Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Curiosity Killed the Cat (10/10/13)
TITLE: Old Customs Die Hard
By Pauline Carruthers
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He emerged stealthily from the lush green undergrowth and stood on the overgrown path, heavy paws splayed in defiance, anchoring him to the ground. Caramel coloured eyes under rich golden mane fixed in a feline stare. A livid scar ran down one flank. Facing him, the warrior, whose name when translated becomes Little Lion, stood poised, spear raised. Chocolate brown eyes focused and fearless. Bronzed lithe muscles tensed. The caramel eyes flickered, recognising the one who had inflicted the scar. His mouth widened, displaying powerful white teeth as tail slung low he retreated back into the undergrowth.
Little Lion entered the village, his prey slung from a carrier pole fixed across his strong back. He never returned to the village without provision. Striding past the villagers he determined not to acknowledge the welcoming smiles on the pale faces, though they had been visiting the village for many years. He desperately longed to sit with the tribe, to know what was being discussed, but he maintained a straight course to his hut, made his fire and cooked his meat, one ear trained, on the off chance that voices would be raised enough to span the distance. The one thing he feared was change. And there had been many changes in the village since the pale visitors had first arrived.
He could hear the pale faced people speaking his tribal language, learned over the many years. Over time there had been new and unfamiliar words spoken, mostly associated with strange objects brought by the outsiders. There was laughter, delight and a sense of excitement over what appeared to Little Lion to be nothing more than a solid object. He began to clear the ground around his hut, keen eyes and ears alerted to the sights and sounds that fired his imagination and quest for the knowledge brought by the pale people.
Dusk began to creep around the village, bringing a glorious crimson sunset tinged with an aura of gold. The sky darkened, stars appeared and the night creatures began their familiar chorus of melodious sounds. Little Lion lay on his rush mat listening to the night, unable to sleep, intriguing thoughts of the new object trailing through his mind. When his longing became irresistible he rose and crept stealthily to the place where the object lay, outside a half constructed shell. He held it in his hands, backwards and forwards, inadvertently turning the unfamiliar handle. From somewhere inside came the tribal language he knew so well. Strange new words assailed his ears as trembling hands dropped the object like a hot ember from the fire. His finely tuned body slipped effortlessly into the undergrowth, emerging silently beside his hut. The feeling that his own voice had been captured within the strange object aroused fears of old tribal retributions.
The light of a new dawn gently caressed his cheek as it seeped through the flimsy covering of his grass hut. The pale faced people were already greeting the day with what sounded like the chants of his old ancestors. Yet there were no frenzied voices, no repetitive, mind entrancing drum beat. The tribe gathered around them, rich bass melodies blending with the lighter lilting voices of the pale visitors. He recognised joyful sounds from the previous night and the need to know became more insistent. Every fibre in his body, every channel in his mind, strained against his longing to anchor himself to the old customs and prejudices. But the acutely inquisitive side of his nature became a powerful force, compelling him across the village, until he was standing amongst the tribe, tuned to the words that had caused the previous nightís sleeplessness.
The new and successful way of planting and harvesting, the unexplainable source of clean water in the centre of the village, the change in his peopleís attitudes, all witnessed to his spirit that he could no longer deny the truth. His cold warrior heart was melting in his desperate need to learn the secrets and experience the freedom and joy in knowing this Jesus.
That day, as the silvery noonday sun rested in an azure blue cloudless sky, Little Lion died, born again as Lion Heart. Old customs surrendered to the love of Jesus, his Saviour. And by the evening, as the world turned on its axis and the sun began to hide among the dark clouds of approaching night, Lion Heartís rich baritone voice echoed through the darkness, piercing the air with thankful praise.
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