Excerpt from The Lion Hunter


03 Nov

Once he was fully dressed, Josh suddenly found his confidence and stood over the lion as if he had killed it with his bare hands. Then he began boasting. "It was my bullets that killed him," he declared loudly. "This is my trophy." He was standing with one foot on the lion’s chest and holding his rifle over the crook of his arm. He was all puffed up and full of himself, "The guys back home are going to love this," he said triumphantly. "Hey Timmy boy get my camera out of the bag and take some pictures of me with this huge lion, I'll be the talk of the town back in the old USA," he bragged. 


Thabo was not at all happy at this idea and said to them both, "We need to get away from here as soon as possible. For one thing it is illegal to shoot lions here and secondly the smell of death is a magnet to other animals and they will soon be here. We are too close to the water hole, it will be a frenzy." 


"Come on Kaffir it will only take a minute and we will be away from here. I just want a few photos." Thabo walked away from the two men shaking his head and went to the edge of the clearing to lean on a tree stump. 


Tim found Josh's camera and while he posed for some pictures Tim snapped away. Josh adopted a number of poses, he even pulled the lion's head up close to his own and got Tim to take a close up shot. Tim didn't like the man, but it was the best he could do.

There was no warning, as Josh lowered the lion to the ground, swiftly and silently six hyenas darted towards Josh and the lion. He had no time to move or run away as they started their strange mewling noise and knocked him over. The look of triumph on Josh's face turned instantly to terror as all but one of the hyena's concentrated on the dead lion. 


The other made a grab at Josh's head with his powerful jaws. Josh tried to roll over and brought his arms up to protect his face. The hyena was not put off and grabbed his arm and the noise of crushing bone was horrific. Josh was screaming in agony as the vice like grip of those terrible teeth ripped into his upper arm and crushed the bones in his shoulder. Then it started tearing the flesh and bone from the body and as the blood began to spurt and fly in all directions, several of the other hyenas left the lion and joined in. They attacked his legs, Josh was still alive and trying to kick at them as the first hyena completely tore away his arm and ran a few yards away to protect his meal. 


The blood was pumping out of the awful gaping wound and this just excited the already blood thirsty hyena. By now Josh was just mumbling incoherently and it was almost like watching in slow motion as the pack slowly dismantled the human body. Josh's left leg came away and finally any movement from him ceased. He was dead and all for the pride of wanting a few photographs to show off to his friends. 


The hyenas were now in a blood frenzy snapping at each other as they carried away pieces of lion and human remains. It was all over so quick, Tim had dropped the camera and ran back to where Thabo had been standing. Thabo had been unable to offer any assistance because they had not allowed him to have a gun and now Josh was dead. 


Tim, who had been stoic throughout the whole trip was now shaking and vomiting behind a tree. Thabo grabbed the trance like Tim and pulled him up a short rise that lead up to a small rocky plateau. Tim was urging and trying to vomit all the way. An hour later Tim had not spoken and was looking completely vacant and he just gazed back at the area where Josh had been so brutally killed. 


Finally, Tim muttered a few words which Thabo could not make out. He just ignored Tim and waited for him to speak again. It was a further ten minutes before Tim managed to speak again. "What are we going to do now?" he trembled. Thabo had truly had enough of this hunt but answered him with, "I assume that you do not want to go after the other lion?" Tim was starting to regain his composure and shouted at Thabo, "No, I bloody don't, I want to go home now." "I don't wish to stay here a moment longer," he added. 

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