He lay wounded, again, and this time it was fatal. He was not afraid of death. He never remembered being afraid of anything. A Lion, the King of the Jungle worries always, but not about death. When he was a young cub and prowled the jungles with his mother and brothers and sisters, nothing stood in their way. They had the freedom to roam anywhere they pleased and they took advantage of every bit of it. His mother taught his pride of family the art of the hunt, and how to take care of themselves, while their father hunted for larger game in other places like a well-oiled machine.
But that was long ago, when his kind were many and humans were few. Now the days were filled with the noise of chainsaws and machines destroying the rain forest, the only home he had ever known. He was relieved in a way that he was dying. His kind would soon be on the doorstep of death and extinction. He did not want to live to see his own children captured and killed for the amusement of the hated man. But, there was a time. Yes, there was a time when he was still "King of the Jungle."
He lay there dying, remembering when he left his own family to find his own territory and raise a family of his own. His first fight with a Cape Buffalo almost killed him and he still has the scars to prove it. But he survived and his family ate, after he had his fill, and he felt the pride it took to lord over all that he could see. When others saw him coming, or smelled the smell of the King of the Jungle, they ran or hid in fear. No one would remember him now, but he would take this to the place of his ancestors and they would have tales to tell. Again, death did not scare him.
This last fight, with his much younger and stronger cousin, had killed him. Why he was not put him out of his misery was a mystery and was not the way he was taught to vanquish an enemy. He was taught to go for the kill and make sure his opponent did not suffer. But his ways were old, like him. His enemy wanted to strut and show-off to the rest of the females how he now owned them and how strong he was. They crowded around the victor as the old lion suffered, drawing it's last breath. It was the law of the jungle and he knew it would happen to him one day.
In the last few years, time after time a young buck lion would come around his harem of lionesses and try and take them, and kill him. Time after time he vanquished his enemy. He had many scars and had even lost the sight in one of his eye's last year that almost killed him. Luckily, he had his enemy by the throat and would not let go. The young lion shook him and clawed at him but he held on until his enemy was defeated. But losing an eye had made him more vulnerable than ever and this was how he lost to the new "Cock of the Walk", who now ruled over his territory. His jungle.
He watched as his children fawned over the lion who had killed him and he was happy, even as he knew he was dying. He would go to meet his ancestors, especially his own father who ruled the jungle with an iron hand for decades before his time had come. He was losing blood fast and breathing heavy when the mother of his pride came over and licked him for a final time, running off before her new master saw her. He had loved her since the day he killed her father and she loved him also. He could only hope that his children and their mother could live a long life, for he had been proud to be King of the Jungle for a time