Short Story: A Silenced Roar

Written as part of a Writer’s Plot challenge. First line written by Murray!

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A Silenced Roar

She climbed over the barrier, into the zoo’s lion display.

Roxy landed with a thud on the other side of the barrier. Her backpack was light and she slipped it off her shoulders. The lions were still napping, undisturbed; one on a large rock soaking up the sun, another in the shade of a tree. Her dark brown hair had fallen over her eyes, so she pushed it back over her ears. Roxy fumbled through her backpack to find her tools. She pulled two needles out and held them like weapons.

Two needles. Two lions. Perfect, she thought.

“What is she doing Mum?” a girl on the viewing platform tugged at her mother’s shirt.

“Uhh, I don’t quite know honey. She’s not wearing a zoo uniform. Maybe we should go get someone. Come on darling.”

The mother took her child away from the railing.

Great, thought Roxy. I have even less time than I planned.

Roxy crept forward towards the nearest lion. She arched her back and moved each foot carefully over the grass, avoiding anything that might make an unwanted sound. The lion’s golden chest lifted and fell. The lion was stretched out like a house cat. His tail remained still and his mane ruffled as he exhaled through his nostrils.

Now who’s a good kitty?

Roxy climbed onto the flat rock. She was right above the lion now. She prepped the needle. The clear liquid filled the needle’s chamber. Swiftly she plunged the needle into the lion’s backside. The lion roared and came to his feet. Roxy stumbled backwards and retreated slowly, still facing the lion. He turned to face her, teeth bared. He readied himself to pounce, his tail coiling. Roxy continued her retreat with the other needle in hand at the ready. The lion started dribbling, and his mouth filled with white foam. In seconds the lion’s legs gave way and with one last groan the massive creature collapsed onto the rock. Roxy wiped a tear from her eye.

The other lion, a female, lying under the shade of a tree was awake now and heading towards Roxy. The lioness noticed the crumpled lion on the rock, switched direction, and moved towards him. She nuzzled her partner’s face with her nose, trying to get him to stir. His face simply fell back against the rock. The lioness looked into the sky and roared an awful roar. She looked straight at Roxy who was now with her back against the three metre high barrier.

I probably should’ve thought this through a bit better.

The lion lowered herself to the ground and coiled her tail. Her eyes gleamed in the sunlight. Quickly Roxy turned and tried to get a foothold on the barrier. But the lion was on her. She dove out of the way as the lion charged at her. The lion stopped and snarled. Roxy ran back to the collapsed lion and held out the needle, waving it in the air like a sword. It wasn’t doing much to ward the lion off her. The lioness wouldn’t cross the deceased lion so Roxy walked around the corpse as the lioness followed.

“Lady, get down!” shouted a man dressed in green overalls at the entry gate. He waved a tranquilizer gun and with the other hand struggled with a key in the gate lock. Roxy stepped backwards off the rock and spat at the lion. She let herself fall onto her back. With that the lion sprang over the dead lion and attacked her. Roxy held out the needle and the lion smothered her. Razor sharp claws sliced at her arms, drawing blood. Pain shot through her body.

This is it, I’m going to die.

The lion stopped slashing and whimpered. Foam dripped from her mouth onto Roxy and she collapsed on top of her.

The gate door swung open. Roxy wedged herself out from underneath the heavy lion. The lion’s chin hit the ground and her eyes glazed over fixed in Roxy’s direction. Roxy grabbed her arm to stop the bleeding. It gushed through her fingers. She came to her feet and glared at the terrified zoo keeper and his tranquilizer gun. Roxy noticed something to the left of her; a tranquilizer dart stuck inside her shoulder. The lion den around her began to blur.

Now they’ll finally be free.

Roxy spun around and hit the dirt.

 

The End.

 

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