Two roads diverged in a wood, and II
took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken“
Ferrell made his way through the dilapidated ruins of the once great metropolitan
area, mindful of the many dangerous inhabitants that now called it home. He scanned the ruins as he walked down the wide ancient road, which passed through the middle of a number of tall, crumbling buildings, overgrown with ivy and rust. Outside two of the larger buildings, where the grass that sprouted through the concrete was the tallest, he saw something that worried him. A hundred yards in front of them stood a small herd of whitetail deer, that had stopped to feed on some of the poison ivy and poison sumac that grew out of the cracks in the road. Ferrell hesitated because he knew what it meant…trouble. The deer were a favorite food source for the large predators that roamed the overgrown ruins in the mero. It was only a matter of time now.
He was preparing to turn the group back the way they came in an effort to try to find a way around the herd when he saw something out of the corner of his eye. The movement was subtle yet familiar. Crouching low in the grass, their massive sinews tensing as they prepared to attack the herd, was a pride of lions, emerging from the edge of a dark alley between the two buildings to his right. Ferrell turned to face the people with him, pointing toward the big cats. “Slowly,” he whispered, “everyone back away, slowly, no quick movements.”
The three lions launched their attack with lightning speed, quickly moving to flank and encircle the herd. Two of the male lions, a mature, large cat, and a much younger, smaller one, chased after a part of the herd that had split off from the rest and was now running in their direction. The remnant of the herd separated, some to Ferrell’s left and some to his right, but this time the lions did not follow the deer. Instead, they were now racing toward him and his companions. They had encountered human beings before, Ferrell surmised, and had probably discovered that people made for an easier meal than
the much swifter and more agile whitetail deer. Two of the men travelling with him panicked and ran before Ferrell was able to stop them. I told them to stay close to me!
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