He stood at the same place his father stood. His eyes staring out at the open with the same fury he had that day when his father had lost his life.
He was only a year old then and his father had told him not to move when he stood next to him and asked him to remain steady. There was no one out there they thought and that no one would ever come in their way. “Of course” he had thought, after all who would stand in front of someone like his father, and even if they did, no one would stand a chance.
He stood there for quite some time. Looking out at the starry sky remembering his father’s last words. “Never lose hope son, now run my boy” he had said. And then he had heard people running towards him and ran with all his might, into the woods and had a narrow escape. He had not slept for days since then with the fear that haunted him. No one at his side, starving sometimes for two days in a row. His father had taught him how to hunt but he learnt and survived only to prove to no one.
He dreamt of his mother, Karla, almost every other night. She had died a similar death. Everyone around him seemed to want to kill him or catch him. He never saw another tiger like him after his father’s death.
He now was four years old and yet when he stood there, his heart paced like he could see his own son at his side and he was letting him live by sacrificing himself and letting his cub escape. Humans were not such good creatures he knew. They were only selfish and only worried for themselves, killing creatures so they could show their might.
He stood there with his face changing expressions every time he thought about all this. Wet eyes with the thought of his father and then his mother, then pain reminding him of all the times he stayed hungry and then fury back into his eyes when he thought about people who killed his family. He let all that go now. He was about to take a leap in time. He was about to discover what was beyond the point his father wanted them to cross. He has said that he heard roaring from the other side of the open patch which was a road he had to cross to get there. Roars that came at any time of those that were of his kind. He had never come back to this place since that day his father died. But the night before, he had made a lot of effort and paced as near as possible to discover what his father wanted to find when, he heard the same roars coming from the other side. It was like a star falling from the sky, a ray of light so to say. He had dreamt of a beautiful tigress much like his mother but only younger when he slept nearby to pass the night. He knew that there was something there because his father told him so. He said there were many animals, food he had called them and walked around the jungle telling him that hunting every animal was different because each of them was smarter than the other.
He gathered all his guts and made towards the open clean black patch of ground. One step, two steps with his ears trying to listen to every sound and his eyes looking at every corner while he moved effortlessly. He got comfortable with his slow pace and moved a bit faster. When he has passed a few meters, he heard a click in the woods and turn to see where the sound came from. At that instant, he saw something fly from the corner of his eyes. In no time, he was caught in a net and was pulled up in the air. He begged for mercy. He didn’t want to die. It was never supposed to be like this. He wanted to meet someone who was special and was on the other side of the road.
He howled and cried and tried with all his strength to break free but he just didn’t know how he could do that. His body could not manage to stand without any firm ground. He looked everywhere with eyes searching for his father, his mother, anyone who could help. But no one came. Time passed which left like half the day and yet the sun was bright. He didn’t know what could happen. He saw no sign of rescue after trying so hard and roaring for help.
Then he lay inside like a dead cat, waiting for the sun to fade away into darkness. But his eyes then fell of the other side of the black patch. What he saw made his eyes twinkle. He saw fresh tall trees and bird. He never knew how he could have missed it for so long. He stared at it for some time, imbalanced and tired of freeing himself.
Then suddenly, he felt his heart race because he felt like he was about to drop down and fall. His heart jumped and he dropped so suddenly and then without any warning he saw firm grounds a few inches from the face. He wanted to stand up and yet he could not. He saw humans and many footsteps. He roared at the sight of them. Humans surrounded him shouting and running with a stick near him. His eyes now were full of fear. He didn’t know what to do. He could see his father face now and the wound on the side of his father’s neck with blood gushing. He didn’t know what would happen to him. He remembered what his eyes saw before the fall and thought about it as heaven. A human came from the side and held an instrument and he heard a click and then a sound which faded as if he went deaf. He closed his eyes, humans looking at him in silence. He felt like heaven was never his.
He woke up with no sense in his body but his eyes were bright and awake with the sun’s rays hitting him like a gush of water like the fresh water at the nearby river he hunted in. He saw something his eyes could not believe. He was in a green and beautiful place. With no movement in his body he felt dead, he wanted to get up and felt like his soul would now leave his body behind him and run into the woods. Suddenly he heard a roar. He looked frantically everywhere. He felt his limps grow stronger. He saw from the corner of his eyes a familiar face. He thought so hard about who it was.
It was not his mother; in fact it was not anyone he ever knew. He stared at her. And then she came to him and licked his eyes and his face. He knew who she was instantly. He had found her. He stood slowly after a lot of effort, his eyes full of tears and pain in every part of his body. He didn’t know what had happened. He looked at her again and then he looked around. He saw green pastures with trees and birds and then he looked around and saw other animals all around some kind of a barrier. He however seemed to have company like all the other animals and has a space which was open like a hill. He stood and looked around and walked and then picked up pace but found a dead end. It seemed like he was on an island. Then he saw humans but smaller in size and making all the sounds. He thought they may be cubs like he was to his father and then there were others taller but pleasant and calm. He didn’t know where he was. He turned back and he knew that he didn’t have to care. He had found what he was looking for…