Once back in the house, Petra was mobbed by Ahanu and Haimati,
wanting to know whether she’d carried out the sentence on Simba.Petra,
still shaking from the enormity of what she’d been tasked to do, refused to
answer their questions, much to Ahanu’s disgust.
discuss any of it?”He asked.
“No,” Petra mewed, “do you think
I liked killing him?I know I did kill
him, but I can’t remember details.”
“I’ll bet she
wrung his neck,” Isaac said, padding near.
“Is that how it
was done?”Ahanu asked.Upset and tired, Petra brought her paw slamming down on
Ahanu’s, startling the cross bred cat.
talking about it, okay?”Petra snapped.
Keep your fur on!”Ahanu mewed.Petra’s
response to this was to slap Ahanu hard across his face.
ever, ever tell me to keep my fur on?”Petra snarled, “I deal
with this kind of effluent all the time, Simba’s crimes sully my mind and weigh
heavy on me.So don’t tell me to keep my
fur on Ahanu, for you have no idea what’s going on!”
“That was so
stupid Ahanu!”Haimati mewed.
“Not you as well!”Ahanu spat, “Petra’s on my case now, I don’t need you
“Oooh dear, one
angry kitty,” Bjorn scoffed.
“You can shut
up too!”Ahanu yelled, furious with the
bear cub, “you know nothing, nothing!”
“That makes two
of you then,” Petra
mewed.Ahanu stamped from the passage,
Haimati following.Petra felt dreadful, her head ached and her
paws felt heavier than usual.
“I’m all in,” Petra admitted.Duke hesitated, before asking:
“I wonder, could I?I mean, would you let me?I want to, oh dear!”Duke babbled, daisy glancing at him with mild
would be great,” Petra
“So I can stroke
your paws?”He asked hopefully.
“Yes,” Petra mewed, every part of every single
“Thank you,” he
“I know you’ve
wanted to stroke my paw for a long time,” she purred, “so now’s your chance.”
“Why does he get
special treatment?”Bjorn snapped, “We
never get to stroke your paws!Or is it
that you have a thing for duke?Bianca
is gonna be really impressed with that!”
“You have never
before asked if you can stroke my paws,” Petra
mewed, “and as for Bianca not liking Duke stroking my paws, she’ll
understand.Duke isn’t looking for cubs
with me, he just wants to stroke my paws, and right now, I’m up for it.”
Duke followed Petra
to her rug, alarmed at her paw dragging progress.It was as if her paw pads had become lead
weights, leading to the lioness dragging her paws rather than walking properly.
“I’m beaten,” Petra mewed, quite
literally collapsing onto the rug, duke catching her as she fell, supporting
her head, and gently resting it on the rug.
“I don’t like
this!”Petra mewed, now distressed, “I’ve never had
to do that before, Salty’s the one who usually does these things!What’s happening to me!My paws are heavy, I ache from my head to my
toes, and I’m feeling wretched!”
affects of the amnesia induced by eohippus so you don’t remember what you did
to Simba,” Theo mewed.
Duke said, “I know what Petra
“Don’t think of
that while you stroke her paws duke,” Theo warned, “for Petra will feel it.”Petra
lay as if lifeless, her paws too heavy to lift.She couldn’t even curl her toes, so tired was she?
me from this!”Petra wailed.Duke took fright at the lioness’s tone:
“She’s ill, not
just tired!”He mewed, now terrified.
own fear Duke,” Theo mewed, “concentrate on how you want Petra to feel when you’ve finished stroking
her paws.You must want to help Petra while you massage
her paws, or it won’t work.Think of her
playing with you, not with heavy, uncooperative paws, but with light, mobile
and agile paws.”
“My paws are
never agile,” Petra
“So what do I
“Take one of Petra’s
paws in both of yours and imagine what you want her to feel as you’re stroking
and massaging each of her paws,”Theo
mewed, “once she’s relaxed, you might be able to tickle her paws too, but don’t
force her into allowing you to do this.She might play games with you when she’s feeling better, but not
now.Take her left forepaw in yours and
start stroking it duke.”Duke took Petra’s massive left
forepaw in his, feeling how tense and exhausted she really was.The toes on all four of Petra’s paws had curled hard, her claws
nearly digging into her pads.Duke
couldn’t reach the fur between the pads of her paws, so bunched were her pads.
“I can’t deal
with this!”Duke mewed, “Petra’s as tense as a drum
skin!Her paws are clenched so hard her
claws are nearly digging into her pads!”
“Try your best
Duke,” Theo mewed.Duke lay down and
began to rub the pads of Petra’s
left forepaw with his right fore, using his toes to stroke the bunched
pads.Duke closed his eyes, imagining
the paw he was holding relaxing, the lioness’s toes uncurling and pads
relaxing.Petra panted with fear as she fought to
control whatever was going on in her head.
After ten minutes of stroking, duke was no further forward
with relaxing Petra’s
“I can’t do
it!”He growled, angry with
himself.Petra looked into Duke’s eyes, pleading with
him to help her.
“I thought it
would be simple!”Duke protested, “All I
wanted to do was stroke your paws Petra,
I didn’t want this!”
“Do you think
she wants to be where she is?”Theo
“Um, no,” duke
mewed, “but I’ve not got the knowledge to sort her out!”
