Hey…It’s late, and I’m tired, and my left ankle hurts (I have no idea why). I’m going to bed in a bit (still debating the wisdom of having a midnight snack in light of my recent weight gain), but I owe you the rest of The Egg Shower.
Here it is:
Mrs. Jones got up from the nest and hurried to her husband’s side. “Why is she here?” she said, her voice shaking as she watched the hyena make her way through the party.
“For the celebration?” C.K. said, raising an eyebrow.
“Tell me the truth!”
“Jones! Aren’t you going to come down and welcome me personally? Or is your wife going to do it?” Zelda yelled, her voice startling the Jones who looked down to see her pawing the foot of their tree.
“Don’t you dare go down there” Mrs. Jones said.
“Come on down crane. Let’s chat,” called out Zelda, “I’ll let you do all the talking. You’d like that, wouldn’t you?”
“Don’t”, Mrs. Jones said, and her eyes filled up with tears, “please.”
He nodded, and said, “Very well”, and then to Zelda, “My apologies, Zelda. I know I should come down and welcome you personally, but my wife needs me to warm the egg.”
“Come down or I’ll start eating your guests.”
At that, all the meerkats zipped away, but the giraffes laughed. “Says one hyena”, one said to a zebra.
“You can laugh, but there’s no telling the tricks she could be up to”, said the zebra, as she looked around, “maybe her pack is hiding and just waiting to pounce.”
“I doubt that. Hyenas aren’t that bright.”
Zelda snarled and ran at the talking giraffe. The zebra that had been leaning forward to listen to the giraffe took off without a word of warning, but the giraffe just took a couple of steps back.
“You can’t hurt me”, she muttered, “you’re just a stupid hyena”. Zelda snarled, and then pounced on her. The giraffe shrieked, and a small stampede started as the guests tried to get away.
“Stop! Please stop!” Mrs. Jones called out, but the hyena ignored her or didn’t hear her. The giraffe was trying to shake her off, but Zelda opened her mouth as wide as she could, and sunk her teeth into the giraffe’s thigh.
Mrs. Jones eyes and red wattle like sac bulged as she watched the struggle, then she turned to her husband, “Do something, C.K.”. He nodded and swooped down, past the running guests to the tussle.
“Zelda, let her go.”
Zelda growled, and sunk her teeth further into the giraffe’s thigh. The giraffe cried out in pain, and C.K. gulped as blood started to trickle down.
“Come now, Zelda”, he said, lifting off the ground so he could be eye level with the hyena, “I thought you came to see me.”
The hyena growled, blood gurgling in her throat, and sunk her teeth in.
Zelda’s eyes narrowed into slits and she jumped off the giraffe, taking a chunk of its flesh with her. The giraffe screamed and ran away with blood running down her leg. C.K. turned to look at his wife. She was crying. Zelda laughed, and he turned back to see her chewing, “I let her go”.
Jones still in mid air, turned around, and flew back to his nest.
“Oh, thank the sky!”, his wife said, hugging him as he landed. He squeezed her back with a smile, “I was hardly in any danger. You know hyenas aren’t that bright.”
“I heard that!” yelled Zelda.
“Well, what are you going to do about it?” yelled back C.K., puffing out his chest.
Zelda ran at the tree. She managed to take a few steps on its skinny trunk before sliding down with a snarl.
Jones snorted, and said to his wife, “I told you, not too bright.”
“Come down, Jones”, said Zelda, having up righted herself, “I just want to talk.”
“Whatever you have to say to him, he can listen from up here”, said Mrs. Jones, her wings still wrapped around her husband.
Zelda laughed. “I don’t think he would like you to hear our discussion”.
“My wife and I have no secrets.”
“I don’t think you would like to hear our discussion”, said Zelda, still addressing Mrs. Jones.
Mrs. Jones looked at her husband, “What-
“Out with it hyena” yelled C.K., “and stop wasting our time.”
“The lions are coming for me.”
“Why should this concern me?”
“They are coming for me because of what you told them.”
C.K. said, “I know you, like most animals on the savannah, think highly of me and believe that I share company with such kingly creatures as the lions, but it’s just not true.”
“They told me you told them.”
“They told you? We now run with the lions, do we?”
