By: Pratya Three words:Lion, monkey, forest Word-giver:Rehan
“Look, Lizzie” sighed Mrs.Andrews, setting her cup down on the table. “I know this is hard for you, but we have to give Tiger away”.
“Mom, why?” protested Lizzie angrily. “He’s such a sweet cat and we’ve had him ever since he was a little kitten.”
Mrs.Andrews raised her eyebrows. “A ‘sweet’ cat who tore my curtains, spilt milk on the carpet, and ransacked the fridge!”
Lizzie couldn’t help but let out a giggle. Well, it had been funny when she saw her mother’s horrified expression when Tiger attacked all the food in the fridge!
Mrs.Andrews just sighed and shook her head at her 10 year old daughter. Just then, the doorbell rang and Mrs.Andrews got up to answer the door.
“Who is it, mom?” asked Lizzie, following her. Standing at the doorway was a man. He was quite young with closely cropped red hair and glasses.
Lizzie looked at her mom inquiringly.
“Lizzie,” said her mom taking a deep breath. “This is Mr.Tyler and he’s going to buy Tiger.”
Lizzie stared at her mom. ”No way!” she screamed, stamping her foot and not caring who was watching her. “I’m not leaving Tiger with this man!” “Never!”.
“Lizzie” said Mrs.Andrews, exasperated. “Go and get Tiger”. “Now”. She shot her daughter a warning glance.
Lizzie glared back stubbornly. “No”. She barged past Mr.Tyler and ran outside, sobbing loudly. She could hear her mother calling after her, but didn’t care. All that mattered now was her beloved cat.
Her beloved cat which was going to be given away. Lizzie sniffled and ran in the direction of the woods. The woods were the only place that could comfort her. Something about that dark deep feeling in the forest always made Lizzie feel good after she had flown into one of her usual rages. She usually came with Tiger. No one else. Lizzie wasn’t the type of person who liked to make friends with people.
But it wasn’t like people liked her that much either. Lizzie wiped the tears from her cheek and sat down in her favourite part of the jungle. Under the banyan tree.
She rested her head in her knees, crying. Suddenly she heard a noise. It was a soft growl. Lizzie jumped and looked around.
Standing right in front of her and looking up at her with big brown eyes was a lion cub. And it was the cutest thing she had ever seen.
Lizzie couldn’t help it, she reached out to pet it not caring if it was tame or not. “Where’d you come from, little one?”
The cub just nuzzled her hand in reply. “Aww”. Lizzie picked up the cub and cuddled it. “You’re tame”.
She looked around with the cub in her lap, wondering if he was someone’s pet or had run away from a circus or something. “I guess I’ll take him home and see what I’ll do with him, I don’t want to leave him in the wild all alone,” she thought as she she looked at the little cub purring on her lap.
“Okay c’mon little one, I’m taking you home”. She picked it up and set off in the direction towards her house. She reached and almost rang the doorbell when a thought hit her. What would her parents say? They’d just given away a cat and Lizzie had come back with even worse - a lion cub?! Lizzie thought about leaving the cub back in the wild but she didn’t have the heart too. Plus, the cub had become quite attached to her and was playing around in her arms and tangling up its paws in Lizzie’s shoulder length brown curly hair. Lizzie set it down, wondering what to do with it. Then, she caught glimpse of the small shed behind her house and had a brilliant idea. Lizzie took the cub to the shed. The shed was messy and dusty as no one really used it and didn’t bother to clean it. There were a few rugs, empty bottles and some of Lizzie’s supplies. Lizzie looked around and then set to work. She grabbed an old broom and swept through the whole shed while the cub sat and watched her, licking her feet now and then. After sometime she had made it a perfect habitat for the lion. All the unnecessary stuff had been removed and she had kept a bowl and a few rugs for it to sleep on. “There, all done” said Lizzie as she stepped back to admire her work. Then she knelt down and looked at the cub. “Hmm, what should I name you?” “How about.. Leo?” The lion licked her hand in response and that’s when the name stuck. Leo the lion cub.
