He strutted through the heart of the town. A little wind ruffled his mane. Head held high, wings flared only enough to look imposing, he looked like something heroic from a fairy tale.
As long as you ignored the blood spattered on his lion body and dripping from his thick paws.
That was the last image Teega had of the sphinx before she hid inside a barrel of pickles. She was still small enough to fit, but only barely. Mother once said if any of their kind came to hide there. They wouldn’t be able to smell her in there. She wasn’t sure where mother was now, but all the screaming had stopped. It wasn’t quiet, though. She could hear the sphinx out there, speaking a strange language she didn’t know.
There were other sphinx too. She’d seen them, but they were lesser cats. Smaller cats. Not a lion like him. Not a king.
Teega hugged her stripped knees to her chest. Mother said they might come for her. They’d never let a creature like her live. Humans would. Humans possessed empathy and mercy. Not his kind. Power was all they understood.
Someone opened the door to the storage room. Mother complained that the door should be oiled. Teega was glad they never found time to do it.
“Teega?” his voice called.
She clamped a hand over her mouth to keep from screaming.
Someone else said something to him but she didn’t understand. He replied.
Heavy footsteps moved close to her barrel, then slowly away. “Teega?” He barked out something in his language. Then his heavy footsteps left.
Her breathing and heart rate slowed. Were they leaving? Was she safe?
The top of the barrel was ripped open. The hand on her mouth was all that kept her from screaming.
A stripped face so much look her own looked down at her. He looked so human except for those large, feline ears. He stood there, top of the barrel in one paw, frozen.
Teega couldn’t move. Couldn’t breath. They found her.
Someone said something behind him. They both jumped. His free paw jammed down in the pickling juice and snagged the first pickle he found. He put on a smile and held the pickle up, saying something. The other let out a groan. The stripped one took a bite of the pickle, still smiling. He stayed like that for what felt like an hour, eating the pickle.
His head whipped back towards her. “Sh,” he whispered. “You stay in here. They find you, they use you to kill queen. You stay here, you safe half child.”
He slipped the top back on the barrel. She heard his footsteps leaving as he called out something.
She slipped as deep into the barrel as she could. Mother said they would come. Mother never said they would leave.
FFM Day 23 done using the word prompt "leonine (adj.) - of, relating to, suggestive of, or resembling a lion." It's a little late because I was tired and forgot to write yesterday (among forgetting other things). I don't really know what is going on in this, just that the sphinx have come looking for the half human, half sphinx child. Maybe someday I will expand this out, but not today.
What an intriguing world! I so love this part: Someone said something behind him. They both jumped. His free paw jammed down in the pickling juice and snagged the first pickle he found. He put on a smile and held the pickle up, saying something. The other let out a groan. The stripped one took a bite of the pickle, still smiling. He stayed like that for what felt like an hour, eating the pickle.