“My paws are so
“I can’t cope
with this!”Duke yelled, trying to drop Petra’s paw, but he
“I can’t let go
of your paw Petra!”Duke yelled, “What the hell’s going on!”
“it’s up to you
to stroke her paws until she calms down,”Theo mewed, “you offered to help her, now make good on that offer.Duke began to sweat with fear.
“If I do anything wrong, I will be so
mumbled something which duke didn’t catch.
“What did you
“Just, just do
your best duke,” Petra
the impossible!”Duke whimpered, “I
can’t give this lioness back her strength!”
“But you must,”
Theo mewed, “she saved your life duke, giving her back a little of the strength
you have inside you is the least you can do for her.”Duke shook his head:
“I’m not strong!I have no strength, no power, nothing to give
“Now isn’t that
a pity,” Panja said, “for now it’s down to you duke to rescue Petra.She went through hell for you, and now you will not repay her selfless
actions?She saved your life white one,
and this is how you repay her!”
that!”Duke pleaded, “I know she did it
for me, but she also did it for others, surely they bear as much of the burden
as I do?”
“If you hadn’t
asked to stroke her paws, you wouldn’t be here now,” Panja replied, “now you
have to help her, where ordinarily it would have been Theo who helped Petra through this
time.Now it is down to you.Good luck, Petra’s life is in your paws duke, I hope you
don’t throw it away.”With that, the
snow leopard turned and walked away.
right?”Duke asked Theo, who stood a
little way off.
mewed, “usually I am the only one who will go near Petra when she’s had an experience like
this.Now though, you have, and have
taken my place.It’s down to you to find
the strength within yourself to help Petra
through this.The last time this sort of
thing happened, where Petra
was really tested, was when she was a young cub.Her foster mother poisoned her, and I helped
her through it.Now though, it’s down to
you to help her through this.”
understand all this stuff!”Duke mewed,
“surely, surely she’s got Eohippus on her side?Surely the white mare can help her?I can’t!”
“The white mare
helped Petra by
dulling her memory to the details of what she did to Simba while killing him,”
Theo said, “now it is down to you to help her through the trauma of going
against all her instincts.She didn’t
want to kill Simba, she was forced to.Now you have a white lioness that’s emotionally injured.You need to help her recover her belief in
herself, for she’s lost it totally.She
doesn’t believe she can rise from what she had to do.Petra
is a normal lioness with special tasks to perform while she’s on this earth,
tasks she will not be prepared for, such as the one she’s just undertaken.Now you have to help her duke, to find it in
you to restore her belief in herself.”
“I can’t do
this!”Duke mewed, “I can’t do any of
this!”Suddenly Petra’s right forepaw clamped round duke’s
paw, holding it with such desperate strength that the white tiger was moved to
“That was your
last strength wasn’t it Petra,”
he sniffed, “you’ve almost left us.”The
lioness just lay inert on the rug.
“I don’t want
you to die Petra!”Duke screamed.
“I can do
nothing,” Theo mewed softly, trying not to cry, “For it is how it should
be.The first to offer Eohippus’s
representative help after she’s carried out an arduous task must be the one to
help her through it all. They can’t refuse the journey after they’ve offered a
“Why didn’t Petra warn me of
this?”Duke mewed, “surely she knew what
killing Simba would do to her!”
she?”Theo asked, “Petra’s not Eohippus, Eohippus speaks through
should have warned me!”Duke snarled,
angry with Theo, “it’s all your fault!You knew!”
“I know yes,”
Theo mewed, “but before I could offer my paw to Petra, you’d already offered yours.I can’t take over from you duke, that’s not
how it’s done.”
“So it’s all
down to me to help Petra,”
that’s right,” Theo replied.
Duke looked at Petra,
his paws now free of hers.She looked
more dead than alive.
“I can’t let
her die, I won’t let her die!”Duke
thought.Taking Petra’s left forepaw in both of his; duke
rested his head on her shoulder.
“Petra, Petra dear, can you hear me?”The white tiger whispered, “I don’t know how
to help you, but I will try.”Petra made no move, no
signal to duke that she was hearing his words.
“I love you Petra,” Duke whispered,
not caring if he was overheard, “what you did was the right thing to do.You saved my life, and countless other lives
of which you have no knowledge.What was
that you said about you killing Simba being an act of love?Don’t you believe that any more?”
“Petra is like fleur,” Theo
mewed, “she can’t stand death.”