Days passed by and the lion and its little mistress grew even more fond of each other. Lizzie’s parents didn’t find out about their daughter’s pet. The girl would usually take something from the fridge or buy it with her own pocket money to feed Leo every morning and evening. And then the day came. The day that Leo ran away. Lizzie had just entered the shed when she realised Leo was missing. The girl panicked, wondering what had happened to him. “Leo” she called. “Leo where are you boy, Lizzie’s here!” Her mom heard her and grew a bit suspicious. “Lizzie who is that you’re talking to, and why are you near the old shed?” Lizzie stopped dead in her tracks and turned around to face her mother. Fortunately, she was good at making up stuff. “Leo, mom”. “Leo’s my imaginary cat ever since someone gave Tiger away”. Her mom bought the act and just rolled her eyes and went back inside the house. Lizzie sighed with relief and then continued looking for her lion. “Leo!” “Come here!”
No Leo came. “No” murmured Lizzie. “This can’t be happening”. “Why would Leo leave me?” “Even though I looked after him since he was a baby when I found him in the forest and-“
“Of course,” yelped Lizzie. “The forest!” “He must be there!” She ran towards the forest, calling out for her lion. “Leo, leo!” “Come here!” shouted Lizzie.
“Leo, leo!” screeched a high-pitched voice. Lizzie jumped and whipped around to find a monkey looking at her with a mischievous smile on its face. Lizzie raised an eyebrow. “Um hi?”
The monkey stuck out its hand and Lizzie shook it, feeling stupid. “Uh I’m looking for a lion cub” she said. The monkey nodded and pointed to its right. “Are you sure?” asked Lizzie.
The monkey snorted and Lizzie could swear it had given her a look like, Per-lease. I know my own intelligence.
It motioned for her to follow him and she uncertainly obliged. The two went around looking for Leo with Lizzie calling his name now and then and the monkey repeating after her in its high-pitched monkey squeak. After five minutes of going around the jungle, the two came back to where they had started. “I thought you knew where Leo was” snapped Lizzie. The monkey looked at her with an innocent expression. “Don’t tell me you just lead me on a wild goose hunt!” Lizzie glared at the monkey in disbelief who was holding up his hands in surrender. Lizzie shook her head angrily and folded her arms across her chest. “Well the moral of this story is don’t ever listen to a monkey”. “Now go away!” she yelled at the monkey. “Go on!” “Shoo! Scat!”
The monkey gave her a sad look and then slowly turned away holding his head down in shame as he trudged in the opposite direction.
Lizzie turned around and continued looking for her cub. By now, she was worried. What if Leo wasn’t in this forest or even worse- killed by a hunter?!
The little cub was too innocent and had been brought up domesticated. If he was dead because a wild animal or hunter had killed him then it would be Lizzie’s fault. She should never have taken him to her house in the first place. He was a lion. The forest was his home. But on the other hand he had seemed so lonely and abandoned that day that she couldn’t help it. “Oh Leo, where are you?” thought Lizzie, scanning the area. Then a soft familiar whimper came from above. “Leo!” exclaimed Lizzie. She looked up. Leo was on a really tall pine tree, curled up, scared. He had managed to climb it but was too scared to come down. She could also tell that he was stuck.
“Don’t worry boy, I’m coming”. She started climbing the tree but gave up soon as it barely had any branches. “Should have brought a rope”, Lizzie murmured to herself.
She thought about running back to her house to fetch one but didn’t want to leave Leo alone. Suddenly Lizzie heard a girl’s voice. “Charlie!” “Charlie, where are you?”
She turned around and found a girl. The girl looked like she was about Lizzie’s age with long blonde hair and blue eyes. She seemed to be looking for something. “Hey” said Lizzie. “Who are you looking for?” The girl jumped. “Oh hi sorry” she said. “I was just looking for my monkey, Charlie. The naughty thing ran away!” “Yup, there he is!” The monkey which had “helped” Lizzie earlier came bounding up to his mistress. “There you are, bad boy!” The girl picked up Charlie who cuddled in her arms. “So that’s your monkey” said Lizzie coldly eyeing Charlie. The girl raised an eyebrow. “Yeah, I sense some tension, what did he do?”
