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The Lion Hungers
Written by Paul Landis Delaune


    The lion hungers.  It has been long since he has eaten and he
hungers.  Standing beneath a shady tree, his gaze wanders around the
savanna, seeking some delicacy upon which he may feed himself.
Nothing.  He growls in frustration.  Closing his eyes, he hopes the pang
will vanish, but deep within him the hunger gnaws at his soul.  Again,
he growls.

     In the distance the grass grows tall and green.  That is where he
must venture.  Taking a few steps, he leaves the comfort of the shade
and the sun burns hot upon his head and back.  The heat only intensifies
his hunger and his displeasure becomes like a wraith haunting his
brain.  Within him another growl rumbles deep in his chest, but it dies
as a pitiful groan upon his hot breath.


     Without thought, his legs begin to silently carry him deeper into
the sun’s scorching heat in hopes of satisfying his belly’s bloody
thirst.  Entering the still grass, he loses himself in the lush green
foliage.  Moving cautiously, lest the surrounding thick grass reveal his
presence as he pushes his way through it, his ears and his nose search
the air for traces of prey.  Though his ears detect nothing, a myriad of
scents come to him, tantalizing his loins in anticipation of various
tasty treats that feed nearby.

     The grass begins to thin and crouching down he pauses to look
around.  Nearby a broad lake glistens in the sun and such are central to
the livelihood of the various herds that populate the area.  Slowly
glancing around, zebra, wildebeest and antelope fill his vision. Seeing
them, he again feels that deep yearning within him, as his eyes caress a
fine rump here, a juicy thigh there.  Oh, the delightful possibilities
that await him.

     Suddenly, the dark eyes of a fine wildebeest make contact with his
own.  She looks away and strolls off.  His lips roll back into a snarl
as saliva wets his tongue.  Long and sleek are her legs and well-rounded
the curves of her shoulder and rump.  Turning, again she makes
eye-contact and he realizes his choice has been made.

    Now the difficult part begins.  Approaching her is easy, but
catching her is another matter.  Again his hunger stirs deep within him,
spurring him on.  Slowly, cautiously, he begins to approach her as she
chews on some succulent sprouts.  As the lion draws near, again she
makes eye-contact, quickly looking away and becoming noticeably nervous.

     Preparing to spring, the lion crouches low as his muscles draw in
energy and his tail becomes taut.  Suddenly, he leaps toward the anxious
beast, his growl bellowing forth the  hunger that burns like a wild fire
within him.  Quickly she spins away, fleeing his mighty talons and
teeth.  After her he goes, scrambling to seize her.  Twisting and
turning they run—first one way, then another and still another.
Finally, she outdistances him and he hasn’t the speed to stay with her.
As his gaze searches the empty horizon, he realizes the others have sped
away, too.  Frustrated, he growls his displeasure over and over again.

     The lion hungers…