As the gentle, yet imperial rays of the sun caressed the majestic coat of gold that is my body, I awoke, in a growl that shook the earth. It was one that sent shivers down spines, for I, the king of all, have recovered from my slumber to conquer the land. My fur, as if to return the compliment from the sun, reflects that glimmer of light back into the everlasting wilderness beyond the shores of the land. I rose, feet firmly stemmed to the hardened, splintered soil, amidst the dried up blades of the grasses. I had to look courtly, for I am the king of the land. A glance across the arid land, I had undoubtedly one magnificent sight before me. The elephants, with their trunks high up in the air, as if to declare a state of independence. For freedom we stand. For life, is utopia.
My cousins, the cheetahs are up bright and early, with such inconceivable speed, a flash of lightning would have felt minute comparatively. They roam free in the invisible boundary of their own, confined within their own little space that they happen to call home. For alacrity we stand. For life, is utopia.
My preys, the zebras, try as they might, could never escape the gleam that only a king possesses in his eyes, the same gleam that captures one and all movements that try so hard to weave their way out of my boundaries. Their striped fur blends with the shadows of the glass blades, caused none other by the beams of the morning sun, right in the middle of nowhere. Fear was written all over their faces, for they knew of what lurked beyond the corners of every object. But life goes on for them, all is but a daily struggle for survival. Meanwhile, enjoying the gift that is life, is all that is sufficient to the zebras. For vigilance we stand. For life, is utopia.
My queen, the pinnacle of my life, the supporting pillar that never failed to stand by me through thick and thin, through rain or shine, through it all. She stood lying on the ground, stroking the manes that flourished around my neck. She looked on with incredible amount of attention, eyeing any danger that might be posed to our cubs. She glanced on, laughter in heart, unrestrained joy hidden by that stern motherly face which masks every feeling for the purpose of grooming our future, our little young. For love we stand. For life, is utopia.
Bobbling right before me are the reason of my being here, the reasons for my hanging on, for they are my future. My cubs, all three of which I pride myself on. Playful as they may be, insouciant as they appear, they represent hope that shines beyond the land, the continuity of stability and peace in our world. Anywhere outside the realms of our land is of futility to us. For carefree we stand. For life, is utopia.
The afternoon sun glared right into the faces of all who roam, pearls of sweat trickled profusely on those who perceived themselves as easy prey. For I, the king of the land, am hungry, yes, lunch was yet another bout of hunting, another bout of fear. In the shades, concealed by the silhouette of the tall grasses, I lay in silence, waiting for my prey to offer itself upon me. A sparkle in my eyes signified the beginning of a race; the race that would prove to cost a life, but would be one that would satisfy their lord. So, as the injured antelope staggered its way in search of its family and blood trickled down its resplendent fur, it looked in pain to me, it looked just perfect. One swift movement, a giant leap, an exasperating moment, and that was it, the antelope fell in a solitary sweep. I ripped off the skin just as I did with every other prey, the same manner as when I ambushed it. There, another success, another day of my life. For nature we stand. For life, is utopia.
The rosy sun began to lose its luster, night was approaching, another high time for stalking of more preys. In the distance, some noises brew, noises unlike any I have heard. My cubs snuggled beneath my queen, obviously perturbed by the strange, foreign sounds. Vroom, vroom, vroom, it went, only each time, it was louder, it was so uncanny right in the area of my sovereignty, even I admitted feeling a tinge of fear, a tinge of agitation, a tinge so eerie, a tinge I never knew existed within me. Then it was all coming back to me, that familiar sounds of terror were not unheard of to me. Yes, indeed, I was three, it came, it shot, it left, and I, had become an orphan since. For life, is struggle. For panic has struck.
The vague outlines of a vehicle, reminiscence of the one from my childhood, was now more than visible, it was now clear, two men were aboard. Man, the cause of suffering, the face that dares. Bang! The sound rang round the area in thundering pulses. A scream was heard, that scream, all too accustomed, it was… My queen! Now if only I stayed with my family, none of this would have happened. That scream was sudden and in such agony everybody else froze. My heart felt a sharp pierce, a feeling so terrible, I let a hideous growl, torment devoured my hysteria. I took to my paws, sprang right up, charging straight towards the jeep. No one dared stood in my path, I was a missile heading towards mass destruction, a mission whereby annihilation of the enemy was but necessity and self sacrifice was not an option, merely another way of completing the mission. There, in the outskirts, I can see them pick up my queen and fending off my cubs. For life, is torture. For cruelty has struck.
"Hang on!", I can hear the words linger in my breath. I had to get there, it seemed impossible, but I just had to, never would I give up on them. With leaps I never knew I was capable of, I found myself within earshot of the poachers. Gathering inner strength for that one last lap, I gaped in horror as the jeep sped off into the horizon. I collapsed the minute I got to my unscathed cubs, they were now motherless, and I, felt a part of me die, the same part that opened up the moment I saw her. Now, my wobbly paws just lost it all, giving in to my haggard calves. For life, is excruciating. For farewell has struck.
That look on my queen’s face, I shall bring with me till my death. Her
face spoke of intense distress, she was but an easy prey for the predators.
She never failed to stand tall even as death stared her in the face. She
was still shielding her cubs in a breathtaking scramble with fate. I felt
useless, a ruler of the kingdom, yet, I could not even protect my own family.
I let off another round of snarls, only this time, much longer, much more
aching, in such intensity that could only come from experience, and an
excruciating one this was.