By Tiana Chan
“OK!! Here’s your final test!! If you pass, you can become a solitary hunter and have your own life!!” Mother chirped. This was a big day for the young cheetah. Graduation Day was something Sprinter had been looking forward to. And here he was, about to pass his final exam.
Sprinter leapt up on a termite mound, scanning the area. Excitement bubbled inside of him as a young gazelle caught his eye. He crouched down as low as he could, camouflaged with the dry grassland.
Every inch he crawled got him closer to passing his test. The gazelle became very cautious, and stood as still as a statue.
Sprinter took off, leaping off his feet. He used every ounce of energy in him. He sprinted faster than he had ever before, as his rudder tail followed behind.
The majestic cat sprinted as the baby gazelle made a sharp turn. Oh, very clever!! But I’m still going to catch you!! he thought. He followed the sharp turn, leaving the dust flying everywhere.
Almost there!! Sprinter used the all the strength left in him. He reached for the gazelle’s legs, grasping and clinging on to tiny prey.
As his prey slowed down, he thrust his head towards the neck. He bit down hard, suffocating the baby gazelle. Dust exploded into the air, and the moment was a blur.
I’ve done it!! My first prey!! I’ve passed the test!! Sprinter emerged from the dust, dragging his prey. He laid the prey in front of his mother, beaming broadly.
Mother gave a reassuring nod, and Sprinter devoured the dead carcass. Every bite tasted like victory. The taste of blood never felt like this. Gnawing the bones, he thought of the adventure before him.
Licking his lips for blood, he strolled away. He took one last glance at his mother, the place he grown up in all his childhood, and looked straight forward. He took a deep breath, walked forward, and left his home forever.
A Mysterious Visitor
OK, umm… What next?! Sprinter pondered. Most male cheetahs stay together in coalitions, with other males from the same litter. Sprinter doesn’t have any siblings. Life just just got a whole lot harder.
“RRRRROOOOOOAAAAAARRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Uhh… That SPOILED lion!!! What is he up to today?! Sprinter had grown up next to the territory of the Grassland Pride, and Pride, one male lion of the pride, ALWAYS annoyed him.
Mother had kept him well hidden the whole time, so Pride wouldn’t harm him. Pride didn’t know he even existed. And Sprinter must cross their territory to find a home.
Wait, why am I even worried?! Yes, I only weigh 78 pounds, and Pride weighs 340, but I can run way faster!! Sprinter marched forward boldly.
“RRRROOOOAAAARRRR!!!!!!!” Pride roared. The familiar sound never left Sprinter’s mind. After all, he grew up with it.
“RRROOOOAAAARRRR!!!!!!!!” This time it was a different roar. It didn’t sound like Pride’s. It was a sound he never heard before.
Sprinter perched on a nearby termite mound, looking towards where all the racket was coming from. Sprinter saw an outline of two cats, fighting.
Uhh… Not another fight!! Pride gets into a fight every other day!! Sprinter rolled his eyes and trotted over to get a better view.
The big, buff lion was indeed fighting. But it wasn’t with another lion. It was with a mysterious creature Sprinter had never seen before.
A thing almost the same size as Pride, with a shiny, smooth coat, crouched down low, trying to take down Pride. The striped animal had some familiar characteristics: a tail, whiskers, round little ears, and it just looked similar.
Both were backed down, snarling with every inch of movement. Pride took his move. His paw reached for the animal, but stopped in it’s tracks as the animal swiped at it. Pride roared ferociously.
The creature lunged for Pride, paw reaching for his body. With one swipe, and the war was over. Pride walked away, defeated.
Pride laid down in the shade under a tree, trying not to think about the pain in his chest. He licked his wound, trying to stop all the blood from pouring out.
His first defeat. Did that creature claim his land?! The sharp pain forced him to stop thinking. It was even painful to use his brain.
Shortly after he settled down, he drifted into a deep sleep. Sprinter cautiously crept up upon him.
So this is a lion. And what was that creature?! A monster like that that could take down Pride is a monster I wouldn’t want to meet!! Sprinter continued prowling through Pride’s territory.