There is a saying amongst our kind “Luck betrays you only once, for the first and the last time”.
I thought I heard celebrations somewhere in the vicinity. Slowly as my senses started to give away my hearing faded too. I lay humbly upon the ground my eyes staring at death in its most concrete form.
A rustle among the leaves had made an otherwise fine day my last hours. I instantly knew something was amiss even though I could not see anything. Trust your instincts not your eyes.I remember my mother’s teachings, and let my instincts guide me. At once I had transformed from a majestic beast to a killing machine. I licked my parched lips and projected my claws outwards, my ears became alert and my eyes scanned the trees for the enemy hitherto unknown. I sniffed the air and detected a foreign scent, an unknown mix of fragrances registered in my mind. There was flesh but it was obscured by other things. You are the strongest of our tribe not because of your size but because of your will. Your will sets you apart from others. One day you will be the king. One day every living creature will tremble at your sight and awe at your majesty. You are destined for greatness, one day. My mother’s words had washed my brain like no other. One day greatness was to be mine. Wasting no time I started to train with a single minded focus to realize my destiny. And nearly two years after my birth I had bested my mother in every aspect.
Focus! Never lose track of your hunt! A second’s indiscretion might not give you a second chance.I tensed and waited for my unknown guest to make a move. This was my territory. I had held it together for seven years now. I had fought and defended my kingdom with everything in my control. I would do the same if need be today. I had achieved all that my mother had foretold and much more. I had earned the respect of the jungle. My instincts had been sharpened to the extremes and I let them take over my senses in the hunts. I had never met anyone with flesh and bones whom I could not take down.
Or so I thought.
All of a sudden I felt something hot hit me with a brutal force and bury itself deep in my fur. Two more followed in the same manner. One found my spine, the other found my heart. I fell. There was nothing I could do. My heart protested loudly and my I saw my blood trickle down. My fur was soaked and the pain had paralyzed my body. I pawed the ground in defiance and roared in pain. The same dirt that I had licked off myself over the years supported my dying frame. I saw my mother smiling at me, a sad yet proud smile. I had not known fear till then. And now I thought I did, for a fraction of a second, I felt a chill run down my spine and then the pain took over. Slowly killing movement of my limbs as it took over my senses.
It had been a day of firsts for me. For the first time I had seen my own blood. For the first time I had been unsuccessful in a hunt. For the first time my luck had betrayed me. My mother always taught me, there is a saying amongst our kind “Luck betrays you only once, for the first and the last time”.