Unlucky to be Lucky

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Lion

8. Lion

“So what is a zoo again?”

Cashew and Monsuta were making their way down the streets of London towards a place Monsuta had called a zoo.

“Isn’t this the sixth time you’ve asked? Anyway, it’s a place where a collection of different animals from around the world have been entrapped for people to look at.”

At that same moment, Monsuta motioned to the right, announcing that they had arrived, making Cashew’s eyes widen at seeing a giant, golden gate. It took all of Monsuta’s convincing skills to force Cashew into waiting behind a line of people who later got ‘swallowed up’ by the golden teeth at the end.

“How many tickets?” An unknown lady sitting in a box by the golden teeth asked the two men.

“Two adult tickets” Monsuta casually replied.

“You sure you don’t mean one child and one adult?” Cashew scoffed, but the other was too busy trying to figure out how much he owed the lady to answer back.

With nothing to do but wait, Cashews mind briefly drifted to the events of this morning, the day after he found out Monsuta was the actual murderer of his parents. He had woken up before Monsuta and was still stunned by what he had found out. Someone (probably Sasha and Alphy) had moved them to the couch which probably helped in Cashew not catching a cold nor developing a fever. He spent the next hour blankly staring at the blonde, as if in a coma, unable to act or think as the seconds slowly passed by. Eventually he got up and out from the sofa, not entirely sure wether he was asleep or awake, and made his way to his satchel. He slowly took out a match box and a metal can and walked to the centre of the room where he had tried to kill Monsuta many times before. Eyes unfocused, he clumsily opened the can and tipped it upside down - but nothing came out. Turns out there was a hole on the other side that made the gasoline from inside leak out and evaporate long before it had a chance to be used. Silently, Cashew continued to crouch down and took out a match from its cardboard house. He blankly scratched the end of the match onto the floor. More time passed as Cashew sat there pathetically scraping at the wood before Monsuta had woken up. We should go get some fresh air, he had said, maybe you will get a fresh idea on solving the problem you have on your mind.

“Cashew, hurry up!” Monsuta shouted from somewhere up front.

Catching a glance of the blondes hair, Cashew awkwardly caught up by squealing through the golden teeth of the gate. The only reason he was willing to be here was for the sole reason of finding new ideas of killing Monsuta.

“Let’s see...” Cashew looked over to expect Monsuta once again annoyingly reading one of his books, yet instead found a large, fold-out map of what seemed to be the area of the ‘zoo’ that they were currently in. “It looks like we can follow this general path around the park... and then go through here... and hopefully we will be able to see all of the animals.”

“Are they all found in these little boxes? How are you supposed to keep track of every one of them and make sure they haven’t walked off to another area?” Cashew couldn’t help but doubt this map’s usefulness.

“No~ They are all fenced up inside the boxes so that they are not dangerous to themselves or to the people and other animals around them.”

This only made Cashew look more confused, to witch Monsuta shook his head and instead of wasting any more time explaining he started to walk by the route he had already planned.

“Honestly, I also thought it was queer when I first came here, but once you see the beauty of each exhibit, you kind of forget how strange this world is and instead just accept it. Oh look, we’re already approaching the first exhibit of the Savannah section!”

Monsuta excitedly ran up some stairs towards a large fence like a kid and intently looked inside. Following closely behind, Cashews mouth dropped as a scene of animals from all sorts of shapes, sizes and colours bloomed before him. His eyes took in the view of a large pen holding various stripy, horse creatures, bright pink birds, dogs with terrifyingly large twigs coming out of their heads and grey giants with tails for noses and humongous plates for ears. Cashew felt a shiver as a shadow abruptly swallowed him up and, glancing up, he saw a strange, four legged, spotty animal suddenly loom before him with its frighteningly stretched out legs and neck. It’s head had a pair of little horns and two beady, black eyes with long eyelashes. At the appearance of Cashew, it bowed its head over the fence and suddenly licked him with an alien-like, purple tongue. Shocked and scarred for life, Cashew rigidly stood there and could only stare up at the creature.

“It seems to have taken a liking to you,” It was Monsuta’s annoying laughter that brought Cashew back to earth, making him angrily spin around and stomp his way towards the other.

“What sort of freak show have you brought me to?” he managed to spurt out.

“What? Have you never seen a giraffe before?” Monsuta continued to laugh and instead of helping his, clearly scarred friend, he ripped up a handful of grass that was growing not far from where the two were standing, and placed it into Cashews palm.

“What do you think your doing?”

”It’s okay, all of the animals in here are herbivores. None of them would hurt or eat us on purpose, especially if we act calm and nice to them, so don’t worry and give the giraffe the grass! Look, he’s already drooling over what you’ve got there.”

“Why don’t you do it then?”

Monsuta shrugged and tried to approach the giraffe, who immediately huffed and withdrew back its head. “See, I don’t know why, but animals don’t seem to like me.”

“Oh yeah? How come your cats stay by your side then?”

