Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Hunting

She called out, rather shouted at him. She yelled, she growled, she roared to stop him. She wanted to, but could not get up, for she was too weak to do so. He stopped for a moment and looked back. He could see her crying. She was in agony. The pain was increasing with each moment. The pain was getting unbearable. He looked at her one last time, turned back and jumped over the small rock and disappeared into the bushes.

He did not stop. He could not. For all the females in the pride were waiting for him. There was a new flock of zebras coming their way. This was their first chance to get a good hunt after last few weeks of draught. It cannot be ignored. He knew this. Even she knew this, but she wanted him to be by her, may be for the last time. Emotions do not matter at such situations – at least not for the King of the Jungle!

The lionesses moved slowly in the tall yellow dead grasses of the Kalahari, trying to single out an animal of their choice; probably the weakest one and the farthest one from the herd. They camouflaged themselves in the grassy fields and moved silently as if nothing is actually moving. The lion, the head of the pack went ahead swiftly and created his ambush behind the tall crag, away from the cirque. He sprawled in front lying low in the grass. He was the last thing a running animal will see when it nears him. The ambush was well planned and almost impeccable. Two of the females were ahead towards the right of the neck of the herd of zebras and one was in the last, following them. Two more were to the left following the herd as they single out the zebra which was almost at its full age and was limping a bit. Once in eight steps! That was enough for the lionesses to choose it for their meal. Probably a fracture in one of the hind limbs that might have occurred while crossing the vast grasslands; a small twist of the hoof was going to be the reason for his demise now. However, who has the time to think about these now? The lions were hungry. They were on a hunt – hunt for their food. A zebra is a mere meal to them.

The last of the lionesses started the chase. It just ran through the flock in random and bifurcated the whole flock into two. The zebras were all targets at this moment, and having nowhere to hide, they just ran wherever they could. The target zebra was in the left part of the scattered lot. A few moments later the lionesses in the right marched in; a soft march scattering the rest of the flock and covering the object towards the cliff, where the chief was waiting. They did not run into the zebras, they just walked in, saving their energy for the ultimate chase. The zebras were running for life, as the other two lionesses in the left were just following the target keeping their bloody eyes fixed at it. Moments later, they started chasing the zebras in front of them in full pace. The zebras did not know who exactly the target was; probably the target knew it, but could think only to run – run as fast and as far as possible! The lioness that started the chase slowed down and stopped chasing at one point in time. She started walking towards the meeting place – the cliff. As the last few zebras were nearing the cliff, it was time for the two lionesses at the right to maintain the chase. They came out of the grasses and started chasing the one target now. There were four lionesses running behind it now, and it had only one place to heed to – the cliff. That was exactly what the lions wanted and it concurred. It was running directly towards the target area. The four lionesses formed a ‘V’ pattern and chased the poor creature. The formation changed as two of the lionesses at the left slowed down as the zebra paced towards the cliff. It was almost near the perfect point, when the slouching lion jumped with a thunderous roar with paws ready to break the neck of his hunt. The zebra looked up one last time. It could see only two paws and some yellow skin. It breathed last moments after this.

The chase was successful. The hunt was successful. Now, the pack had a good serving for a week at least for all of them, even for the ailing lioness. The ailing lioness! He almost forgot about her amidst the heat of the hunt. She must be waiting for them – for him. He wasted no time. He jumped on the zebra. Jabbed his nails on the chest of the dying animal and cut it into half. He grabbed one part and tore away one of the limbs and took it in his mouth and stepped ahead. He looked back at the pack and everyone got his signal. They tore apart the carcass into pieces and took them in their mouths. The lion started running back to the den as everybody else followed. They ran, as fast as they could for they were failing to match his pace, leading in front. They were tired, they were hungry but they ran.

They reached the den in no time. He could see her lying there; with her eyes searching for him. As he came near, she tried to look up. She could not. He dropped the piece of meat in front of her and sat there. She could see him now. He was breathing heavily – she was breathing heavier! He could see her dying. He tried to smile, but could not. He could not have cried too – and he did not. He put one of his paws in between her paw and head. She rested her head on that. She smiled and closed her eyes. He rested his head on hers. The heavy breathing continued for a long time as he fell asleep in the same posture. The breathing stopped somewhere in between, he could not feel it. When he woke up, the other lionesses were sitting encircling them. He looked at their faces and it told him all. He looked around. The carcass laid there, same place. A few flies were hovering over the meat and a few more over the dead lioness.


  1. Tan, you went past instinct and survival on this one, and gave a very human meaning to the laws of the jungle ... Brava! I enjoyed this story.

    The circles of life is harsh indeed, but even among animals there is love and caring .. how could there not be, as we all have the same spirit inside us. Write on, dear young friend, write on!

  2. होली की हार्दिक शुभकामनायें

  3. Tan such a touching story, emotions and the duty of the lion king expressed so beautifully. the end made my eyes watery.. thank u..

  4. @ Amias

    You are right when you say that even animals have emotions in them ... I just wanted to depict a simple situation ... you know what? even this was taken from my daily life ... the way we lead a life here, amidts responsibilities and work-life balance ... it gets tough sometimes ...

    Well Amias, I would like to ask you to read this: Cats in Rain. I wrote this a couple of months ago ... If you have loved this story, then you should read that too ... please take some time in that ...

    @ Sahityika

    Happy Holi to you too :)

    @ Anonymous

    Duty is a big thing ... your comment was good ... it made me think about what Peter Parker's Uncle told him... Thanks for the comment ...

  5. Nice one! Enjoyable read :)

    Happy Holi!

  6. Tan I will read "cat in the rain" and get back to ya!

  7. Happy Holi Bhargav ... thanks for the visit ..

    Sure Amias, I will be waiting to see if you like it ...


Thanks for reading me and choosing to comment. Your comment always encourages me to write more and write sense. Keep visiting, whenever you can and comment on the posts. I will be more than eager to receive your comments and suggestions.

Warm Regards,
Tan :)

PS: Please visit my other blog: Thus Spake Tan!