It was the last hour of quiet before the world woke up and began
to shake off sleep, before anyone else arose, complained uselessly
to the alarm clock and made coffee. He would get up in the morning
and drive to work, getting into his car just before dawn, enjoying
the luminous milky light that suffused the sky in the hour between
darkness and the cresting of the sun over the horizon. False light,
false dawn. The zoo was across town from his apartment, an oasis
of green amid the endless corridors of concrete. The few trees
that lined his street were stunted, shriveled, as though the frustration
of growing in such an environment had made them sulky. The streets
were empty at that time, and when he got out of the car, he could
always smell it, the verdant scent of green things growing in
the sterility of the city air. Even though his job had certain
monotony to it, it was always something he enjoyed. Feeding the
animals, washing down the back alleys to quell the pungent stench
of urine. They had just changed his assignment, from the ape houses
to feeding the big cats.
first morning it was still raining when he left. The asphalt ribboned
out in front of him. The water sluicing down the street shone
in the headlights, glittered in the dimming light of the streetlamps.
When he turned off the main street and into the parking lot the
whisper of water along the wheels broke his early lethargy. He
walked back into the supply house. He unlocked his cart and began
loading the large plastic containers that sloshed redly, full
of horsemeat and bones thick with gristle. He pushed it along
the narrow pathway behind the enclosures that housed the big cats.
He could smell them before he could see them, and was certain
that the reverse was true. Boots crunching along through the gravel
in the narrow alley, he could hear them starting to wake, the
heavy groaning murmurs, stifled growling and yawns that evolved
into half-roars, the rich coppery smell of meat alerting them
to his presence as much as his man-smell and heavy step.
The tigers were first. The big female pressed her striped flank
against the grating, the white spots on the backs of her ears
winking at him. Her long tail flicked through the bars, thwacking
against his thigh as she moved. Impulsively, he reached out and
stroked her lean rump. She pivoted so quickly that he was stunned,
caught like a small deer in her intense green gaze. Her lips drawn
back over her teeth, the red of her tongue visible in her furry
face, she sucked in a draught of air and made a soft chuffing
noise as he began to put the meat into the concrete trough under
the grate. Kittenishly, she swatted at it with her paw, and then
hooked it out, drawing it into the gaping maw. Chewing meditatively
she wandered further into her enclosure. Jaguars, panthers, cheetahs,
then at the end of the row, the lions.
In the pale gray light of false dawn he could hear them starting
to roar, and the sound raised gooseflesh along the backs of his
arms, made the downy hair at the back of his neck stand on end.
He watched through the grating for a moment as two of the lionesses
lolled about in the tall grass, stretching their powerful limbs,
plumed tails flicking. Splayed, and blinking lazily they made
no motion to rise as he began to pull out yet another trough full
of thick slabs of flesh. He watched as out of the shadows of the
man-made cliff the third lioness stalked forward through the tall
grass, her proud head low between her shoulders, her powerful
flanks swaying slightly as she moved. Her eyes were intense, almost
lambent in the cool pre-dawn light. As she approached he felt
the nervous prickling of his skin, the rush in the blood that
was both fear and excitement. A strange, dark longing overtook
him. He didnít initially realize that he was still holding the
meat in nerveless fingers until she stretched out one languid
paw to swipe at the chunk of flesh. When it hit the back of his
hand, the velvet force of it burned but did not cut his skin.
When she tilted her head to take a bite of the meat, her hot breath
on his hand stirred him with a sudden and nearly palpable force.
She tugged the haunch away from him and retreated into the enclosure.
His trance was shattered by the bounding of the huge lion that
overtook the graceful creature that carried the dripping meat
with her. He snarled half a roar at her and swatted the horseflesh
from her jaws. Murmuring her displeasure she swatted at him, her
black claws glistening in the dim light. Chuffing then, she retreated
into the gloom of the enclosure, but not before looking back at
him over her angular shoulders, her amber eyes gleaming with a
light all their own. He shivered and poured the rest of the gore
into the trough, the last, long bone making a dull clunking as
it rattled against the concrete and then was still. Entranced
yet he watched the beautiful lioness begin to lick her wide paw
and stroke it slowly over her face, behind her ear. He wondered
what it would be like to feel that broad tongue on his chest.
What her dark muzzle would taste like if he ventured to kiss it?
Something dark and sanguine? Something wild? Finally, he grasped
the handles of the cart and drew it away down the path before
he started the remainder of his morning ritual. He locked the
cart, and began to uncoil the heavy black hose. The sharp stream
of water broke his thoughts, washed them away from his immediate
consciousness, but not before he was aware of how his uniform
suddenly didnít feel right against his skin, the seams coarse
and somehow misplaced as he moved.
