"Well, if it isn't Sassi-stop-out back again. Mother wants to talk to you. She's got her claws out for you and no mistake."
Yeah, right. Sure she has.
"You've been with that Sarafina haven't you? I always knew she was trouble. Mother does too."
Oh no Naanda, she's not the one who's trouble around here.
"Yeah, you can stand there saying nothing and look like Pride Rock in the rains all you want. It won't change a thing. I know what you're up to."
Mother: Ahhh, it had to happen soon.
"That's right missy no-kill, off you go, slinking to mother."
Oh no Naanda. Yeah, I'm looking you right in the eyes. I'm going alright, but I'm going with my head held high. I've got nothing to be ashamed of.
"You've been looking for that lioness, haven't you?"
"Well you can forget it. You're not going anywhere. Do you hear?"
"We found her."
"We? You mean you were out with that Sarafina? She's a bad influence on you: she is I tell you. You stay away from her."
"She's my friend. She understands."
"Understands does she? Understand this, my girl, and understand it well: You may not think you have to try – that you'll be Mufasa's no matter what – but no lion likes a lioness that doesn't make an effort. You can't just go off whenever you want: you're going to be queen. You'd better start acting like it."
Fluffy does like me: just as I am. Well, pretty much as I am.
"Don't you dare try to look down on me young lady! What have you got to say for yourself?"
"Sarafina and I went looking for the lioness: Immali. Sarafina didn't get me into anything: it was my idea."
"There's no way you're doing anything like that again: far too dangerous. Ahadi, and Mufasa, won't like it at all if you're injured or dead!"
How are you going to stop me? Hold me down? Hobble me? "I can look after myself mother."
"Oh yes? You can hunt, can you?"
"I would if you let me try. You let Naanda get plenty of kills, but as soon as I try, you stop me."
"When you're ready – which you're not – then I'll let you take something down."
"I am ready. I have been for months. I could have had a family of my own to hunt for by now."
"Sarabi! It's for your own good. I'm only protecting you: keeping you safe for Mufasa."
Keeping me safe! SAFE! Mother, you're holding me back: smothering me! No point trying to tell you. You just don't listen to me.
"There now, you can see I'm right. And another thing: keep away from Sarafina and her strange ways. She'll only get you into more trouble. She's not a Pridelander: you know you can't trust her. That's why I can't let her hunt with us. You understand."
"I trust Sarafina with my life."
"You're so naïve Sarabi. That's why I have to ground you all the time. If you didn't have me you just float away with your silly ideas. Now, I won't hear another word. Stay away from Sarafina!"
No mother. She's my friend.
"Oh, and if I hear you've been to that blue monkey again then there'll be hell to pay. You hear me?"
"Yes mother: stay away from the creepy monkey."
"Now then, if we're lucky, Mufasa won't have heard too much about this and you might yet be his queen after all. Makes it all worthwhile doesn't it? …Doesn't it Sarabi?"
Does it? No… I'd better nod at least.
"Going running off without telling me, or him, considering he was protecting us all. I mean, what were you thinking?"
What was I thinking? "I'm not going anywhere. I'm staying here. Have Ahadi and Scar come back yet?"
"Yes, The king has returned, Scar too. Don't worry yourself about that: it doesn't matter to you."
Yes it does! Ahh, I'd only be wasting breath telling you, and you'd never believe me if I told you Mufasa agreed….
It won't be long now. It lays still, so still. The noise of the plains, distant and empty, hangs in the rocks. All life comes here, but death breathes through, chill and silent. Some say the ghosts rise in these places. Do they? She said that beauty comes, and through it, and from it, life. Does it?
Looking down to see the stars: turned about so unfamiliarly. Their light fading into the still blackness, now tainted by colour: blue and gold. Soon now.
There, the "ghosts" arise in the first burst of day's new life. So cold; biting through fur. Life I too can give… and take… and live… with Mufasa. Mufasa… why haven't I been thinking about Mufasa? A day or more and he hasn't been anywhere in my thoughts. He'd love to see this: dawn over the waterhole, a blanket of those "ghosts", so solid away, yet nothing close. Everything glinting in the perfect first shining of day.