“First of all,” Monsuta made his way back to where Cashew was standing, a playful look in his eyes, “they aren’t exactly cats, nor do they stay with me all the time. And secondly, they are actually the only ‘animals’ that have stayed around me for this long because they were a gift from my parents. Think of it as a forced, inescapable contract for them to be around me.”

He gave out a little laugh, but quickly grew quiet. Cashew stared and noticed a speck of what looked like sadness bloom on Monsuta’s face. So, he turned around, looked back at the giraffe and upon making eye contact with it, slumped knowing he had no more options. (It seems we are not too different, you and I both becoming orphans within fate’s twisted hands... Of course, my loss is far greater since I have to waste my life living by the person who murdered my parents, but for this one moment, I will do as you say.) He shakily stretched out his arm, to which the giraffe happily bowed down and swept up the clump in one, swift lick, leaving Cashew to just stare with a disgusted expression on his face, to which Monsuta, of course, took the opportunity to laugh at. That bastard even had the audacity to take a quick photograph of Cashew while he was being licked!

“If you look over there, those are called zebras, and over there are elephants. They all come from the Savannah’s of Africa, which I learned from a great magazine by this nature company...”

Monsuta’s usual joy returned and the cloud had passed when he started describing all the different animals that could be found in this area. Then, a few moments later, a loud roar was heard further down the path that they were on and, looking to the side, Cashew read a sign saying ‘Big cats’. Gesturing to Cashew, he immediately quickened his pace and started walking in the direction of the roar.

“Were going to see some measly cats now? Like Sasha and Alphy?”

“No... Big. Cats.”

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

“They look magnificent, truly I have never seen such a creature before, but it’s quite a sad life for them, don’t you think.”

The two men were currently standing in front of an old, metal fence that ran around an enormous pit. Inside they saw two lionesses sprawled on a patch of sunlight, not far from a large, jutting boulder. Their tails flicked lazily from side to side and every once in a while they twitched their ears from a fly or two.

“Yes, but look. They can enjoy everyday with each other under the sunshine and with a full belly. If anything, that sounds like the perfect life for anyone!”

“Despite the fact that your permanent home is inside this pit with people constantly watching you?”

“Why not? Your safe from hunters (except for the ones visiting, haha), there’s enough hiding places for privacy and you’d never get sick or hungry.”

At the exact moment that Monsuta was speaking, a large, golden lion with magnificent, shimmering mane emerged from the shadows of some bushes and leaped up onto the high rock between the Lionesses. A deafening roar echoed once more across the whole zoo as both Cashew and Monsuta stared in awe and amazement.

“I don’t think that justifies catching animals for people’s entertainment... spending life in here would turn every experience into the same memory.”

Cashew slowly looked over to the blonde, who was mesmerised by the king below. Something in the fiery gaze which both Monsuta and the lion shared in common sent shivers down Cashews back. He realised how distant he actually was from the blonde, knowing so little about him and only yesterday finding out that he was spending time with a murderer. What other disgusting secrets could he be hiding?

“So..” his voice low and cold, Cashew turned his gaze back towards the lion, who had sat down and was grooming his mane, “This ‘lion’ is quite a dangerous animal if he is kept so far away from people, right?”

“”Hm? Oh yes, he is known as the ‘king of the jungle’, despite this one originating from the grasslands of Africa. Either way, he’s still one of the most deadly- Huh? Waah!”

Cashew could listen no longer to this guy and instead pushed him over the edge of the fence and into the pit below. (This is finally a full proof plan! I’ve heard all I need to hear: the most deadly animals on the planet surround Monsuta with no means of escape and no help will come before he is clasped by the jaws of the beast.) Cashew excitedly leaned over the fence and watched as Monsuta tumbled down the steep slope and into the pit. With a loud crash, he landed on a pile of dried leaves that normally served as one of the lounging spots for the big cats and a wave of shocked exclamations was heard from the people around. Cashew was momentarily worried that someone from those watching would call for help, but to his great surprise and content, they all took out their phones and started pointing the pieces of metal at Monsuta below. (It seems my plan is going to work, miraculously no one is helping, and now with even more time to spare than I had originally thought!) All three of the lions perked up with interest while Monsuta groaned and slowly pushed himself up and off the leaves. Cashew watched as Monsuta scratched his head and looked up, back at him as if to say something, but immediately turned his head towards the direction of the lions, in which the male had got up and was now slowly making his way towards the blonde. Every one watching held their breaths, unsure of what was going to happen next, including Monsuta who just seemingly continued to stand where he was. Eventually, the lion approached so closely, that his nose was practically touching the man, and then after another, quieter, roar, simply licked the other’s hand and made his way back towards the lionesses. Cashew stared with disbelief at what had just happened as Monsuta looked up at him and gave him two thumbs up. A round of applause exploded from the viewers around, with which Monsuta bowed dramatically and followed the lion into a patch of sun. The lionesses moved warily away from him and then all four of them settled down to sleep until a member of staff surprisedly climbed down to rescue him. They must not have been hungry otherwise he would have...

“You are the luckiest man on this planet.” Cashew whispered while defeatedly sliding down towards the floor and clenching his fists in defeat.

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