The storm kicked in as the large boat neared the land of Africa. The waters churned and swayed the boat enough to make even the most seasoned sailor sea sick. Many of the passengers were down below deck to escape the wind and rain. They chatted unnerved of the storm raging outside. Most of them were English business men looking to start companies in the free areas of the content, others came to escape they had accumulated back in England, and then there were the people who came just for the thrill of adventure. To them the untamed wilderness, wild animals, and savage native peoples proved a most interesting prospect. Thunder crashed loudly outside the boat causing the passengers to stop and look around worriedly. The captain himself had come down earlier with a worried look on his face and brought up a man named James Dothan who used to be a naval captain and a celebrated on if that up to the engine room. Now with the force of the storm escalating there seemed little wonder why the captain sought his expertise. After the second crash of thunder a woman with a worried look on her face excused herself from the party and headed into the hallway were the rooms for the passengers to stay in. To make sure there were to be no screw ups the captain had the names of the passengers temporarily put onto the doors. The woman went down the hall until she found the door that said "Dothan" and went inside. She went over to a small basket and looked inside. In the basket was baby, still sleeping and unaware of the storm. She picked him up and made sure the baby was still okay. She put the baby back inside the basket kissed him on the forehead as a "goodnight".
Just then another flash of lighting flooded the ship. This time it was accompanied by screams. The woman darted out of the room back into the ballroom. Everyone was looking outside the window were they could the captain in the water, dead. Chatter and speculations now arouse over the death of the captain. Was he struck down by lighting? Could Dothan be responsible for his death? Well there questions were answered by the sound of hurried footsteps from the engine. It was James Dothan, he looked terrified and exhausted.
"Everyone get to the row boats! The ship won't last forever in this storm!" He shouted urgently. Everyone now panicking started too stampeded to the row boats tied to the ship just for this type of emergency. The woman rushed to James worried for both of them.
"James! What's going on?"
James placed his hands lovingly on his wife's shoulders.
"Listen to me clearly Juliana. The ships going down, I need you to get Nathan and get him and yourself out to one of the row boats."
"What about you? You have to come with us."
" I have to try and keep the ship aloft for as long as possible." He said seriously tears now welling up in his eyes.
"But….." she began but was cut off by a kiss. They were brought back by another crash of thunder and James rushed back to the engine room, while Juliana tears now streaming down her eyes headed back to the room. She hurriedly dried her eyes and threw open the door. The baby was now awake and wailing out of fear. Juliana picked him up and he began to quite down as he saw the woman he recognized as his mother. She smiled at him and ran out to the engine room. James was warring with the waves in a fruitless attempt to keep the boat floating.
"James!" Juliana shouted through the wind. "I have Nathan come out to the boats!"
"Okay!" He grabbed some rope that was on a table and tied off the wheel and they ran out onto the dock. Most of the passengers had already been able to grab a boat and began rowing to shore through the black water. Juliana looked around and found a single boat left.
"There we can take that one!"
She and Nathan got into the boat as James lowered the boat onto the water. All of the sudden James looked behind him and saw a mountainous wave coming there way. In haste he took a knife from his pocket cut the ropes holding the boat and jumped into the boat.
"Hang on!" He shouted as the wave crashed on top of them. The boat was underwater for seconds until it popped back up onto the surface with all of its riders alive. James took the oars strapped to the bottom of the boat and began to row ashore; they had a long way to go. It wasn't long before a wave even bigger than the last landed right behind them sending the small boat capsizing into the sea and knocking James and Julian out of the boat and into the cold sea. The child however floated inside the basket, crying but alive. The waves carried him onto a sandy shore and into Africa.