weren’t your words after all,” duke mewed to Petra, “nor were you in control of your
actions from the minute you walked out of the door to perform the execution, to
the time Simba was buried.Rolling over
and letting fleur have a go at you wasn’t natural behaviour, that was
Eohippus’s doing, making you roll over to make fleur think twice?You don’t understand it do you Petra.While you sounded certain, that wasn’t really
you that were someone else.The Petra we know is now
confused, shocked and horrified by what she has done.When tigers and other animals see you in
their dreams, they are seeing eohippus through you, not the real lioness who
lives in the white body with its black paw pads.In reality Petra, you’re a frightened cub, called to do
a duty you don’t understand.Theo
understands it, but he’s not the one performing the duties.He studies Eohippus, and has some insight
into the minds of others.You though,
you cannot study eohippus, for you are living with her as your guide.You are her mouth piece, her representative
on earth.It’s not for you to understand
why Simba had to die.If it was left up
to you, you wouldn’t have killed Simba, for you couldn’t have killed him.Eohippus chose you when she saw you had the
right characteristics for her purposes.A vegetarian lioness with white fur and black paw pads.Eohippus numbs your mind to the details of
Simba’s death, but cruelly leaves you with the job of working out why you did
what you did.Simba’s actions and his
death were not your fault, not your doing.You didn’t kill Simba, someone else did.The problem is, no matter how good the intentions this higher force had,
they have left a white lioness with a mess to clear up.The only snag with this is that you don’t’
understand how to begin clearing the mess up, for you can’t understand.You don’t remember what you have done after
eohippus speaks through you.You
remember speaking words, or the intention to do justice to Simba, but you don’t
remember the actual details, or know why you did what you did.Eohippus was in control of you from the time
Simba set paw in the wood.You might
have thought you’d told Raja to be careless, but it wasn’t you, it was someone
else telling him, through you.Petra, please, believe me,
all this trouble, it wasn’t your doing, you didn’t kill Simba!It was never your intention to kill him!”
Throughout duke’s speech, Petra’s paws had been relaxing bit by bit,
and when the tiger stopped speaking, she was quite relaxed.
faintly, “I don’t understand, it scares me duke!”Duke held Petra’s paws while she cried into his fur.
understand what you go through,” duke mewed, “I’d do anything to help you
now I know a little.Please, let me help
“I don’t want to
be the one who carries out death sentences on errant tigers,” Petra mewed, “I don’t mind helping out at a
difficult cubbing, but I suppose if I like helping at cubbings, I need to deal
with death too.I don’t understand what
happens to me when Eohippus gets hold of me, it’s a blank.Now though, I know it’s not my fault, it
isn’t any of my doing.I didn’t want to
kill Simba, but I had to.Eohippus must
have known fleur would think twice, if fleur hadn’t reconsidered, I wouldn’t be
here now.”Duke kissed Petra’s nose, the lioness purring with
misunderstood cub to another,” Petra
mewed, “Duke, I’ve been wanting for years to have someone explain the eohippus
thing to me.It took strength, courage,
and strong belief for you to tell me all that.”“I do believe in your innocence” duke
mewed, “you were the right lioness for the job, and eohippus chose you.”Petra
got to her paws, her eyes not leaving dukes.
“You’re not a
useless and unimportant cub,” Petra
mewed, “Duke, promise me something.Promise me, that from this day forth, you will walk with your head held
high.You are a good and kind
tiger.Another thing, remember this
always, if you need me, I’ll come to you.”Duke, his eyes full of tears, hugged Petra tenderly.
“I love you Petra!”Duke blurted.Petra
kissed duke on his nose.“Now
duke,” she mewed, “I must go.”Duke,
tears rolling down his nose, watched Petra
leave.Almost choking on his tears, duke
turned away, feeling strangely bereft.“I feel like Petra’s dead, not like she’s just gone to the
next room!”Duke thought, “Why do I feel
Daisy saw her brother’s expression and padded up to him:
“You promised me
you wouldn’t do this!”Daisy snapped, “Petra’s not your mate, she’s
Aslan’s!What will Bianca think?”Duke looked at his sister.
“Petra’s my friend, not my
mate,” he mewed, “I want to help her if I can.”Daisy turned away, not understanding duke at all.
“It’s all a
sham,” Daisy mewed, “Petra’s
just strange, there’s no such thing, and never was anything called Eohippus!”
“But there was,
and is!”Duke mewed, “she guides all of
us, you, me, Petra,
convince me,” Daisy said, “give me proof, then I will believe.”
“Talk to Leo,”
Theo mewed.Daisy went off to talk to
the huge lion.
Daisy found Leo in the bathroom, Fleur washing his
mane.When he saw her through the steam,
the huge lion was greatly embarrassed.
“Um, hi Daisy,”
he mewed.Daisy came straight to the
“You know we’ve
had a little difficulty,” she mewed, “with Simba n’all?”Leo nodded.
you could call it that,” he replied, “I understand Eohippus dealt with Simba
and all’s fine now.”
believe eohippus exists, it’s just a fairy tale for foals and cubs!”
believe,” Leo mewed, “but, when snowy fell dangerously ill, Theo told me to go
into the wood and see what I found there.There I found a white mare, as well as a lot of answers.I won’t go into details, for its very
private, but believe me Daisy, eohippus does exist.I know that for sure.”Daisy told Leo of the goings on between Petra and her brother.
“Poor Petra gets used by the
powers that be, and she can’t do a thing about it,” Leo confirmed.
“Tell me about Petra,” Daisy
demanded.Leo did, and at the conclusion
of his tale, Daisy was thoughtful.
to you, and to duke too, Petra
was chosen by eohippus to do her work on earth, and now will be saddled with
that job for ever more.”Leo nodded.
“Petra doesn’t understand
how it works,” he mewed, “and that’s the worst of it.”
Daisy said sighing deeply, “it must be dreadful for her.”
and duke padded towards the pool complex, Duke having run to Petra in desperation, pouring out his
feelings towards her.
“I’m sorry about
all this,” duke mewed, “I don’t mean to intrude.”Petra
“You weren’t to
know about the rules governing the work of eohippus,” she mewed, “I’m sorry you
got caught up in it.”
