The cat rested through the day, occasionally looking out of half of one eye, toward where the new members of the pride passed back and forth, all of them making believe the cat wasn’t there. The cat passed semi-conscious moments reflecting on how easy it would be to leap up, dive out of the cleft, and then latch on to one of them, the smallest appearing to probably be the most delectable. But, for some reason he couldn’t quite grasp, his taste for fire cooked fish had grown, while his taste for raw living meat had lessened considerably. Also, the new members of the tribe ignored him, as if they knew they were in the pride. How was he, the dominant male cat he was, supposed to react to new pride members who had never been approved of, welcomed or even inspected in any way for pride membership?
The fall into the river had been more devastating than the cat could have imagined, prior to his great leap. There’d been no air he could take in, ice cold water moving fast toward a deadly waterfall, and then the swim, as short as it had been, had almost been terminal. The fur that thickly covered the rest of his body was almost nonexistent along the entire stretch of his belly. The pain from his belly skin’s flat impact with the water remained with him, and every move was discomforting, if not agonizing. Night time would come, but the cat wouldn’t hunt. Possibly, the younger human would catch and cook more fish, although with the addition of more members to the pride, what fish prepared might have to be fought over.
The human he’d attacked up at the encampment had provided no sustenance at all. His attack had never been intended to be the beginning or culmination of a hunt. The attack had been to warn the humans that a great predator already roamed the territory they were thinking about entering and occupying.