Chapter One: Catarina

"Pride! Wake up call! Breakfast in ten minutes whether you're ready or not!" I shouted down the hallway. From the farthest room on the right there came a groan. "Please, just five more minutes? You worked us so hard yesterday I can barely stand up!" Leonard called back. But he knew I meant what I'd said, so he climbed out of bed and started to dress.

I turned back to the stove to finish cooking the eggs, so that when the rest of the pride came in their meals were ready. But Pandora was already there, baking breakfast to perfection. I sighed. "Don't I ever get a turn to feed my family?" I asked her, but we both knew it was useless. I couldn't cook if my life depended on it, so Pandora's skill was really a big help.

Just then Tim came in. He plopped himself down in a chair at the table and asked, "What're we eating? Cat, if you're the one who's making it I'm leaving!"

"Don't worry Tim," I assured him, "Pandora's the chef today."

Before I continue, you should probably get to know the family. We are a group of kids and teens who don't really have a family otherwise. None of us are actually blood siblings. There are five of us total, and we share a little cabin in the valleys of Ethiopia. I am the oldest, so I guess that's why I am considered the leader. My name is Catarina, and I am 13 years old. I have average length chestnut hair and dark brown eyes. Next oldest is my best assistant, Tim. He's 13 as well, but two months younger than me. And about two inches taller, I might add. Tim has shaggy dark blond hair and blue eyes. Then there's Pandora, my 11-year-old left-hand girl. She is the faithful cook and cleaner of the house, since I'm not really that type of person. She has short, smooth black hair and hazel eyes. The last two I sort of consider to be my own, since I've raised them for almost their whole life. Jazmin is 9, and already acting like she's queen of the world. Jaz is absolutely adorable with shoulder-length bright blond hair that's slightly wavy. Her eyes are topaz, and look like little gemstones. The youngest of the pride is Leonard. He's only 7, but for such a young boy he sure can handle himself! He's a spiky black haired dude with chocolate brown peepers.

So there you have it, the whole rowdy bunch of us. We've lived together in this house for I'd say around three years. We needed a home away from the public, so we wouldn't be separated, but where we could play with lots of wildlife. Because, you see, the reason we call ourselves a pride is that we have an odd sort of fascination with lions. All our lives, we've wanted to interact with and gain the trust of a real pride of them. So calling ourselves a pride makes us happy.

Jaz stomped into the kitchen, waking me from my daydreams. "Cat, I'm hungry. Get me some food. If you don't, I… I'll… oh I don't know but something bad!" Yep, that's classic of her. The motor mouth talker, who can go on and on and on without a clue what she's really talking about.

"Sit down at your seat and say please, and maybe you will get some of Pandora's fantastic scrambled eggs." I replied. I just love to step up to my role as party pooper. Not. Anyway, she sat down. Soon Leo came and we ate a nice hearty meal. While eating we discussed the plan for the day's activities.

"Okay, so first thing after this we stuff our backpacks and go on a lion-sighting hunt," I suggested, or as they call it, planned out.

"Then can we go swimming? Please? The lake isn't as inviting all year. And it's summer, for goodness sakes!" Pandora whined.

"Um… we can hike to the lake in our swimsuits after lunch and spend the afternoon." I compromised.

"Yay! We're going swimming! We're going swimming! Thanks so much, Cat! I promise that you can do whatever you want us to before lunch as long as we can go!" Leo happily broadcasted.

"Hey, I thought I was the leader. I wonder if you really wanted to be the leader, and I let you, what would happen?" I joked to him.

"Ha you think you're so funny!" Tim put in. Oh well, I'd talk to him about it later. We finished up and Pandora cleaned while the rest of us got ready. In a couple minutes Pandora was packed, too, she was pretty fast at it. If I'd known what was in store for us, I would've packed some steel shields. But since I didn't I let us out, without any attack protection.