“I’m not sorry
now,” duke mewed, “for it brought me closer to you, and I’ve wanted that ever
since you were part of a dream I’d had,” Duke replied.
“The real Petra is not eohippus,” Petra warned.
“I know that,”
duke replied, “I want, want to get to know the real white lioness.Apparently you don’t think your paws are
“For a long
time I didn’t like them,” she confirmed, “now though, I like my paws.”
“Here we are,”
duke mewed, as the two big cats entered the pool complex.Padding along the passage, they soon stepped
into the bath pool.Settling down, duke
began to stroke Petra’s
paws like he’d wanted to do since early that morning.Petra
let him have access to all four of her paws, loving every minute of the white
tiger’s ministration, realising he believed totally in trying to help her.The intent to give pleasure was there, even
if he was a little clumsy sometimes.
“How would it be if we escaped from
here?”Petra mewed, “we could go to London, a big city not too
far from here and see what its like.”
“I feel I can
do anything when I’m with you,” duke mewed.Petra
tonight,” she proposed.
“Yes let’s do
that,” Duke mewed, feeling something he’d not felt before, a furious energy.
“Let’s not tell
the others where we are going though, or they’ll stop us,” duke said,
“Yeah,” Petra replied, “good idea.Though you’d better go about your normal
business until ,
then we meet up by the old oak in the wood,” Petra said.Duke agreed, and they shook paws on the deal.
That night, Petra
and duke left the community for London.
They found their way to the railway station, and Petra found the goods
yard.The two big cats crept into a
container of coal, rolling in it to make themselves black cats.Until then they’d had to move quickly, and
trust to luck their pure white coats didn’t draw attention.Once having blackened their fur and paws in
the coal truck, Petra
and duke made their way to another truck, more of a carriage this time.Petra
crept into the carriage and looked round, choosing a place where they could
hide.She knew the carriage would go to London the next day, as
the carriage had the timetable stuck to the walls.Duke and Petra, still high on adventure, hardly
thought of the consequences of their actions.
Meanwhile, back at the house, Theo noticed Petra was missing.He’d woken around two to find she’d
disappeared.Something told him all was
not right, that she’d intentionally left the house.Padding round the empty rooms in the house,
Theo wondered where his cub had gone to.He found some food packets in a recently emptied bin and realised Petra wasn’t alone.He smelt duke’s scent on one of the food
packets, and guessed the white tiger had followed Petra from the house.Theo, now anxious, woke Daisy to talk it
fascinated by Petra,”
Daisy mewed, “maybe Petra
decided she’d had enough of being Eohippus’s mouth piece.”Theo couldn’t blame her for that.
“She crept away
because she didn’t want us to restrict her,” he mewed, “Petra, darling cub; I wish you’d spoken to me
and so has my brother!”Daisy mewed,
“where the hell did they go?”
and duke were on their way to London.Hiding in the carriage, they travelled with
ease towards the capital of England.The carriage was spare capacity for the
train, and luckily for them wasn’t used.When the train reached the station in London which Petra guessed was the end of the line, they
disembarked and moved into the shadows, reaching street level within a few
found her way to a small square off a back street, where she and duke found a
few trees, a park bench, and nothing else.Duke looked round him, astonished at the silence in the square, just a
few metres from the street.
here, where do we go, and what do we do for food?”Duke asked.
“I think we
head for the zoo,” Petra
mewed, “as for food, we’ll pick up what we can from markets; discarded
vegetables are usually good eating.”
“For you they
are,” duke mewed, “but I’m a meat eater, I need meat!”
mewed.Duke left it, he was too tired,
and beginning to feel a little scared.
Meanwhile, in the garden at the back of the house, Theo
paced anxiously, thinking hard about his lost cub.Petra
hadn’t spoken of her wish to leave, and Theo had no idea where to start looking
for her.He knew the birds were his best
bet of finding Petra
quickly, but would they help him?Theo
felt dreadful, as lonely as he’d ever felt in his life, even though he’d got
animals round him.Petra was his main concern, and his heart
ached to find out where she was.Theo’s
thoughts were interrupted by a sharp peck to his paw.
“Hey!”He snarled, angry at the bird that’d pecked
pardon,” the pigeon said, “but I ‘ave news for you, Theo’s your name ain’t
it?”Theo confirmed the pigeon’s
information was correct.
“Well, I’m from London, and I saw your
lioness cub in a tiny square with a white tiger.We know of Petra, ‘er name is famous throughout the
land.We know of Eo’ippus rep on earth,
and even us pigeon’s looks up to your cub.I spoke to Petra
myself, and she says she wanted adventure, was sick of being Eohippus’s puppet,
and wanted to be a normal lioness again.My question to ‘er was why come to London.Petra
told me she knew of a zoo nearby.There
is a zoo, and I know the inmates well.Maybe, just maybe she and ‘er friend ‘ave gone to rescue two tigers from
the place.Their names are ‘alfear and
Whitepaw, two male tigers they are.The
thing is, ‘alfear wasn’t named so from birth, ‘e got torn up for what ‘e
is.‘E’s ‘omosexual, or so it’s said,
Whitepaw’s ‘is partner.A more beautiful
relationship I’ve never seen, but of course, the other zoo inmates don’t think
the same way as we do.Pigeons see so
much, and accept almost everything.The
two tigers, ‘alfear, and ‘is white friend Whitepaw, pray every night for
deliverance from the zoo, where they get persecuted by the other inmates for
their way of life.”