“They told the leader of my pack.”
“Hmm. Just like a hyena to fudge the details” C.K. said to his wife, who was still clutching his shoulders.
The hyena snarled. “You told them I killed one of their cubs.”
“Did you not?”
“So you did tell them?”
“No, I did not.”
“It was you. You told them you saw me snatch the cub and take it to the bush.”
“Again with the accusations. Really Zelda-
“Shut up! You told them I crushed its skull!”
“Did you not?”
“How could I crush the skull of a lion cub. With these jaws? There’s a reason hyenas scavenge.”
“Your defence is of no interest to me. You should save it for the lions.”
“They aren’t interested in listening to a hyena. They attacked my pack, wounded our leader-
“They said it was a warning, that she had to give up the hyena that killed the cub.”
“And your pack gave you up? You should take your grouse to them.”
“You are the reason they gave me up!”
“What on earth?!” he shrugged out of his wife’s grip, and flew off the tree to hover above Zelda, “first, I’m the reason the lions are after you. Next, I’m the reason your pack gave you up. Really Zelda, what are you talking about?”
“You told one of my cousins that you saw me with a dead lion cub.”
“I did see you with a dead lion cub.”
“But I didn’t kill it”, she said, raising her voice, “I found it in the bush. It was already dead.”
“A likely story.”
“It’s the truth.”
“Fine. Again, of no concern to me.”
“What do you mean it’s of no concern to you? You told them I killed it.”
“I mentioned, in passing, what I saw – you feeding on the carcass of a dead lion cub. If your cousin inferred something else, then how is that my fault?”
“You see, I have no fault in this unfortunate misunderstanding.”
Zelda nodded, and said, “Okay, come back and tell them that you only saw me with a dead cub, you didn’t see me kill it.”
“Why would I do that?”
“So they can defend me when the lions come back.”
“They wouldn’t stand a chance, but I meant why would I go with you to your pack?”
Zelda blinked, and shook her head as if to clear it, “So you can tell them the truth.”
C.K. shrugged. Zelda took a couple of steps back, staring at him, “The lions will kill me.”
“I would rather not be in the company of hyenas.”
Zelda shook her head again, and started pacing. “Alright, go to the lions for me. Tell them this is all a misunderstanding.”
“Again, why would I do that?”
“Because you started this misunderstanding.”
“Unfortunate, but not my fault.”
Zelda sighed, and stopped pacing. “If you tell them that you only saw me with the carcass-
“No, no, not possible.”
“The lions won’t hurt you-
“No, I mean I can’t say that. I already told them one thing, if I went back to tell them something else it would look bad.”
“They won’t hurt you”.
“Oh I know that, but my integrity would take a hit.”
“Yes. People won’t believe a word i say afterwards if I do that.”
“You lied. Your integrity already has holes in it.”
“Just to you, and let’s face it, you won’t be here for long.”
Zelda stared at him, then at Mrs. Jones, “You’ve got yourself quite a catch there.”
“Why don’t you leave Zelda?” C.K. said, “You’ve already disrupted my party. If you leave now, maybe try to get off the savannah, you may escape.”
Zelda shook her head as he continued, “Although, I hear there are humans just outside the savannah, and they aren’t very friendly. Only the sky knows what they would do to a hyena.”
Just then she lunged upwards, but he was too high for her and she fell backwards unto her back with a whimper.
C.K. laughed and returned to his perch, then said, “Why don’t you go home Zelda? Say goodbye to your family. Wrap this up with some dignity.”
Zelda up righted herself and started jogging round the tree.
“What is she doing?” whispered Mrs. Jones who was now sitting on the egg. A stiff breeze blew at C.K.’s gold crown as he called out, “Zelda, what are you doing?”
She gave a short snarl, and picked up her pace.
“I don’t know”, he said to his wife. Then Zelda threw her body against the trunk of the skinny tree. Mrs. Jones gasped as the tree wobbled a bit but that might as well have been caused by the night breeze.
“Don’t worry, my dear”, said C.K. as he watched Zelda resume jogging round the tree, “It’s a skinny tree but her weak hyena body will never break it.”
Zelda threw herself against the tree again. More wobbling. Back to jogging.