There, something dropping, cutting through to the water; turning away the ghosts. Rippling, circling out. Ow! Stinging my haunch; what was that? From behind, it came from behind.
"I'm not supposed to be seeing you."
"Oh no? I can see you; it is dawn already."
"No, I'm not allowed."
"Ahh, so who says that eh?"
"Do you always do what she says?"
Do I? Not anymore.
"No, no, of course you don't. Anyway, you're not seeing me. I'm seeing you."
"Rafiki, what did you do to me?"
"Me? Do? To you? Nothing. Absolutely nothing."
"You've done something: herbs, a potion?"
"Put a spell on me?"
"Then what? What have you done?"
"Do you come here often to watch the dawn?"
"Eh? No, well, sometimes. The mist over the water, the light sparkling and new: it all goes so soon."
"Ah yes, it does doesn't it?"
"You've done it again, haven't you?"
"No, you've done it. He-he, all I did was give you something else… to think about."
"You…" Of course, it was him! "You told Ahadi about the lioness: Immali."
"Me? Maybe, might have, might not. Won't tell."
"Do you ever give a straight answer?"
"You're right. You should bring that Mufasa here. He would love it… like you."
"Oh no Sarabi. I couldn't possibly tell you."
"You refuse to tell me who she was?"
"If my father won't then who am I to break his confidence? Hmm? I couldn't tell anyone I didn't totally trust. You understand."
"Then who will you tell?"
"Why Sarabi, I really shouldn't… but I might be persuaded… no. no I shouldn't."
"No Scar, you're not getting anything from me."
"No, no, of course not. I didn't mean anything like…. That. No, no. I just meant that maybe I could tell Sarafina here. She understands me. Don't you?"
"It's alright Sassi. I'll tell you everything, don't worry."
It's not that that I'm worried about Saffi. "You had better come back. Scar, do you understand me?"
"Why of course. Saffi and I will just have a little chat, that's all. She'll be back with you in no time. No time at all."
No time he says. No time and here I am, sitting in front of Ahadi explaining myself. Where is she? Where's he got her? If he's done anything to her I swear I'll… why, there she is. In a hurry, big hurry. She's coming here, isn't she? She is! Something's happened! She's frightened… no, she's… she's fired angry. The look she said she holding back for prey. Hunting? No, coming, running, pounding, leaping, roaring, clawing here. Ahadi's puzzled… confused… astonished… frightened?
"You utter bastar...!"
She's on him. They are together: rolling, clawing, kicking, biting, tearing. Got to get her off him. She's turned him over on to his back, slapping him, back, holding him down, and pounding hind paws into him. She's killing him! "Saffi! What are…" Struggling, pushing, pulling. The air filled with noise: roars. Whose are whose? Can't kick, can't pull, push, that's it, knock her off. Turn the hunter into the prey. Head down, go in, hope she's tougher than a zebra. Hope Ahadi is. Hope I am too… "Saffi! Stop!" That got to her. Owww, it got to me to. I see it in her eyes, she has got it in her to kill. What? Ahhh! She's heavy, and struggling. Kicks out. ARRRGG! Ripping through my flesh: ripping, tearing. "Sarafina!"
"Let me go!"
Against the sky, he's over us both, raising his forepaw, drawing it back to strike. Still. Warm pain in my off thigh. She's still, heaving yet still. Frightened. That makes two of us.
"Why? So you can attack me again?"
"Let me go!"
Lowering, softly placed paw on her chest. Heavy pain in back, piercing.
"No Sarafina. You're not going anywhere."
"Then get it over with. Kill me now."
What is she talking about? "SAFFI!"
"Kill us both, damn you Ahadi. Kill us! You should kill us like you wanted to kill her!"
"You both know who. That Immue, that's who. You threw her out because she, a mere lioness, defied you: the great Ahadi. You banished her. I'm not letting you banish me. So you'll have to kill me."
"I'm not killing, or banishing anyone. Now, I'm going to let you up slowly … just don't try anything OK? ...And you too. I'm sorry Sarabi."
Stop wriggling damn you Saffi. Don't you know where your hind paws are! OOW, you really don't know do you? A growl, a look, a thought not for me, and she's away… what just happened?