You may wish to read On Display before this, though it isnÕt necessary at all. The Lion is my character, as well as Giza and Kweu. All comments may be sent to conor0191@aol.com.

 

Welcome to the Show

 

MCMLXXVIII—Nothing new happened today. Nothing new ever happens. IÕve almost lost track of how long IÕve been stuck here. Counting the days since I saw the Truth is really the only thing that keeps me sane. Giza came right out and said it today: she thinks IÕve snapped. That IÕve lost it. That my hate is the only reason I stay alive. I canÕt blame her for thinking that. Sometimes it looks that way even for me. But itÕs a purpose, isnÕt it? At least I have one, unlike those two layabouts. I really donÕt know how much longer I can, wait, though. The time is coming, but not nearly fast enough.

 

MCMLXXIX—KweuÕs gotten horny again. We only went for a couple times today, but itÕs only the beginning. It will be a while, a week, maybe more, but before long sheÕll be completely immersed in her heat, and Giza soon after. At least now she has some logic about her; I convinced her to move into the privacy of the den. Granted, none of the people had arrived yet; it was still early today, but I didnÕt want to chance it. Heat is one thing I wish I still had Mother around for. She explained things so well. I feel shameful making heat in front of all the people. It is a private act, yet I donÕt know why. All of both Giza and KweuÕs cubs have been taken after only a few short months. I have no complaints about that; IÕll raise my voice about it later. I would most likely be a poor father as it is. Overall, though, today was a good day. Kweu is a wonderful heat.

 

MCMLXXX—It nearly happened today. Only my resolve held me back. One of the foolish people let their cub reach their paw through the bars. He actually lifted his child so he could come closer to me, above the barrier the wardens had made to separate them from me. I donÕt know if he was stupid, or foolishly brave, or even if he simply hadnÕt heard about the time I had lost control and took a paw from them. All I know was that taste still lingers with me. ItÕs bitter and foul, yet I crave to devour all that I can. Giza persuaded him to remove his cub; the human was smart enough to bring his cub back to him when she walked toward it. She and Kweu are worried for me. They donÕt enjoy seeing me like this. I long for snow on the ground once more. At least then I can stand to move inside the den and shut myself away from the demons.

 

MCMLXXXI—I learned something new today. Many times IÕve observed it, but never understood. A female person replicated me. I had often watched them sit down in front of my prison with a large rectangle in one hand and what appeared to be a stick in the other. Up until now IÕve discarded it as a simple mystery, another people oddity. But this time the female showed to me the other side of the rectangle, the side I never saw, all the while speaking people gibberish to me. She interested me enough to walk to the bars and look. She had made something that looked somewhat like me, although it had no color at all. I growled at her, and apparently she took it as praise from me for her thing. I do not understand how she did it, but moreover I do not understand why. They donÕt care at all what happens to me. None of them do. I am an object.

 

MCMLXXXII—Giza says the people will be showing us outside soon. I didnÕt understand at first; I have only been taken outside for the briefest of moments. But this is unprecedented. This is wonderful. Those two see it otherwise. More of their Òpaw that feeds youÓ arguments. I will say it again: they have no realization of the Truth. They are content with their lives, being fed the same food every day, never stirring from your den unless the people take you, only to jab you with their sharp barbs. Yes, they cure my sickness and pain, but death is preferred to this. There is life out there, life unrestrained by the people. I know that I will never have the chance to live it, but this will be a wonderful opportunity nevertheless.

 

MCMLXXXIII—I believe it is FatherÕs birthday. IÕm not sure. As I have always said, I can never be sure. The people made sure of that. Congratulations Father. You have escaped, be it in death or some other way. You are free.

 

MCMLXXXIV—The people took us outside today. It was clearly too risky to try anything; they had their sticks. They took us to a pit. I didnÕt understand the purpose of it. The most they did was walk us around the edge of it several times, with their leashes on our necks. Both Giza and Kweu made it abundantly clear through their stares that they were watching. Let them watch. I could care less.

 

MCMLXXXV—I have been given such a wonderful gift, only to have it snatched away. We walked outside with the wardens again today, but today the pit was filled with people. It was completely filled; there were people as far as the eye could see. We were walked outside after the cheetah, and walked around the entire perimeter of the innermost portion of the pit. I have never felt such lust in my life. The desire to take them all nearly overwhelmed me; I stopped dead as I walked outside until the person holding my leash jerked on it. We were presented like this three times that day. I realize that completely now. We were presented as the objects they see us for. I do not care. Tomorrow I will have my vengeance.

 

MCMLXXXVI—I cannot believe it. There was no presentation today. Granted, today is the seventh day. But it is far too late, even considering that. The stars have come into the sky and the people have left. Not once today was there a presentation. I asked both Giza and Kweu about it, but neither would give me any answers. I hope their silence truly does mean that they want to keep the fact that there will be another procession away from me. If I let an opportunity like that slip away from me, I donÕt know what IÕd do. I need this. On a totally different theme, Kweu couldnÕt care less about the presentation. Heat is coming onto her strong. ItÕs not fully here yet, but soon even I wonÕt be able to think logically about anything. There could be no worse timing. This is my chance. More than anything, I need this.

 

MCMLXXXVII—There were three presentations. They excluded me from the first two. I think they wanted me to spend my time with Kweu. I didnÕt need that. I tried to get them to take me with Giza, but they wouldnÕt. I spent the entire time until Giza came back screaming out to be taken. Kweu is in heat. She wanted me to forget Giza. I slapped her brutally across the face until she left me alone, terrified of me. Yes, this is an obsession, I realize that, but what do I care? Apparently I convinced the people to take me to the final presentation. It took all I had to simply walk out, the people sitting there, unaware. I took notes. I watched them. Tomorrow, I wonÕt be so lenient. Tomorrow, I will fulfill my purpose.

 

I—They took me out for the first presentation today. There werenÕt as many people as there had been the last two times. But there was enough. I waited until I reached the perfect spot and struck. I leapt the barrier, pulling my leash free from my person. I ripped. I tore. I heard them cry out in fear of me as they rightfully should. I hunted them down, my body straining to kill all that it could. I swallowed their flesh, trying to gorge myself on their frail bodies. But the people stopped me. I felt a prick and immediately knew IÕd wake up in the den. That was where I found myself when I came to. Neither Kweu nor Giza want anything to do with me. Giza already lectured me for what I did to her sister yesterday. Kweu shakes with need, but after today sheÕs afraid to even look at me. Yet here I am. I am an outcast from both the people and my kind, yet here I stand, victorious. Today I have fought back. Today I have avenged Mother and Father. I slowly lick the blood from my paws, tasting its saltiness, yet my craving is not satisfied. Just one more kill, just one more person to fall underneath my paws, and maybe that will be enough. At least, that is what I tell myself. I know the truth. Today I have struck back at them in force. IÕve trampled them under me and tasted their flesh. And I want more.

 

oOo

 

            I tore my eyes from the new morningÕs sun as the people came into the den. They carried their sticks, yet these were different in some subtle way. I could tell by their stance that they were ready for me. There was a moment of hesitation for all of us. I stood, only to hear clicks from every personÕs stick. I stared at the one in front of me as he stared down the top of his stick. One of the humans barked a single syllable, an obvious command. I almost smiled as I watched the human in front of me. He would pull his trigger. I knew that. Even after it all, I stood here before them as a lion. What am I but an object?