Like An Antelope

He could smell them coming, he could listen to their vain attempts not to step on branches in the undergrowth, he saw the birds leaving their treetop lookouts signaling danger. But he was old, he was tired, long had he reigned in these lands, but after all those years he felt his time had come and ignored them, hoping they would see he wanted to be vulnerable, hoping they would honor him with a quick death.

When he felt the broad-head arrow pierce his stomach he roared in pain, he did not think it would be like that, he knew this would be no quick death. The pain was too much, his instincts kicked in and he ran, towards the bushes, safety, he made it, barely. But he knew he was loosing blood. The pain was terrible. He coughed, more blood came out. He bit the piece of arrow sticking out his side off. One of his legs gave in and he crashed on the forest floor, but he could hear them shouting, closing in on him, playing dead would not help, these were humans and he knew they were literally after his head.

He got up and ran again, barely thinking straight, his paws finding footing on their own and his body throwing itself in the direction most suitable, over tree-trunks and rocks, down the river. Maybe he could lose them here, he found a large rock and collapsed in its shade.

The sun was setting, he felt bad, more terrible than ever before, fainting from time to time, breathing got harder and harder, blood filling his lungs, his stomach burning. He licked his belly like he did before, but he knew it would not help this time. He thought back to the day he caught his first antelope, it was a fight for the sagas he thought back then, for hours had they fought, eventually the antelope bled out and he was the proudest lion he knew. Later he had realized how foolish and sloppy that kill was and that the antelope had suffered terribly. After that he had set out to perfect his skills to kill efficiently. When he felt the arrow pierce his skin he knew what he had done to the antelope had come back to him, that he could not fight it, that this was how things were. He could hear them again, not far away, he did not have much time.

He thought of his children, without him they were defenseless and his rivals would kill and eat them before taking his wife as theirs. It made him sad, depressed. He looked at the setting sun, his eyes barely open, laying in a pool of its own blood, when they came around the corner of his new and last friend, a random rock in the middle of nowhere, offering him shade.

A loud banging noise erupted and he felt his chest caving in, warm blood spurted down his throat, breathing was impossible. His paws clawed forward on the sandy ground, trying to get away, but where, anywhere. Another loud bang and another painful feeling shattered his collarbone. Unable to move he lay there, slowly closing his eyes, gulping more blood, dying.

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