“Petra would do something
like that,” Theo mewed, “she’s that kind of lioness.”
“I’ve convinced Petra to let me tell you
all this, and asked ‘er if she wanted me to tell you anything.She says she’s sorry for running away, but
she needed to get away from pressures of ‘ome.”
“Poor cub,” Theo
mewed, “if only she’d confided in me, but then she [probably didn’t know she
was going to escape until the urge hit her.Now she’s gone.”
“I can take you
to her,” the pigeon cooed, “just you, no one else.”Theo’s heart leapt at the thought of seeing
his cub sooner rather than later.
“I could come,”
he said, “but I’d have to leave my mate in charge of the community.”
nowhere!”Elsa snapped.It was plain she’d overheard everything.
“I must find my
cub!”Theo mewed, “I must find her
Elsa!Don’t you want to know where she’s
“Yes I do want
to know,” Elsa mewed, “but it’s too difficult to find her.She won’t be found if she doesn’t want to be
found.”Theo almost choked on a rush of
tears which overcame him.
“Petra’s not ready for
this!”Theo mewed, “I must find her!”
here,” Elsa mewed, giving in, “you make sure you bring her back alive.There’s no point in arguing with you Theo,
you’re going, I know it, and so I’ll let you go.Good luck to you, and may Eohippus keep you
Theo made his way to London
using the same route as his white cub had.The Pigeon insisted on chopping off most of Theo’s mane so he looked
more like a domestic cat, but this was a small price.With a new hair cut, and hope of finding his
lost cub, Theo padded through the streets of London, the pigeon giving him
directions to where he’d last seen Petra and duke.
Theo found them curled tightly together in the corner of a
small square off Regent’s park.Theo
paw with his, waking the white lioness.
“Ay?”She asked blearily, “oh, Theo!”She exclaimed, “What the hell are you doing
“I needed to
find you Petra
dear,” Theo mewed, “your place is home with us, not here, sleeping rough in London.I’ve come to take you home.”
“But, what if I
don’t want to go?”Petra asked, “what if I have business here?”
do you have here?”Theo mewed.
“Do the names
Whitepaw and Halfear mean anything to you?”The white lioness asked.
“Who the hec
are they?”Duke mewed.
“Two friends of
mine, pigeon friends you might call them, as that’s how we’ve been
communicating, via pigeon.Whitepaw and
Halfear, or “’alfear,” as the pigeons pronounce his name, are two tigers in the
zoo not far from here.They are
persecuted for the life they lead.I
intend to rescue them and bring them back to the community.”
could be so wrong?”Duke mewed.
homosexual.The other zoo animals
despise them for it.Indeed, Halfear’s
real name is Tigger, though he’s been known as Halfear since one ear was ripped
in half in a fight with his father who despised his son for what he was.”
Whitepaw?”Theo asked, “I suppose he’s
got white paws.”
“Got it in one,” Petra mewed, “a Bengal tiger with white paws.Some called him tabby behind his back, but
his real name is Whitepaw.Now are you
coming with me Theo?”Theo wasn’t about
to leave his cub now he’d come so far to find her.
“Let’s find your
friends,” Theo mewed.
In the nearby zoo, Halfear and Whitepaw hid in the vegetation
in their enclosure, the taunts and abuse from the other animal’s plaint to
queers!”Benji, a large lion yelled, “I
know you believe in eohippus, and that you pray to her for deliverance from
this place, but it hasn’t happened yet!You two are stuck here with us, and we hate you!”
Benji!”A giraffe who went by the name
of Princess said, “Those two are horrible!”
doesn’t like homos, or so I’ve heard,” a huge polar bear named Alaska remarked, “she
strikes them down.Do you know that the
representative of Eohippus is said to be a white lioness?She hates homosexuals, or so I’ve heard.”Whitepaw was about to refute all their
bigoted sentiments, when Halfear placed his paw on that of his friend.
“We know this
isn’t true,” he whispered, “We know it, for the pigeon said as much.We know Petra,
she’s gentle, and she wants to help us.Don’t listen to them Whitepaw!”Whitepaw shook with impotent rage.
“I wish I was
where that lioness comes from,” he mewed, “it sounds so peaceful, so warm and
lovely.I know there we’d be safe and
able to live our lives.I hope Petra comes soon.”Halfear stroked Whitepaw’s left forepaw,
feeling his friend’s anxiety.
“I can’t cope
with this!”Whitepaw sobbed.
“You wont’ have
to for much longer,” a voice from within the thick undergrowth said, “I am here
now.”Halfear was about to investigate,
when a white paw parted the undergrowth, and Petra stuck her head into the tiger’s refuge.
“Yes,” Petra mewed, “I also have
my friend duke, and my sire Theo with me too.They’re outside the zoo gate.I
told you I’d come.Now, now let’s get you
out of here.The gate’s open, so let’s
“You think you’re going to get two tigers back to your
home?”Benji scoffed, “Well miss
Eohippus, I don’t think you will!”Petra ignored the voice
and released Whitepaw and Halfear.Benji, having escaped from his enclosure, waited for Petra to round the corner of the tiger’s
den.Letting Whitepaw and Halfear pad
past him, he fastened his gaze on Petra.
mine!”He screamed, leaping at the white
lioness!The two big cats fought madly,
Benji heavy and deadly, Petra
slow and sluggish.Petra fought bravely, winning by virtue of
weight and cunning.She managed to
throttle Benji to within an inch of his life, giving her escape time.Once the lion was incapacitated, Petra ran for her
life!Bleeding from bites and scratches
and with one paw crushed, Petra
regained her freedom, slamming the gate behind her.
here?”She asked.Theo looked with concern at Petra’s injuries.She’d fought for her friends all right, and
he knew this had nothing to do with Eohippus.Petra
was a lioness first and foremost, and she was proving herself.
“How did you
fight Benji?”Whitepaw asked, “He’s
“I don’t know,”
mewed.She limped along the road to
where duke waited with Halfear.
that’s all,” Petra
replied.She limped along, painful
though it was for her.Halfear and
Whitepaw followed Petra
and her companions until they reached the railway.Whitepaw feared they’d get caught any minute,
but strangely enough, the humans left them alone.All the way to the station, and on the train
back to the county town where the community’s house was, no human paid the big
cats the slightest heed, even though there were plenty around.Petra
thought she knew why the humans paid no attention; Eohippus was making sure
they couldn’t see the three tigers and two lions, protecting them until they
reached the front door of the house.
and her group reached the door, Elsa opened it.Hugging her mate, then Petra,
she led them into the house, Duke and the two tigers from the zoo following.
“Why did you go
to London?”Elsa asked Petra.
“To rescue these
mewed, waving a paw at Whitepaw and Halfear.
these two in particular,” Elsa mewed, “they’re just tigers!If you rescued every animal in a zoo, we’d be
overrun before the day was out!So why
these two?”Whitepaw’s eyes pleaded with
Petra not to
answer the question truthfully.
“They have had a
hard life,” Petra
mewed.Elsa wasn’t convinced; to her the
tigers looked well fed and fit.
“All right,” she
replied, “I know you’re not telling the truth Petra, now, come clean, why did you bring
these two here?”
“I think I know
why,” Leo mewed, very unhappy, “they’re partners aren’t they, same sex
partners?”Whitepaw confirmed this by
dropping his gaze to his paws, which were clenched, his toes dug into the
“What if they
“I don’t like
it!”Leo yelled, “It’s unnatural, it’s
rather they hated each other?”Petra asked.Leo snarled at her.
dreadful!”He yelled, “Why bring
unnatural relationships into this house!Get out of here!”Leo screamed.
“No!”Theo roared, “I will not have this!Whitepaw and his partner stay!If you don’t like it Leo, you go!I’m not having prejudice here!Love is hard enough to come by as it is,
without persecution adding its burden.Now, let’s all settle down and enjoy life.Whitepaw and Halfear have come here to escape
the taunting they were subjected to by other animals.Now you’re starting on them!”
“Who knew these
two were, abnormal?”Leo snarled.Petra
wisely kept her mouth shut.
knew?”Leo asked, “Noone suspected the
taunts and abuse were for a very good reason?Well, I know!It’s blindingly
obvious what those two are!How horrid,
“I think you
should have told them first Petra,”
duke mewed, dropping the white lioness in it.
“Petra, you knew these two
were, like this?”Leo asked, “Before you
went to rescue them?”Petra looked down at her paws.
“I’ll take your
silence as confirmation of my suspicions,” Leo snarled, “I hate homosexuals!”
“I can’t cope
with this!”Whitepaw mewed, “We came
here to get away from this, now we’re in it with all four paws, and it’s rising
to swallow us!”
“Shut up!”Leo screamed.
“Halfear and I
love each other dearly, I can’t help how I feel, and neither can he!It’s no crime!”Whitepaw begged. Leo snarled and growled his
“It is a
crime!”He yelled, “It’s an
abomination!Perverting nature will be
punished!”With that Leo sprang at
Halfear and clamped the tiger’s head in his jaws.Lifting Halfear off his paws, Leo shook the
tiger and threw him against the wall!Halfear landed with a splintering crash, in which Petra could hear several bones breaking.She hoped for Halfear’s sake he was dead.
yelled, Theo too astonished to move.
“No!”Leo yelled, “I’m going for the other misfit,
just watch me!”Leo ran at Whitepaw, who
turned and fled!Leo chased him from the
house, then stamped back into the house, kicking out at, and spitting on
Halfear’s body as he passed it.Theo
looked at his brother.
“Leo,” he said
gravely, “you shouldn’t have done that.You really shouldn’t have killed Halfear.I can’t stop what’s about to happen, and I
pray that those tasked with carrying out the deed do not suffer.Leo knew what his brother meant.His eyes fell on Petra, now seemingly four times her usual
size.Leo and Theo realised Petra was terrified!
No!”Leo begged, as the white lioness
strode up to him.
“You think you
are able to take the life of an innocent tiger and get away with it?”Petra
asked in a voice that was not her own.Leo began to sweat with fear:
unnatural; homosexuality is unnatural and needs to be punished!”Leo yelled.
“No!”Eohippus roared through Petra, “it does not need punishment, it needs
understanding and acceptance!You took
the law into your own paws!While
Halfear will surely go to a better place, you will rot in hell!You murdered a tiger for no other reason than
you hated his way of life!You have
forfeited your right to live!Theo
buried his face in his paws, knowing he could do nothing, but dreading the
final outcome.Petra’s body leapt at Leo, and Theo heard
their bodies meet.Shrieking with fear,
Theo leapt to his paws and ran from the room, unable to cope with what Leo had
unleashed.Theo pounded up the stairs,
tripped over his own paws and fell backwards down the stairs, landing in a heap
at the bottom.Theo’s world went dark,
and he passed out.
Regaining consciousness, Theo felt paws holding him
down.Opening his eyes, he saw fleur and
Aslan standing near to him, their paws gently holding him down.
sobbed, “he, he, eohippus…”
fleur mewed, “Leo’s dead Theo.I’m
sorry.”Theo cried for his brother for a
to Petra,” Theo
mewed when he could speak, “she, she won’t be fairing too well.”
in a miserable heap,” Aslan mewed, “noone can get a word from her.She’s destroying herself over this, and I
don’t think anyone can help her.”
noone’s tried?”Theo asked.
“It’s been four
days since your accident Theo, Leo’s buried, and Petra’s been like this for four days.She’s not going to recover from what eohippus
made her do.”
cub!”Theo mewed, “I might have lost my
brother, but now I’m going to lose my cub too?No! No, no no!Theo pushed past
Aslan and stumbled up the passage, screaming Petra’s name.Reaching her lie up, Theo found her as Aslan had described, crumpled in
a heap.The white lioness was breathing
shallowly, her whole body bathed in sweat and shaking violently.
“Petra, Petra my love?”Theo asked.The lioness screamed with pain.The
sound was dreadful, full of confusion, terror and grief.
here!”Petra panted, “Let me die alone!You don’t want me after what I did to you and
your brother!I’m worth nothing now, for
I killed your brother!I must have, for
they’re my claw marks on his body!I
“No, no Petra you didn’t, it was
eohippus that did, not you!She directed
you to kill Leo, you didn’t want to!”
“I tried to
stop it,” Petra
mewed, “When you cautioned Leo, I knew, I knew I was going to be used by
Eohippus again!I couldn’t stop it, I
tried, but the force was too strong!I
can’t, can’t fight it Theo!I haven’t
the strength!I couldn’t kill Leo, not a
hope, but I did, I was possessed!I
don’t want this any more Theo, I don’t’ want to do this any more!”Petra
clung to her sire with desperate paws, “Make it stop!”She cried, “Please Theo, make it stop!”Theo felt his cub’s anguish.
“I can’t Petra, I can’t,” he mewed,
“it’s not my gift to do so.I’d like
nothing more than to free you from this.It wasn’t my doing you were chosen.Believe me Petra,
please!”Petra gave vent to a shriek of rage and pain
which chilled Theo to his marrow.
“Eohippus,” Petra begged, her forepaws
clasped together in desperate prayer, “leave me alone!I’m not your plaything, I’m not your servant,
and I don’t like killing other creatures!If you love me as you profess to, please, please do not go against my
wishes and make me do things I would never do normally.I can’t remember Simba’s death, but I
remember Leo’s, every dam second of it!Your agik no longer works on me, and you have all but destroyed me!I saw what you made me do to Leo, and I had
no control, I was a spectator, this white lioness watched another use her body
to kill her leader’s brother!I want
nothing more to do with you, your laws or your messages.I want to live my life as Petra, not as the plaything of a higher
power!”Theo then saw something which
stunned him.A white mare appeared in
front of Petra!
“You will have
to kill me first!”The mare whinnied,
“can you do it Petra?If you can, you will be released!”Petra
launched herself at the mare, bringing her down!The white mare died soon after.
horrid creature,” Petra
yelled, “let me go!Let me live my life
in peace!”Petra collapsed onto the carpet, her whole
body shaking uncontrollably.
“You have been
released,” Theo mewed to his cub.Petra burst into tears.
believe in Eohippus,” Petra
mewed, “not when she does things like she’s done to me over the years.We were incompatible.I hated dealing out punishment, and she made
me go against my own wishes.She dulled
my mind to everything I did, but in the end I saw what she made me do.Theo, my sire, please, do with me what you
feel fit.For I killed your brother.”
“Petra,” Theo choked, “I
can’t set paw on you!You did what you
did under duress, you had no control! It wasn’t your fault!If Eohippus wanted Leo dead, she should have
come and done the job herself, not used a defenceless lioness!How can I believe in a spirit who’s
mistreated my own cub?”Theo wept,
“Religion used to mean a lot to me, but now, now I’ve seen how things can be
messed up, I don’t know what I think.”Petra clung to Theo, her paws
damp with sweat.
“I was just a
white cub!”Petra sobbed, “A cub who had meat
intolerance, but that was it.I wasn’t
eohippus when I was born, and I never wanted to be!The higher power tried to force me to be
something I’m not!I have had many talks
with the spirits, and explained my situation, but they’ve always overruled me,
now I’ve taken control of my own life.I
want to be Petra,
“You can be Petra now my dear sweet
cub,” Theo mewed, kissing the white lioness on her nose.
