Her breasts were full. She felt them again, admiring the way they filled her hands, squishy and soft like pure water bags. They felt so comforting. She closed her eyes and squeezed some more, kneading the soft mounds to ease the pain. How wonderful nature was, bringing comfort to both mother and child. Ah, yes, child. She sighed, and looked at the litter of lions scattered around, mewing softly for her attention. Soon they’ll smell the milk and come rushing, and the weaker ones who wouldn’t be able to reach her first would just have to wait for the second round. They wouldn’t like it, but then it was nothing she could help; she simply could not produce enough breast milk for fourteen ravenous baby lions to feed at once. She sighed as she sat, and then picked up the youngest cub and nudged her engorged nipple into its mouth. It latched on and she leaned in, enjoying the sound of its suckling.
He watched her from afar, his Inamorata. He had watched her for ages, sat on the hill and watched, her beauty serenading his sights. Like a lantern that could not be hid under a bowl, her beauty shone through the woods and streams of the village, blinding the young women with jealousy and young men with lust. They had sent her away, those jealous wives, far away into the Forest of Bones, for that was all that remained of anyone who ventured there. He had cried from the injustice of it all, and was even more saddened seeing that none of the elders were ready to intervene, fearing the wrath of their wives and daughters. So he packed his prized possessions, and followed the path that his Light touched, and he had watched her ever since, with hopes of righting the wrong that was meted out to her and bring her back home, God willing, as his wife.
He smiled now, how time had passed, how naïve he had been. It had seemed so simple, and probably would have been, if he hadn’t discovered on his journey the real reason the forest was named Bones. He had stepped into a clearing that day, and was delighted to see the sun rays reflect on the radiant skin of the object of his desire. The light danced on her, the sun itself taking its time to admire her beauty. Her long, jet black hair was flowing quietly, the wind slightly teasing it, as if delighting in its silkiness. She stood so still, her eyes mirroring the look of unrippled water, calm…wary. There was something unnatural about her stillness, for even the air seemed to have infected it. The trees said not a word, their leaves remaining unruffled. A shadow passed suddenly, and he looked up, wondering what had interrupted the rays, only to see a vulture perch on a nearby branch. He frowned as another followed suit. His eyes swept across the plain, wondering where they had come from, and fell on golden mane of a crouching lion. No, two…and his eyes widened as he realized that surrounding them both, were lots of hungry lions. It wasn’t a pack, or a family, no, far from it. There were at least forty lions present…and more seemed to be pulling in. He stood, frozen in his spot, stunned but alert. His head had not caught on the paralysis of his heart; he knew he had to get his Inamorata out of here. He watched the lions approach, and all his rational thoughts melted into dismay as the closest lioness to them suddenly sprang out from her crouched position, aiming straight for Her throat. He sprang immediately, but his reflex died as he witnessed the strangest scene in his life.
A male lion emerged from nowhere and roared sharply and menacingly, stopping the lioness in her tracks. He came forward, majestically calm, and walked to Her side. She didn’t move, still maintaining her still stance. For what seemed like a day they stood, face to face, appraising each other. Even the air was still, as no one dared to disrupt it by breathing. Finally, She moved. She raised her hand and tentatively touched the mane of the lion. He didn’t flinch, so she got braver, and moved closer to get a better feel of it. The lion purred softly, enjoying her caresses. She fell to her knees, in relief perhaps, and buried her face in his mane. The lion remained still, and they assumed that position for what seemed like an eternity. Nobody noticed the vultures flying away, silently fuming at this waste of their efforts, too hungry to partake in the mystery unfolding below them. Finally, She rose, and the lion purred again. It moved around her, in its slow, majestic manner, lowering his head and shaking its mane vigorously as if in appreciation of her heart stopping beauty. It was as though all off nature got the cue, for softly, the birds started to chirp, and a soft breeze gently blew past his palms, which he realized, were wet from sweat.
His realization was rudely cut short as a flash of tan whizzed past his sight, and he looked in time to see the lioness who had attacked earlier, launch herself at the male, only to be stopped short by a sharp blow, very much like a slap, from his paws. She crumbled down to the ground, whimpering. She had lost her husband to this resplendent daughter of Eve. The lion turned around, bowed at the feet of his inamorata, and started walking away from her; into the crowd of lions. She followed suit. The lions too, albeit keeping a respectful distance between the King and his bride. He remained where he was, still unnoticed, held wisely there by an knowledge that he would not be given the special treatment that his Ella was receiving. He waited till they were out of sight, and then trailed their movements, and he watched as the lion established Her in her own cove, elevated from all other feline folk. Then and only then, did he rest his weary bones on the top of the hill in the Forest of Bones, folded his wily, tired body, and closed his eyes to sleep. As his eyes drifted shut, he vowed that he would get her out of there, come rain, come sunshine, lions or bears, and God willing ,he would make her his wife.