With the dramatic move of a teenager, the lion tosses his mane back and stretches his front paws out within a slow deliberate grace, turns his head and asks
“Should we be off?”
You look left and right, but there is no one else in the yellow stone street but you. The sun is rising, the air is warming and by the quiet on the street, most people must still be asleep.
By the look on your face, it’s obvious you are more than a little confused by this giant beast behaving like a primadonna, apparently talking to you.
You are completely unsure of what to do, but decide in a split second, that a talking playful lion, is probably not that dangerous, and perhaps it’s best to play along.
So you say, “yes I’m ready”.
He gestures to the carriage that’s sat behind him.
“Hop on, but grab these first, so you don’t fall off”, he offers.
He opens his paw out to you, with a set of battered leather reins in them.
His paw is about 5 times the size of your hand, but soft and kind looking. Just like a giant cat. You gently take the raggedy reins and hop on to the carriage behind. It’s actually more of a cart, with a bench placed on it, but it’s comfortable enough when you sit down.
And then you are off, your red cape blowing in the wind, the air-cooling your face, as the lion swiftly moves through the yellowstone streets. You feel powerful, alive and strong. You were born to sit atop this carriage, mastering wild creatures and navigating cobblestone streets with grace.
You feel like you could do anything and everything. A warm glow from your heart moves through your body and tears prick your eyes.
You don’t even notice, where you are going? The feeling just carries you along. You are lost completely in the warmth of love that envelops you.
You stand now in front of a group of what appears to be a market. Women display their luscious fruit, exotic vegetables, and delicately balanced eggs on small wicker stands. You assume they belong to women, for there is a group of them huddled in the far corner of the square, chattering together. Their gloriously enticing wares stand unattended.
You walk over to the first stand, they all turn around and stare, and almost instantly regain their huddle. The whispers increase, the loud chatter reduces. You know they are watching you and talking about you.
Your beautiful red cape, covered in flamboyant yellow flames, looks out of place in the grey marketplace you note. The fruit looked so vibrant and enticing from far away, but as you got closer, you realized that it must have been some sort of a mirage.
The fruit is old, rotting in parts, mirrored by the ragged and subdued attire of the whispering women and greyed out market square. The air feels vacant and lifeless. It’s gone eerily cold, with shadows so dark in the corners that you begin to feel unease moving through you.
One of the women walks over and asks you what you want. She’s not unfriendly, but the way she’s looking at your cape is making you uncomfortable.
You say that you came for the vibrant fruit. She looks confused as if you had asked a stupid question.
“Why are you wearing that clothing”, she says? Why is it so bright? It makes no sense to wear something like that here. It’s hurting my eyes she says. Best to remove it, it’s safer not to be so bright here.
“Why”, you ask? “Is color dangerous here”?
“It’s just better for everyone”, she says.
You are very confused. Just 10 minutes ago, you were having the time of your life, and now stood here in this dark shadow land of a tiny town, you feel so sad and confused, and you want to cry.
A swarm of blue butterflies descend on you and the town, and the sun comes out. Brilliant blue, like the blue of the most turquoise sea. Thousands and thousands of them filling the air, and covering everything in the town with a haze of blue.
Your eyes are momentarily blinded by the azure. You wonder where the whispering women have gone. Were they a mirage too you wonder?
Just then you hear your name being called out. You spin around and there’s the lion waiting.
“Come on he says, it’s time to go. And where is your cape”?
You look down and it’s in your hand. You don’t even remember removing it.
“Put it back on and lets leave the azures to do their work here lady, he offers dramatically”
“What’s your name you ask him”?
“Sapian”, he says.