The Lioness

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
In a mystical woods, a mysterious creature presents itself.

Submitted: August 17, 2013

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Submitted: August 17, 2013

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The familiar smells of the forest welcome me.  Welcome me away from the stresses and pains society never seizes to press against me.  Chipmunks scurry past my feet.  A woodpecker searches for his breakfast in a nearby tree. Morning fog limits my view to maybe a mere twenty feet.  The cold dew clings to my socks.  It doesn’t bother me.  I’m use to it.  A flower next to me blooms full in just seconds.

I finally relax.  After a long night of working, an early walk in the forest never lets me down.  The rising sun provides just enough light.  Clouds move overhead.  Mysterious creatures move underfoot.  A subtle breeze strokes my face.  I take in every ounce of nature.

I take off my shoes and socks and set them by the usual oak tree.  Walking barefoot, I’ve found, makes the animals more comfortable around me.  I talk with them.  Some of them, anyway.  I’ve grown so found of this mystical woods and it’s grown so found of me that even its inhabitants seem to know me.

A large nose peeks from under my arm.  I know this nose.  It belongs to an old friend of mine.  I turn to pet her on the head.

“Hey Tabby,” I say.  Tabby is just the name I made for her when I first met her as a young fawn.  Tabby is now a full grown doe, who, herself, has had many fawns that now roam the woods.  One might call her the Mother Teresa of the wood.  She was the first one I befriended here.  I was young myself then.  Only six or seven, if I recall correctly.  It’s been thirteen years since then that I’ve wandered this forest nearly every day.

Tabby greets me with a familiar hum.  I continue through the woods with her, telling her all about my day.  Even though she doesn’t really talk back, she certainly does understand me and responds best she can.  We sit under the biggest pine tree in the woods.  We do this most days.

Tabby is fairly large for a doe.  She is a dark, caramel color except for her less than white belly.  I’ve only met one buck up close before.  He was bigger than Tabby, but not by much.  Tabby lays against the tree and I lay against her.  I finally let my fatigue take over.

When I wake up, Tabby has gone.  I get to my feet and wipe the dirt off my butt.  The fog has let up just a bit, but I still can’t see too far.  The forest seems quieter, like everyone’s disappeared.  No more chipmunks.  No more woodpeckers.  Even the wind has died.  I look around.  Still nothing.  Just the trees and the fog.

Suddenly, a new feeling overcomes me.  Some pure instinct tells me to walk forward.  As I walk, I look around.  Nothing.  I keep walking, starting to wonder if I should just go back to the familiar tree.  I don’t normally go this way too often.  Before I know it, I’m even further into the woods than I’ve been in a long time.  I know it should be about noon, but the mist makes it appear still dawn.

Just as I’m about to give up, I see a single figure slowly approach.  It’s a short silhouette is the haze.  I stop cold.  I should be scared of this unknown, but I find myself only curious of this obvious stranger.  The anticipation eats at my gut.  I take a step forward, but stop in my tracks when I finally see the animal clearly.

Deep, yellow eyes stare through me.  Chills roll down my back.  I’ve definitely never seen this animal before.  In fact, I’ve never even dreamed about an animal like this before.  An unusually small lioness stands no more than ten feet away from me.  She seems maybe the size of a large dog.  Not nearly as big as I’d imagine a lion.  That wasn’t even the strangest feature.  Her coat was a mess of greens and blues.  No, not a mess.  It was a beautifully organized pallet of different tints.  Like nothing I’d ever seen before. I realize in my overvaluation that I’ve been standing here for more than a minute having not a clue what to do.  This is the most interesting animal I’ve ever seen; I have no idea how to approach it.

I decide to just go for it.  I take one step forward.  She extends her own paw.  That must be a good sign.  Her yellow eyes are intimidating but incredibly inviting.  I take another step.  She takes an aggressive stance.  I take back my last step.  She takes a threatening step forward.  I break eye contact and look at the ground, hoping to relieve any hostile signals.  I hear a leaf move.  I look up just barely, but she’s gone now. I look all around.  No sign.  Damn.  Missed my chance.  I sit on the ground, bummed.  I let out a heavy sigh.

A twiddle my thumbs in my lap in disappointment.  I almost get up before a feel a nose sniffing the back of my neck.  I freeze.  Every hair on my body stands on end.  Could this be her?  Or maybe just another deer? I take my chances.  I slowly turn around until I’m face to face, the yellow eyes just inches from mine.

Before I know it, she’s on top of me, licking my face.  How did I get here?  Is this the same cat that stared daggers into my soul just moments before?  The chills are gone and so is any ounce of intimidation.  I wonder if pushing her off of me will chase her away.  I go for it, hoping she doesn’t take it the wrong way.

She rolls off me.  On her tummy, she crawls back to my side.  I slowly extend my hand to pet her.  She closes the gap between us by pushing her head against my palm.  She purrs with excitement.  As I pet her, she acts no more aggressive than a house cat would.  Eventually, we are running and playing and just being plain friends.  This might be the craziest experience of my life.

But just as all good things, it must come to an end.  When the sun starts to set, I say goodbye.  I only hope when I return tomorrow, she will find me.


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