May 2024, 2nd: Easy Pickings

Ibu collapsed under the mopane tree, his abdomen pulsating violently as he tried to catch his breath. He was thirsty and knew that he needed to find water soon or he would not have the energy to hunt for food. He was also very conscious that it would not be safe to hunt until he got out of his father’s territory.
Ibu had been travelling for two days. Two days since his father’s angry roar had chased him away from his meal and kept chasing him each time he attempted to return, until he realized the time had come. He could no longer depend on the protection of his mother and must move on and establish his own life elsewhere.
The sky around him glowed scarlet as the sun sank fast towards the horizon. He had to get moving before darkness set in. He could hear animal calls drifting on the evening breeze and felt sure this indicated there was a water source nearby. Creeping quietly through the thorny scrub that pulled at his coat with every step, finally he broke into an open area to see a murky water hole surrounded by a delicious display of fellow residents of his African plain. As a large elephant released a warning cry and the smaller animals scattered into the scrub, Ibu took little notice, just continued to the water’s edge where he lapped the muddy liquid as fast as his tired tongue allowed.
Under the watchful eye of the elephant matriarch and several nervous giraffes, Ibu went on his way, knowing that he would go hungry again tonight. He almost couldn’t believe his eyes when the next day he came across a deserted dik-dik fawn. This tiny antelope was something his family wouldn’t bother to harvest but for him it would provide the sustenance needed and was an easy catch.
He had skirted the territory of several of his kind and decided against approaching one group that was under the watchful eye of three strong, young males. Finally, after many days, he found his target. A small group of lionesses with two males one of whom looked old and weak. Here he had a chance, but he would observe quietly for a day and plan his attack.
As he lay in the bush a safe distance away, his ears twitched at the sound of approaching humans. They walked straight past his hiding spot, and he watched curiously as they hid behind a marula tree, held up one of their noisy sticks and pointed it at the old lion. Ibu almost ran when he saw the big cat roar in pain, then collapse, causing the rest of his family to scatter.
The humans then lifted their prize and carried him to a tree. Ibu watched as they placed something around the lion’s neck then around the tree. Leaving him there, they left, returning the way they had come. Just as Ibu decided to approach and see if his intended target was indeed already dead, he stirred. This confused Ibu so he remained hidden, only to hear the humans return. This time, amongst the many with dark skins, there was a pale, odd looking one with a long scraggly mane the shade of the desert sand, and on its head a splash of the colour of the dusk sky. He watched as the big cat staggered to his feet, then dropped again, apparently unable to run. The red-tipped apparition crouched and pointed its death stick at the old lion. Bang! Ibu flinched as he heard the humans let out strange screams and run to surround the now motionless, bleeding animal. They each took a turn holding his head up by the ears while one of them stood at a distance holding a black object that made strange clicking sounds. After a time, the black skinned humans lifted their prey and took him away, followed by the pale haired monster who chattered like a baboon.
Strange as the whole thing was to Ibu, he understood that the family of lions now only had one male and the lionesses would welcome a healthy young addition like himself. It would be easy to establish himself as the alpha. He set off confidently to go and claim his pride.

© Tropical Writers Inc 2024

Website created by RJ New Designs