The Lion Prince
Timothy had been wandering the savannah for what felt like hours. The heat from the sun felt like it was baking him, and he could feel the sunburns starting to form on his bare arms.
“I really wish I hadn’t of dressed like this” he lamented to himself. He had worn a simple outfit of sorts, sneakers and a tee shirt. He had figured that dressing lightly would serve him well in the heat but he didn’t take into account that leaving so much of his skin exposed would leave him vulnerable. Then again, he really didn’t expect his all terrain vehicle and its radio to break down. He had been forced to abandon the vehicle and had spent the better part of the last 2 hours searching for shelter.
He had been sweating buckets for the past 2 hours and the heat was starting to take its toll. He knew that at this rate, he would dehydrate very quickly and once that happened, he wouldn’t last long. He thought of turning back but knew all that would lead would be more sun. He found a rock and sat down on it to relax and catch his breath. In hopes of cooling down, he took off his shirt and laid it down on the rock beside him. He wiped his brow and took a deep breath. The air was so hot, that each breath seemed to warm him up more and more. Just as he thought he couldn’t go any further, something in the distance caught his eye. He couldn’t tell what it was exactly, but it seemed to be a large outcropping of a rock, and he could have sworn there was green on top of it!
“Shade, a forest! There must be water!” he excitedly said as he got up. He wasn’t sure why he had seen it moments ago when he sat down. Was it an illusion? Was he hallucinating? He knew that he couldn’t survive out here and despite the fact that the appearance of the rock and forest seemed ‘to good to be true’, he knew he had little choice. He resumed walking towards the promising image, thinking thoughts of being in the shade and having access to water to keep himself going.
Each step towards the rock and forest was increasingly difficult, but he strove to fight to make it. Every passing second seemed like an eternity and after what felt like hours, he arrived. He found himself standing on top of the outcropping of rock. The path he had had taken was on slow accent towards it. He gazed out at the savannah; it seemed to stretch on for an eternity. He breathed a sigh of relief and turned around. Before him was a thick and lush forest and he could hear water running. As he walked towards the forest he look back at the rock.
“It’s just like the one from the Lion King, except I don’t remember a forest here. This is all so strange, so convenient. But what other choice do I have?” he asked out loud, although he didn’t really expect a response. He turned around to again face the forest and walked into it.
The trees provided excellent shaded from the sun, providing a break not only from the heat, but also from the glare of the sun against his eyes. He was confused by one thing; something seemed to be missing from the forest. It wasn’t long before he figured just what that something was. There didn’t seem to be any animals in the forest, no birds chirped, no primates crawled around the trees and there weren’t even insects crawling around the moist soil. Something inside of him was telling him that it was a trap and to get out now, but something about the forest seemed to be luring him in. He could hear running water that was very close. The forest may have shielded him from the sun, but he was still in desperate need of water. He walked towards the source of the sound until he was greeting by a mild spray of cool mist. He knew he was close and quickly ran though the trees, weaving his way in and out of the them until he came to the most beautiful site he had ever seen. Before him was a large sparking lake with a majestic waterfall on the other side. He couldn’t take it anymore he needed that water. Without a second thought, he stripped off the rest of what he was wearing and ran into the lake. The cool water felt incredible against his skin. The water was so clean and it’s temperate was just right, cool enough to cool him down but mild enough not to freeze him. His thirst didn’t take long to get the better of him, and he lowered his head and took in a mouthful. The water felt incredible in his mouth, it was like his entire mouth was coming alive. He swallowed the water, the feeling of the water going down into his stomach incredibly refreshing. He could feel the life returning to him with each passing second. He couldn’t believe his fortune, he felt so refreshed that he yelled in relief and began laughing. If this truly was too good to be true, then from his point of view, it was worth it. What he didn’t know was that in the distance he was being watched by a figure that was very careful to hide itself.
He couldn’t be sure how long he had been in the water for. After a dive under the water, he surfaced to see something standing at the shore watching him. He wasn’t sure what it was but it didn’t look quite human. He started swimming towards the surface, hoping to find out just what the creature was. He was suddenly overcome by a wave of dizziness. A bright blue light, which was so bright that he had to close his eyes, filled the entire area. When the light dissipated several seconds later, he opened his eyes. The forest still looked the same, but it had come to life! Standing on the surface to his right were a pair of elephants, flying through the sky over the lake were birds of species he had never seen. Sounds filled his ears, alerting him to just how full of life the forest truly was.