Lizzie explained to her what had happened and the girl paused at the end, widening her eyes. “So you keep a lion as a pet?!”
“Don’t ask,” said Lizzie. “So what’s your name?”
“Riley”, said the girl. “You?”
“I’m Lizzie” Lizzie replied.
“So, your um lion’s up there, right?” asked Riley pointing in the direction of the tree.
Lizzie nodded. “Are you good at climbing trees or something?” she asked hopefully.
“Nope” said Riley. “Charlie is though”. She set the monkey on the ground. “Charlie, I want you to climb up that tree and rescue Leo, okay?”
Charlie listened and began to climb that tree. “Are you sure he’ll be able to get Leo?” asked Lizzie anxiously.
“If Charlie can’t, nobody can,” replied Riley defiantly. “He’s a circus monkey, Lizzie”.
Lizzie took a liking to the girl and admired her. Unlike herself, Riley was open, friendly and more of a people person.
A few seconds later Charlie was back on the ground with Leo in his arms. The girls laughed at the sight. Lizzie picked up Leo and buried her face in his soft fur. “Oh Leo..!”
Leo purred in her arms. Lizzie looked at Riley and Charlie. “How can I ever thank you guys?” Charlie gave a small bow making Lizzie giggle. Riley looked at the lion cub in Lizzie’s arms. “So how did you get Leo, Liz?” “I mean my parents would totally not let me keep a lion in the house!”
Lizzie laughed and told her the whole story of how they’d given Tiger away and how she found Leo in the forest.
Riley listened to her story and whistled a bit at the end. “Wow, so you’ve raised a lion cub and kept him at home without anyone noticing?” “That is really cool, Liz!”
Lizzie smirked. “Not cooler then a monkey riding a lion cub!”
Riley looked down and saw Charlie sitting on Leo as if he were a horse and Leo trying to push him off. She laughed. “Totally true!”
The girls talked and joked for a while until Riley had to leave. “See ya Lizzie, it was really fun meeting you!” Riley said. She whistled to Charlie who followed her immediately.
Lizzie smiled and waved after her. It felt good to have a friend. “C’mon Leo, let’s go home”. She picked up the lion cub and head back to her house.
“Well that was quite an adventure, right?” she said as she set Leo down in the shed. Leo walked around and settled down on his rug. “But I guess I will have to return you to the wild some day” she said mournfully. Leo licked her as if to say “don’t worry little girl, I’ll stay with you”. Lizzie smiled and walked back inside the house where her parents were waiting for her with serious expressions on their faces. Uh oh. Lizzie gulped. Had they figured out about Leo?
“Look Lizzie” said Mr.Andrews. “We are very sorry about giving Tiger away and want to make up for it”.
Mrs.Andrews nodded grimly. “We were wondering if you wanted a pet”.
Lizzie stared at her mom. “You mean another cat?”
Mrs.Andrews shook her head. “A rabbit”.
Lizzie thought about this. It would be cute to have a little bunny but she couldn’t trust Leo with it. “No thank you, mom”.
Mr.Andrews raised an eyebrow. “Why?”
Lizzie just shrugged and went upstairs. She could hear her parents talking from below.
“We need to repaint this box, Allie”, said her dad.
“Sure” replied Mrs.Andrews. “I’ll fetch the paint cans from the old shed”.
Lizzie froze. The shed! That’s where Leo was!
But she couldn’t just run downstairs and stop her mom. “The game’s up, I guess”, thought Lizzie. She might as well as enjoy her mother’s reaction!
Lizzie peered out of her window and saw her mom opening the shed door. She held her breath.
Her mom screamed and Lizzie almost fell out of the bed laughing. She could imagine Leo staring up at her mom with big brown eyes and her mom staring right back down at him.
“LIZZIE!” hollered Mrs.Andrews, from below. “WHY ON EARTH IS THERE A LION CUB IN THE SHED?”
Lizzie laughed so much that her stomach started to hurt. Choking with laughter, she ran to the top of the stairs and saw her father freeze.
“Wait”, said Mr.Andrews, pausing for a moment, as he reached for a glass of water. “There’s a WHAT in the shed?!”