C.K. continued, “At least not before the lions get here.”
“The lions are coming here?” his wife asked, as she adjusted herself more securely on the nest.
“Yes. By now they must have heard about the disruption of our party by a hyena. They’ll know it’s the same hyena that they are looking for.”
Zelda threw herself again. The tree wobbled. “C.K.”, Mrs. Jones said, and he turned around to see her with her wings spread out as the nest wobbled. “She’s trying to crash the nest.”
“Zelda! Stop!” C.K. yelled, spreading out his wings to fly down to face her.
“No, don’t leave. Your weight will make it harder for her.”
C.K. nodded and went to join his wife on the nest, as Zelda continued her assault.
They huddled together, and she whispered to him, “I love you.”
He scratched her back with his beak, and said, “I love you too.”
“What did you tell the lions?”
“The truth”, he replied, squaring his shoulders.
“Zelda killed their cub.”
Mrs. Jones inhaled, then asked, “You saw it happen?”
“I didn’t have to see it happening. I saw her feeding on the dead cub in the bush. I knew what had happened.”
“So you went to the lions and told them that Zelda had snatched their cub from under their noses, crushed its skull and was eating it? Did you see all this happen?.”
“What else could have happened?”
“Maybe Zelda is telling the truth.”
“What does it matter?”
“She’ll die because of something you said.”
C.K. huffed and shrugged his shoulders, “Everyone dies eventually. It’s the when and how that’s the question.”
“And you’re okay with being the how in this question?”
“What? How is this my fault?”
“Why did you have to tell the lions? Even if you truly believed that hyena killed a lion cub. Why did YOU have to be the one to talk?”
“I had to tell what I saw”, he said.
Mrs. Jones looked down, and said, “The lions are here.”
One lion and three lionesses had appeared soundlessly from the darkness, and surrounded Zelda and the tree.
Zelda’s teeth were bared, and she was breathing heavily. The lion roared, and Zelda whimpered, backing up till her back hit the tree’s trunk.
“This will be over quickly”, said the lion.
“No”, snarled one of the lionesses, her eyes glinting in the moonlight, “She killed my baby. I want her to suffer.”
“There is no honour in that”, replied the lion, staring at the quivering hyena, “besides, she seems weak. I doubt it could provide sport even if you wanted it to.”
The loin roared again, and Zelda whimpered.
“You see”, he said, addressing his consorts, “Too weak even for sport.”
Zelda sniffed and said, “I didn’t kill that cub.”
The lion raised his head to the cranes in the tree above, “We were told otherwise.”
C.K. cleared his throat, and flew down to the lion, “Err yes, as I said before, err, I did indeed see a hyena, err, kill a lion cub.”
“Was it this hyena?” the lion asked quietly.
“Well, I did see this hyena eating the remains of the cub, so one can only assume-
“One can only assume that I was scavenging” Zelda said, spitting the words out with a snarl.
“On my baby”, screamed the lioness, as she lunged for Zelda. Zelda raised her paws to fight the lioness off but they got caught in her attacker’s mouth. C.K. flapped himself back up the tree, out of harm’s way.
“Stop”, the lion roared, but the lioness clamped her jaws shut and crushed the bones in Zelda’s paw. Zelda howled, and the other lionesses pounced.
“It’s calling its pack.”
“The nerve of the lowlife”.
Blood splattered on the tree’s trunk of the tree, and the sound of ripping flesh was heard as bits of fur and innards flew about. Zelda was being torn apart.
“C.K.” said Mrs. Jones, burying her head in her husband’s feathers.
“It will be over soon.” he whispered, and it was.
The lions left, and the silence of the savannah washed over the cranes.
Mrs. Jones raised her head, and said, “You did this.”
“What?” he asked, blinking, still holding her in his arms.
She pushed him off her and walked to their nest.
“I love you but I will not raise a chick with you”, she said, and nudged their egg out of their nest and off the tree.
“What? No!” he said, reaching for her, and then flying down to catch the egg, and then watching it slip through his feathers.
Crack! It landed on some of Zelda’s remains; its content seeping out and running alongside her blood. He raised his head, “What have you done?”
“I want nothing to do with you”, she said, and then she flew away.
That was the last time he saw her.