The strange looking figure was still standing on the shore and who or whatever it was stared at him. His curiosity got the better of him and he swam towards the figure, eventually reaching the shore. He could see that he definitely wasn’t human and seemed to be a primate of some sort. He was standing on two feet and eyed Timothy curiously.
“Who are you? Where did all of the animals come from? Where did this place come from?” he asked. The figure put his right hand on Timothy’s shoulder and reached his left arm over to retrieve a sceptre that he had resting upright in the soil.
“I could sense though the winds of time that you were in need of assistance. I was able to create a duplicate forest for a short time atop the plateau in your time to lure you here and save you.” The figure said. Something about his voice was oddly familiar, but Tim couldn’t seem to figure it out. He also couldn’t figure out what he meant by the winds of time and duplicate forest.
“Where is this place and who are you? What do you mean by a duplicate forest and winds of time? How are you able to speak and why did you need to lure me here?” Timothy inquired the apprehension in his voice becoming evident. The creature smiled, hoping to calm Timothy down.
“It is difficult to explain, even I do not fully understand it. But you are not longer in your own world. I brought you here because I wanted to make you one of us. It was no accident that you ended up stranded and found the forest. Come, its time for you to join us, to become a part of the family.” The figure said as he smiled. Timothy backed up slightly, he knew that this forest was too good to be true. He should have known better then to enter it. But it seemed too late to turn back now, whatever this creature was going to do to him, it seemed as if he had no choice but to allow it.
“No, this isn’t what I wanted! All I wanted was some shelter, not be taken away like this!” Timothy desperately exclaimed. The creature (which was still familiar) frowned at him. His frown turned to a comforting smile and he held out his sceptre and began to chant words Timothy didn’t recognise. Before Timothy could react, a beam of light emanated from the sceptre and struck him square in the chest. Everything went fuzzy for several seconds as his mind was bombarded with images of lions. He saw them running through the savannah and an adult lion that looked very familiar. The array of images commenced with a baby that seemed to be calling to him. As the image faded and everything came back into focus, Timothy looked at the creature, suddenly realising who he was.
“It’s impossible, you’re not real, you’re just cartoon character! And this place, no it can’t be, it’s not real! That was all just a movie!” Timothy moaned, suddenly feeling itchy on his chest. He looked down to see a patch of light cream fur that wasn’t there a second ago now occupying the centre of his chest as if it has always been there. Before he could react, the fur began to spread, quickly encompassing the rest of his chest!
“What’s going on? What are you doing to me?” Timothy asked, his voice trembling not only at the site of the fur, but at everything that was going on.
“I think you already know, embrace your destine Timothy” the create said as he walked away, leaving Timothy alone for the time being. Timothy gasped in horror at what was transpiring. As impossible as all of this seemed, it was happening for real. He looked back down at his body to see that the changes have progressed. The cream fur on his chest was now a pelt. The fur spread quickly to his arms, growing in as a very light orange colour. The entire world seemed to be growing and it didn’t take him long to realise that it wasn’t the world that was growing, but he that were shrinking. His arms started to shrink while at the same time becoming thicker. His thumbs started shrinking and absorbing into his hands (which were becoming more rounded and thicker). His remaining fingers began undergo a change similar to what his arms had undergone. They started to shrink but at the same time thickened. His fingernails were growing longer and sharper, becoming much more claw like. His neck and face itched as the fur spread up from his torso onto them, growing in light orange on both. His face felt as if it was expanding and his sense of smell suddenly came alive. His arms were changing fast and before he lost the ability to move them enough, he brought his quickly changing hand (which was looking more and more paw like by the second) up to his face. What he felt was shocking, his nose and mouth didn’t feel human. He opened his mouth to feel his teeth and discovered that they felt like razors! Shocked at what he felt and afraid to feel more, he lowered his arms back down to his sides.
His legs (like his arms) were getting shorter and thicker as his feet morphed almost like putty to become much shorter but rounder. Light orange fur grew down his legs as a tingling feeling manifested itself at the base of his spine. He tried to feel the area with his hands, but in the seconds since lowering his arms, they had changed so drastically that it was impossible. He felt movement inside of torso, his bones were changing and his organs were rearranging themselves. The science part of his mind told him that there was no way he could realistically survive such a thing and that even if he could the pain alone should have been insane, yet he felt no pain or any discomfort.
