by Carleton Raisbeck (October 2018)
Soon after the heavy rains had fallen, the sun blowtorched the cracked clay of the African plains. Leroy, the hungry old lion, was looking for food when he spotted a lone hyena, grooming herself under a barren tree where a rainbow’s end was gradually fading. Leroy quickly pounced on the hyena.
“Please, please, don’t eat me!” cried the hyena. “I’ve just lost my babies when another hungry lion ate them all,” she lied.
Leroy slowly stood back. “What about me?” he said. “I haven’t eaten all day.”
But the hyena kept on crying. “You broke my leg when you pounced on me just now and I may never hunt again. Don’t you have any compassion? Well, don’t you?”
This made Leroy guilty and sad. So, he promised he’d bring her food and water every day till her leg got better. As the days rolled on, the hyena started to demand more than food.
“Get me a bed made of straw,” she demanded.
Leroy quickly ran off to find straw in the bush to make her a bed. When he returned, the Hyena shouted, “Find me a wooden trough for me to bathe in!”
Leroy ran off again to look for a chunk of fallen tree that might serve as a trough. When he arrived back, the hyena was impressed: “It’s a good trough,” she said, “But how will I dry and see myself after bathing? Get me a mirror and towel,” she ordered Leroy.
“But where in the wild will I find a mirror and towel?” asked Leroy.
“Take them from a safari Jeep,” said the hyena, “there’s bound to be one parked somewhere on the plains.”
“Stealing is a sin,” said Leroy.
“Don’t be silly,” said the hyena, “animals don’t steal, they take, now go quickly and show some compassion!”
Leroy went looking for a jeep and found one parked near a bush with a family inside. He creeped up and broke off the wing mirror and stole a towel from the roof-rack, then he ran off, while the driver and passengers froze with fear.
When he arrived back at the tree, the hyena was sitting back eating some bird wings. Leroy wondered how she got the wings but was too old and tired to challenge the hyena, so he left and didn’t return again. The hyena grew impatient. She got out of her bed and went looking for him.
Behind a bush, she saw an injured Leroy lying down being stalked by another hyena. Both hyenas looked at each other, then they pounced on Leroy and devoured him.
After the feast, another huge lion burst through the rushes.
“Please, please, don’t eat us; I have a broken leg and my friend is blind; please, please help us and show some compassion!” the hyena cried.
This made the lion guilty and sad. “Don’t worry,” he said, “I’ll get you food,” and he ran off to look for scraps for them both. When the lion was out of sight, the two hyenas started laughing hysterically. But the lion could hear their laughter in the distance. Furious and feeling like a fool, he turned around and walked slowly back to rushes. The laughter suddenly stopped and they ran into the bush, followed by the lion who roared with the top of his voice. The hyenas were never seen again.
Carleton Raisbeck is a writer. Living in Weymouth, he has attended Budmouth Technology College, Budmouth Sixth Form and, now, years later, is studying Arts and Humanities with the Open University. He has worked as a health care assistant, a waiter, an office assistant, a door-to-door salesman, a cleaner, a factory operative, a labourer, and a catering assistant. He also plays guitar, piano, and bass.
Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast