This week’s photo prompt is by Sandra Crook.

The lions’ throaty roars before dawn would send Ngabo scampering to his parents’ bed.

“Don’t be afraid,” Mother would whisper. “It’s just mama lion, keeping her babies safe.”

On Sundays Father taught him how to run silently through the jungle, to a dark, mossy gully they called the hiding place.

Now, a lifetime later, Ngabo walks beside a restless ocean, where a distant headland seems to him to be shaped like a crouching lion.

He has slept poorly, his dreams haunted by the night the men came with machetes, and his father’s strangled voice: “Run, Ngabo, to the hiding place.”


This is my offering for Friday Fictioneers. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting this weekly flash fiction link-up .

58 thoughts on “Lions

  1. Oh, he was afraid of the lions when fellow humans were the real monsters, The lions, roar and shape, bring back the memories. I hope they aren’t portents. Wonderful and sad story, Margaret.


    • That’s right – he didn’t have to fear the lions at all, but the memories of the horrific events of his childhood will never disappear. Thanks, once again, for your insightful and encouraging reply, Gabriele.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A chilling story, he remains trapped by his past. I actually knew someone who had a similar experience at the age of eight during the partition of India. He told me that even fifty years later, he woke up on some nights reliving that terror.


  3. Love the lion metaphor for the brutal attack with machetes. Perhaps he was right to be fearful. And how provident that his parents taught him how and where to hide. Very moving.


  4. This was really well crafted. He was afraid of lions, only to be a survivor of human cruelty. The image of the land shaped like a lion, reminded me of Lion’s Head in Cape Town. I loved this. Well done.


    • That’s interesting. There’s an island near where I live called Lion Island, which is what gave me the idea. Thank you for your encouraging comment, Fatima.


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