The following days moved in much the same pattern as the ones
before, like putting together a puzzle whose shapes were so familiar
that one didnít even need to look at the pictures. One moment
interlocking with the next, a repetitious sameness like the drone
of bees in the distance. Feed the tigers, the leopards, the panthers,
the cheetahs, then finally at the end of the row, the great beasts,
the lions. And always, always her with her golden hide and supple
grace, gliding silently over to him through the tall grass, her
gleaming amber eyes never leaving his face. His heart would start
pounding almost before he reached the final cage. Initially, she
was shy of him, aloof. Then, the memory of that first meeting
seemed to make her bolder, almost flirtatious, with him.
She would sidle up to the grating, pressing her slim hip to the
bars, sashay past him then pivot and return, pressing her cheek
against the creaking metal, winking suggestively at him. She would
take the proffered horsemeat delicately in her mouth then turn
and prance, her tail, like her head lifted, then retreat back
to her favorite patch of grass to eat. He would watch her depart,
that long tail aloft, coyly revealing herself to him. Emboldened
by her display, he would sometimes reach out as she stroked her
face against the bars, caress her cheek. He would watch her eyes
close and feel the heaviness of her head as she leaned into him.
Sometimes, when she came up to the grates she approached them
head on, and pressed her black nose slightly between the bars,
sniffing at his groin, her breath making a deep almost chuckling
sound. It would leave a damp imprint on his uniform, the gentle
force of it leaving him erect, nerves flooding with mingled terror
and passion. One day, when she again pressed her muzzle against
his stiffening penis, her great pink tongue flicked out and swiped
the length of him through his trousers.
Their subtle flirtation continued, morning after morning. One
day, when the sun had just barely crested over the horizon he
made his way back to the lion cages, hurried along by the sound
of throaty growls and short, sharp roaring. He turned the corner
and gazed through the bars, unable to move, unable to do anything
save watch. She lay half crouched on the ground, her graceful
hips lifted, her long tail swaying slowly, then flicking up suggestively.
When she twitched her tail higher he caught a glimpse of her furred
sex, the usually secretive lips now flushed, parted and inviting.
Every now and then she emitted a low, murmuring growl, her mouth
barely opening as she swiveled her hips yet again, her plumed
tail sweeping in slow, sensuous arcs. He was not the only male
entranced and aroused by her display. He watched the lion approach
her, his mouth opened, sucking in great gulps of air over his
tongue, tasting her on the wind. As he watched them he thought
he could smell it himself, the sharp muskiness of desire, of need.
Grabbing hold of the bars he leaned up against them as the lion
suddenly sprang at her, gripping her small waist between huge
paws, teeth closing on the nape of her neck as he mounted and
drove into her in a single tearing thrust. The lioness roared
sharply, its pitch strange and ululating. The lionís pelvis ground
against hers in short, rapid jerks and his own penis throbbed
in sympathetic lust as the huge beast suddenly let go of the nape
of her neck and growled a long, moaning roar. Then, half turning
from her reclining pose, she roared fiercely and batted him sharply
across the muzzle, her claws leaving his nose dripping blood.
The metal was soothingly cool as he leaned against it while he
panted, listening to her queer half swallowed roaring. He closed
his eyes for a moment, imagining the feel of her furry flanks
against his thighs, the way her tail would curve up against his
chest as he thrust into her, the intense heat of her body engulfing
him as he drove towards orgasm. Lost, in his daydream, he never
saw her approach, never heard her moving through the tall grass,
until she touched him. The press of her cool muzzle against his
aching penis sent a delicious eruption through him, making him
grasp the rails, his sudden moan punctuated by her throaty chuffing.
Her rough tongue scraping over the fabric stretched over his groin,
as though she wanted to lap up his semen through his clothes.
Without thinking he stroked her sloped brows, her velvety ears,
sighing. She murmured her assent and then wandered back into the
enclosure, dropping to the ground and rolling onto her back. Still,
her eyes never left him; her stare penetrated him to his very
core. She knew.
Later, as he was preparing to end his shift, his radio buzzed.
He almost ignored it. He was hungry to be home to his meal of
rare beef and thoughts of her rough tongue laving over his erect
member. He was already imagining her furry limbs wrapping about
his hips, the sharp sting of claws in his flesh mingling with
the pulsing flame of orgasm in a single stunning conflagration.
They wanted him at the vet station near the lion house. Shutting
his locker, he ran down the back pathways, the gravel grating
underfoot. When he arrived he saw his lioness stretched out on
the steel examining table, her breath slow and labored, her beautiful
amber eyes open, but unfocused. He overheard the vet saying that
she was sedated; they just needed someone to hold her head while
they cleaned her teeth. Nodding dumbly, he walked around the table,
and stroked the sharp angle of her cheekbone and watched as her
eye closed slowly, her exhalation almost a sigh. The doctor left
the room to get his implements. He caressed her face, and as the
door to the examination room closed, leaned down and kissed her
muzzle, her breath against his cheek molten and full of the metallic
tang of blood. He stroked her chest, the soft fur of her belly.