By the next day the storm had passed over. A mother leopard and her two cubs were visiting the beach for a little time away from the group. When she got there the mother noticed the shipwrecked boars on the shore and strange foot prints in the sand. The cubs didn't seem to notice or care they began to play hide and seek inside the wrecked ship. The mother was searching the beach cautiously to spot out any danger, when she heard crying. Not any leopard cry but it was close and she followed the sound to a small basket stuffed with a blue blanket and a strange creature. The leopard had never seen anything like it before. It was practically bald except for some brown fur on its head, and it didn't have any paws, claws or a tail. The baby stopped crying and noticed the leopard for the first time. It tilted its head inquisitively and began to laugh and squirm inside the basket. The leopard sniffed the strange little creature and it grabbed a hold of the leopard's nose. She lifted up her nose but the baby hung on tight so she put it back in the basket. Then her cubs came running back from there hide and seek game.
"Mama, mama!" the oldest one cried.
"What is it Moyo?"
"There are some strange things underneath the boat!" Moyo lead his mom to were the strange things were while his little sister investigated the basket.
When they got to the site the mother leopard was shocked to see that the things looked the same as the strange baby in the basket. She went over and nudged them with her nose, no reaction. She sniffed and smelt the stench of death on each, and then she looked back over to were the baby was then back at what she assumed was the parents. And a thought found its way into her head. She went back over to the baby and saw that it seemed to be playing with her youngest cub.
"Mama what is that thing?" she asked as the baby grabbed her by the ear.
"I'm not sure Bahiya but we're taking it with us."
"Yay!" Bahiya exclaimed "This guy is a lot of fun to play with."
"What will Dad say though?" Moyo questioned. "And all the other leopards?"
"They'll just have to live with him." Their mother said grabbing the baby by the blanket with her teeth and they headed back to the group.
They headed deep into the jungle were the leopard group was living. It didn't have many trees but it had caves to sleep in and it was close to the food. No one seemed to take notice of their return until they saw what the mother was carrying. Murmurs began to rise up between the leopards. Leopard came up to them and sniffed the child that the mother had put on the ground.
"Akeela, were did you find this?" he asked. Before he could answer Akeela's cubs answered the question.
"We found it at the beach daddy." Bahiya replied
"Why bring it here?" He asked his wife.
"There were others but they were both dead. Faraji I had to bring him here, he wouldn't survive there."
"He was better off." Faraji dropped his voice to a whisper. "If Abasi and Sabor got wind of this….."
He didn't get a chance to finish for at that moment two leopards appeared. One was the normal yellow and spotted the other was gray with leopard he had been black in his youth. They both looked at the child now on his hands and knees crawling around and wrestling with the cubs.
"It's a human!" the yellow leopard exclaimed. "How could you bring a human here?"
"Calm down Sabor, I'm sure Akeela has a decent explanation." The old leopard said calmly.
"Well?" Sabor pressed.
"I do have an explanation…. He was all alone and his parents were dead. I guess they were killed in the storm last night." She turned to the old leopard.
"Please Abasi he wouldn't survived the night."
"Then you should have left him to die!" Sabor raged "This human will give us nothing but trouble!"
"Sabor! It's not your chose to choose the fate of the child. It is Akeela's and Faraji's."
Sabor grumbled and waited for the couple to decide.
"Are you sure this is right Akeela?" Faraji whispered "Sabor dose have a point….Are you sure he was all alone?"
"Yes, the only humans that were there were dead."
Faraji looked back on the human child and sighed.
"Very well we'll keep him."
Sabor groaned and left, debating would be fruitless now.
"Alright then he's yours, now what do are you going to name him?" Abashi asked
"I was thinking of naming him Kito." Akeela said going over to referee the wrestling match now taking place.
"That is a fine name, now if you excuse me I need to make sure Sabor doesn't get into any trouble."
And the old leopard got up and left the couple alone.
"Well this had been an exciting day…" Faraji said laying down next to his wife. "I hope we made the right…Uf!" Kito and Moyo had tumbled into there father while wrestling and hadn't even noticed. Akeela couldn't help but laugh.
"I'm sure we did." She replied and watched as the cubs and Kito started to become tired woth their wrestling game and Akeela decided it was time for them to go to bed.