Lorna Meets the Lion-Boi

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Crimes to the Third Degree.

Okay. Well. So now I’m having visions. Not in the way you’d think, either. These start as a 2-dimensional visual flash and then I “step into them,” for lack of a better description. Sometimes I step into the person and feel their emotions; sometimes, I just observe.

Flying By Night novelLast year, for my birthday, I got the heart-wrenching gift of empathy that nearly tore me apart. This year’s birthday gift from Spirit isn’t painful in the same way, but already I’ve been shown things about people that shocked me and made me weep hard, but I’ve also been shown things to pass along to others, and many of those things have been dead-on target and have made them sob with realization.

Today, at lunch, I met the Lion-Boi. It was just a flash at first, like looking at a color snapshot. Then it became three-dimensional, like walking into a memory. This time I was meant not to experience his emotions, but to observe. So I plunge into the picture in my mind to see what’s there….

I’m standing in a small room with him, this lion-man, and if he’s aware of me, he doesn’t show it. He’s restless, preoccupied…and he’s in prison.

The room is small and dark, made of painted concrete blocks, the natural light coming from a single window on the far side of the room. The sunlight does not shine directly in, so he cannot even bask in the sun’s rays. The window isn’t barred, but it’s too high to reach to escape. So instead, he spends his restless energy pacing.

His back is to me as he paces, and his eye to the window, to escape, with an attentive ear to something behind me…a gate of iron bars that he’s waiting to be opened. He’s a man but he’s also an upright lion, and he’s…pretty. He is utterly beautiful, as if he’s licked himself clean and his golden fur is spotless. There’s a sense of regal energy about him, very athletic and well-toned, and I want to reach out and pet those fur-covered muscles and calm him and rest his head in my lap while he sleeps. I suddenly want this stunning creature in my own home, roaming freely, sleeping at my feet, licking my hands, letting me feed him and braid his hair.

But I do nothing. I only observe. He is imprisoned and I didn’t put him here and I can’t set him free. My purpose here is only to see him and know that he has to set himself free.

His mane is long on his shoulders and golden, his fur curling wildly about his head. He wears ribbons in his mane—bright blue and bright red where the fur has been braided, Celtic-style. He wears a bright blue jacket, but it’s only so he’ll look the part of a man. It hides his secrets. He wears red pants, too, but as he paces, I see that they have no crotch, that the blue jacket hides this secret as long as he is still, but when he moves freely, it’s clear that he’s no ordinary man. His genitals are large and clean and…pretty. How odd, I think. I’ve always thought the circumcised human penis to be rather unappealing and ludicrous, but there’s a sense of wholeness to the lion, almost unaware of his graceful sway. He wears shoes, too, though they don’t particularly match his clothes. They’re more utilitarian, like loafers, and they are very accustomed to pacing.

And so he paces, to and fro, against the backdrop of walls of concrete blocks. No color in the room but him. His back is mostly to me as he paces, thinking hard about something, his hand-paw to his lips as he pivots and heads in the other direction across the bare floor. The room is small, and dim, and sparse. He is doing without. There’s so little there. I see no bed, no chair, no rug, no comforts. No warmth. No Lioness. He is alone.

Then I notice a bulge in his jacket, where his shoulders blades should be. The jacket hides yet another secret. Beneath the jacket are wings. Large, lush wings of red and blue feathers and golden fur. Ornate, artistic plumage hidden from the rest of the world, but I see them through the jacket he wears, through this mantle of conformity. But he keeps them tightly folded and hidden away as he paces and waits for his prison to open. He does not yet realize that his wings can lift him up and he can escape his prison any time he wishes.

At the last second, before I step out of this scene and close it, he half-turns and looks over his shoulder at me. He flexes his buttocks and smiles. He knows I’m there.