Wrapping his arms around her chest he lay his head against her
ribs and listened to the distant thunder of her heart, the force
of her breathing lifting his body as her chest rose and fell.
slid his hand along her belly, between her hind legs and up towards
her tail. One of her hind paws twitched slightly. Another deep,
leonine sigh. He rose and walked around her again stroking her
magnificent muscles through her rough fur, watching her limbs
stretch out, her paws dangling loosely while her chest rose and
fell. He went home, tossed his keys on the table, fixed his supper.
He wondered what it would be like to just take the keys, open
the grates and come to her, press his naked and tender flesh against
her hairy frame. It burned, that thought, firing along his nerves
leaving him distracted, unfocused. The scent of charred flesh
brought him back from his thoughts of the imaginary veldt to his
now smoky kitchen. His dinner was tasteless, the over-cooked meat
bland and gritty between his teeth. Pacing the confines of his
apartment the walls became the bars of his own cage. He flicked
on the television, trying to drive the image of her lean, muscular
movement from his mind. The flickering light and the noise of
the inane sitcoms and pointless blather of the news only drove
his thoughts further into their loop. Finally, he pulled on his
coat and walked down the street, gulping down great lung-fulls
of cool air. His feet found their way to the pub at the corner.
He entered and pulled up a stool at the bar and ordered a beer.
Staring into the foamy depths of the glass, he watched the people
gather and prowl. Men with hot eyes, nostrils flaring as if scenting
for the right woman, women preening to attract their stares.
young woman with light brown hair sat on the barstool next to
him. She smiled and laughed, tossing her glossy tresses over her
shoulder. But when she smiled her teeth were too flat, too even.
Her eyes held no light for him, no fire: they were the soft, docile
eyes of a heifer. Her own woman smell lost under layers of powder
and deodorant, the thick smell of expensive perfume that made
her smell somehow soured, like overripe cheese. He missed her,
with her luminous eyes and supple gait, her long tail swaying
languidly behind her. He paid his tab and left, the yeasty scent
of beer clinging to his skin, making him uneasy. He went home
and shed his clothes walking down the hall to the bathroom. Standing
under the hot shower he scrubbed the last vestiges of his evening
at the bar from his body, trying to eliminate from his pores the
powdery scent of the girl who sat next to him. As the water streamed
down his back he could catch the last wisps of her scent: the
pungent smell of a cat in heat, the fertile scent of estrus.
The sulfurous light of the streetlamps drowned the moonlight as
he got back into his car. The old engine coughed into life, belching
exhaust into the cooling night air. The car seemed to know its
own way along the roads to the zoo, making the turns and stops
almost without his intervention. He wasnít surprised to step out
into the parking lot and hear the shift of the gravel beneath
his boots; he was only surprised that it had taken him so long
to arrive. He had been there all evening in his thoughts, in his
fantasies. The back paths were devoid of human life, his sapient
presence unique as he hurried down the long muddy path behind
the big cats. The great tigress muttered as he stalked past, her
green eyes flickering like will-o-wisps in the moonlight, her
striped flanks fading into the background of dense foliage, her
coughing roar breaking the stillness, heralding his approach.
The lionís den in moonlight seemed alien, the tall grasses like
silver statues whistling a soft atonal tune. There, in the midst
of the glinting grass she stood, a statue of gold, her only movement
the expansion and contraction of her ribs. He unlocked the grate.
The iron bars creaked faintly as he pushed the door inward, the
hinges pulling it closed behind him. She never moved from the
small rise, her beautiful head high, her nostrils flaring as he
She only blinked before she turned and walked slowly into the
enclosure. She dropped to the grass in front of him, her slender
backside half lifted, her lovely tail swishing against the tall
grasses, lifting subtly at the end of each stroke. The buttons
seemed to part on his uniform of their own accord, the tan work-shirt
and trousers falling into rumpled heaps as he approached her.
He reached out and stroked her delicate flank, and she wrapped
her long plumed tail behind his head, tickling him under one ear.
Her musky scent distinct, even amid the tall grass, his erect
penis shuddering with his heartbeat. She growled an assent as
he wrapped his arms loosely around her narrow hips and entered
her. Her flesh boiling hot as he began to move, the scrape of
fur against his thighs strange yet rapturous. Her deep, sonorous
voice sent vibrations through her body, tantalizing and driving
him ever closer to climax. His fingers were clenched in her golden
hide, and she looked back over her shoulder at him, her amber
eyes reflecting instead peerless blue in the moonlight.
He cried out sharply as he came. Her black lips pulled back over
her sharp, white teeth and she gave an abbreviated roar, her great
paw buffeting his head and neck. The red blood spurting black
as his testicles pumped the last bit of fluid into her heaving
recesses. Then he was falling. He couldnít seem to catch his breath.
Funny. The lioness twitched her long tail, then rose and snuffed
at his neck, her warm breath in his ear. He closed his eyes, their
last image her burning gaze through the silvered grass.
What do you really want to know about a former Catholic schoolgirl
who writes stories like this? What flavor of ice cream that I
like? I read de Sade and giggle, I read the paper and weep. You
figure it out.
© 2003 by Galloway