“All that about
making Sam and Allie sleep,” Petra
mewed, “that was rubbish, and I knew Allie was a heavy sleeper.Agik had nothing to do with it!”Theo stroked his cub.
“Think of it no
more,” he whispered.Petra cried into her sire’s badly cut mane.
sorry!”She sobbed, “Sorry that I didn’t
fight hard enough to be myself!”
fight eohippus,” Theo mewed, “not when you were young.Now though, you have fought her, and
won.You are your own lioness now Petra, and rescuing
Whitepaw and Halfear was something my Petra
“I loved those
sniffed, “they were such beautiful tigers, now though, Halfear is dead, and
Whitepaw is mourning his loss.I’m
tired, so, so tired Theo!”Theo caught Petra as she collapsed
lay for days after, mostly inert and unresponsive, but sometimes clear
headed.She didn’t know which state was
worse, for when she was out of it, she missed the scary bits, when her mind
would replay leo’s death in front of her eyes, though she wasn’t watching it
from the point of view of the executioner, rather that of a bystander, watching
everything this lioness did to the disgraced lion.Petra
wept as she witnessed the brutality of Eohippus’s attack on Leo.Petra
couldn’t stop the video; she had to endure it to the end, time after time after
time.Petra realised she’d been used by the powers,
that when approached as a young and impressionable cub, she’d jumped at the
chance of being someone important. In
the end realisation dawned she was being used for the power’s own ends, but not
before she’d had to do things that were beyond what most considered
reasonable.She didn’t want to kill
Simba, she’d had no desire to, and eohippus had realised this, making it seem
to fleur that Petra
was rolling over in deference, when the power was really trying to get rid of
the lioness before the lioness realised fully what was happening to her.Eohippus overreached her power when she
to kill Leo for what eohippus considered a heinous act, that of killing
Homosexuals.Eohippus had taken her
revenge on Leo, because she’d been denied the chance to save the lives of
Halfear and Whitepaw.The problem was, Petra had wised up to the
ways of the greater power, and fought any attempt to dull her mind to what she
was forced to do.Petra had seen it all, and begun to fight
back.It was salty who killed Amber and
Blanche, but he did it because he was wild and that was what happened to errant
wild things.Petra’s killing had started when she was
strong enough to do it, and Eohippus wanted it done.Petra
was misguided into thinking she was doing a good turn during the periods when
she was controlled, but her actions were not those of a gentle white
lioness.Petra hated killing Simba, even if it had to
be done in the end, she would have preferred to take her time over exploring
other avenues to punish him, imprisonment seemed a good one, but no, eohippus
said she must kill, and Petra
killed, regardless of her own feelings, which she couldn’t tap into when she
most needed them.Petra didn’t wish Simba to be roaming the
house, impregnating tigresses, nor did she wish Leo to have remained unpunished
for killing Halfear, but the manner of their deaths, one she couldn’t remember,
and one she so vividly could, appalled and disgusted Petra.Petra
had sold herself as a cub, and now she knew she’d regret it for the rest of her
While the scenes depicting Leo’s death were replaying in her
would lie twitching and sobbing, be she out of it or of sound mind.From time to time she felt paws on hers,
soft, gentle paws they were, but to whom they belonged, and for how long they
stayed in contact with hers she didn’t know.Petra
began to realise she felt the paws when she saw the video, so maybe the paws
were trying to comfort her.
“I’m a gentle,
kind, playful lioness, not a killer!”Petra screamed at the
lioness in her mental video.Petra cracked on the
fourth day, her resolve to keep a lid on things breaking finally.She wept for Leo, screaming for mercy and
begging for forgiveness for what she’d done.Despite telling herself she’d never ordinarily set paw on Leo, the constant
replaying of the video finally convinced her she was a killer who needed salvation.Petra
was caught between her fear of what she’d been the mind-set which told her she
was a killer and the real Petra,
the kind gentle lioness she’d thought she was at the beginning of her
breakdown.Petra remembered playing with flour as a very
young cub, covering herself in it, and even rubbing it into the fur of a large
polar bear.She could feel the flour in
her fur and between her toes and paw pads, and she knew then that how she felt
then was where she wanted to be.Then
she was just Petra,
a white cub with black paw pads and blue eyes.A gentle mischievous cub.It was
after Snowy’s illness that things had started to go wrong.“Did Petra
want to help snowy?”A voice had asked
her in a dream one night.Petra, knowing snowy was
ill, and wanting to help the tigress had replied yes, and from that day to
this, she’d been caught up with eohippus.Now she was free, free to be the clumsy cub she once was.
“I will be
myself from this day on!”Petra mewed, “I’m no
plaything, no toy, and definitely no slave to Eohippus!I am a decent, loving lioness!I want to love Aslan and everyone else who’s
here.I am a gentle lioness, I’m not a
killer, and I’m not letting myself be taken in again!I was used, and it will never happen
again!Eohippus, you have no further
hold on me!”Petra tried to roar with triumph at reaching
her own decision, but all that came out was a cub like mew.
came to her senses for the final time to see Aslan and Theo watching over her.
“It’s been a
long time Petra
love,” Aslan mewed.
“Longer for me
Aslan, much, much longer for me,” Petra