeping, pacing about, or just plain worrying.  Kiara told Simba over and over again that she loved him and didn’t want anything to ever happen to him.  The cubs continued to wait for Tohanuro to return, but before they knew it the sun was beginning to set.

 

Dusk

 

            “Wait a minute.  Tohanuro!!!  Something must’ve happened to him.  Look the sun’s already going down!!!” Fewahara shrieked.

“Oh no, I knew that something like this might happen.”
“He never should’ve gone out there.” Cried Pem.

“Why wouldn’t he just listen to me?” Fewahara called.

“Because he’s a boy.”
“This isn’t the time for jokes!!!” Fewahara cried.

The cub took a more submissive stance, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to-”

“YES YOU DID!!!  You did mean it.  You don’t care if he dies, do you?”

“I’m sorry.”
“No you’re not-”

“Fewahara!” it was Varcia, “Don’t worry, I’m sure that he’s fine.  It’s probably just really far away is all; or maybe he just got lost.  Come on, let’s go look for him.”

“Really?”
“Yeah.” said Pem.

“He’s our brother.” Chimed in Miki.

“Come on sis, we should’ve gone with him in the first place.”

Fewahara felt a little bit better having her new sisters on her side.  Together, the four of them ran off in the same direction that their brother had.  The other cubs bolted back towards home.  By the time that the four sisters reached the top of the hill that the skeleton led to, the sun had set.

 

Night

 

            Once the cubs returned to Pride Rock they discovered that nothing had changed since they left.  Everybody was still either sleeping or moping around; unaware that the cubs had even gone anywhere.  Everybody was lost inside of their own minds, thinking of the grave situation too deeply to notice or even care about anything other than themselves and what they were going to do now.  The mothers of the five cubs were still too distraught over the fact that their cubs were no longer theirs and spent the whole day crying.  It was a very morbid situation at Pride Rock.

 

            Kiara, too, wouldn’t leave her father’s side.  She kept telling him that she loved him and wouldn’t let him go.  It was as if she was a cub again; always hanging around her father, making sure that nothing bad ever happened to him.  She needed him and wouldn’t stand losing him.  Simba knew that his daughter was going through some very hard times right now but this was unlike her.  She was always so independent and free-spirited; it was weird for her to cling onto her father like this.  A free, independent lioness with the world at her paws was reduced to a simple-minded, highly dependent cub with no more thought than “I want my daddy to help me do everything.”

 

            Meanwhile; the four sisters were wandering aimlessly through the Elephant Graveyard searching desperately for any sign of their brother.  They continued to come up empty-pawed.  They called for him and meowed desperately to try and get his attention but nothing worked.

“Where could he be?” Fewahara said panicked.

“Don’t worry,” Varcia reassured her, “I’m sure that he’s fine.”
“But there could be hunters out here.”
“Not at night.” Miki said, “Humans can’t see well in the dark.”

“What about rouge lions?” asked Pem.

“Well…”

Just then they heard footsteps approaching them.

“Who’s there?!” called Varcia.

“Tohanuro, this isn’t funny!” cried Fewahara.

“That doesn’t sound like him.” Warned Miki.

“I know, but I hope that it is.”

“You know…” said a voice off in the distance, “It’s almost midnight.  You cubs shouldn’t be out here all alone.”

“W-who’s there?” called out Fewahara, fear obvious in her voice.

“Oh, I go by many names:  Night stalker, Hidden prowler, Invisible predator, just to name a few.”

“What do you want with us?”

“Oh,” this time the voice came from behind the cubs rather than in front.  It was the same voice but just coming from a different spot.  “Wouldn’t you like to know?”
“How did you get over there so fast?” asked Varcia, unnerved by the situation.

Now the voice was coming from in front of the cubs again, “Wouldn’t you like to know?” it repeated.

“Stop it.”
“Stop what?” said the same voice off to the left.

“Please stop it.” cried Miki in tears.

The voice just laughed; but the laughter started from behind, then all of a sudden it was in front of them, then to left, then in front again, then to the right, then to left, then it stopped completely.

“I’m scared.” Whispered Pem.

“So am I.” replied Fewahara.

“You’d best be scared, brats!  You’re in my territory now.  Your mommies and daddies aren’t here to help you out.”

The cubs stood there, shaking uncontrollably.

“Guys, help!!!”

Fewahara gasped, “Tohanuro!!!  Where are you?!!!”

Suddenly she heard a slash and a cry of pain coming from multiple directions at once, followed by a harsh “SHUT UP!!!”

 

            Just as the footsteps faded away the moon made it halfway across the sky, and the day was over.