His centre of gravity began to shift as the changing bones in his torso changed the shape of it to a more rounded feline shape. His arms shifted position, forcing them to point directly out and he quickly was forced onto all fours. The bones in his neck shifted to make his head and face point forward while on all fours. A final change was made as his feet shifted from a plantigrade to a digitigrade position and it seemed complete.
He walked for a few seconds in his new form simply breathing in deeply to take in all the new scents his newly enhanced sense of smell allowed him to. His changed ears perked up as he realised just how much more he could hear like this. The entire world seemed much more alive. He walked over to the lake and looked at the water to see his reflection, seeing a lion cub looking back at him. He heard something walk up behind him and his sense of smell told him it was the creature that had changed him. He turned around to see what he wanted.
“Welcome to your new life. Now I must go, brining you here has upset the balance of the cosmos. I must go and restore it. Please feel free to take the time to get used to your new form.” The creature said. Timothy angrily ran up to him and growled at him.
“Why did you do this to me? What gives you the right! Why make me a lion? Why did you take me away from my life! And most of all, why can I talk?” Timothy angrily asked.
“Temper temper, my new cub. This is your destiny. The king needs a prince who someday will become king. But I must hurry, if the imbalance I have created last’s much longer, disaster will befall us all.” The creature said. As he began to walk away, Timothy pursued him suddenly realising who he was and what all of those imagine were.
“Wait a second, you’re Rafiki aren’t you? And the King, it’s Simba isn’t it? All those images I saw, they were memories weren’t they? But you are from a cartoon, not reality, how is this possible?” he asked. Rafiki smiled and petted the young on the head.
“It is difficult to explain but what you saw in that movie was in essentially real. Our two realities are connected. What you saw in that movie was a sort of window into this reality. I must go now, the imbalance I have created must be repaired.” Rafiki said.
“Okay, but one more question, what about my family and friends? I don’t want them to lose me, that’s not fair to them.” Timothy asked, realising the effects of this on his friends and especially on his family.
“Don’t worry my child, there is a male lion that wishes to experience life as a human. He will be given your memories as you were given his, but you will both still remember who you are and who you were. He will become your human self as you have become his younger lion self. He will live as you as you will be able to live as he has.” Rafiki said.
“But I’ll never see them again, and he’ll never see his family again, that’s not fair to either of us.” Timothy said.
“In time you will both be given the opportunity to return to the exact point in which you left as you were before you changed. But before you consider that, give life here a chance, you’ll come to enjoy it.” Timothy nodded and watched as Rafiki chanted again before his sceptre began to glow and he and the sceptre vanished. Tim looked at the forest before him, knowing that to his family at least he was not gone and that some day he could see them again comforted him. But until that day, it was time to see what this life and this body had to offer. He slowly walked out the beautiful forest and into the Savannah. The hot sun of the savannah felt incredible against his fur. He didn’t know for sure where he was. He wasn’t sure exactly how, but something in his mind told him which way to go to get pack to pride rock.
He walked for what felt like hours, this time the sun didn’t seem so bad against him, but he was getting tried and needed to rest. As he lay down and closed his eyes, he could hear someone approaching him. He opened his eyes and sniffed the air. He acute sense of smell told him that it was not only another lion but also a familiar one. He stood up and watched as the lion approached him and smiled at him.
“There are you my Son. Welcome to your new life” he said. Timothy looked at up at the large adult male lion.
“You’re Simba aren’t you?” he asked. Simba nodded his head and nuzzled against the cub.
“And you are the new Prince and my new Son. I choose you personally for this; it is your destiny. Common, lets go home, I’ll explain everything on the way.” Simba said. Timothy got up, but he very tried from the walk and yawned loudly.
“I’m so tired.... Dad, can we rest here?” he asked. Simba again smiled.
“It’s been a hard day for you, you can ride on my back.” He said, as he knelt down for Timothy, which allowed him to climb on top of him. Once he made sure the cub was comfortable he continued back towards Pride rock.
“So why did you choose me? What is my role here?” Timothy asked.
“I needed someone to be a Prince and male heir, and a companion for my daughter Kiara. I choose you out of three possible other people. Your personality was right for the job, life here is good and you’ll come to enjoy it.” Simba said. Timothy smiled and nodded his head and drifted off to sleep.
Meanwhile in Timothy’s reality, a few hours later as Timothy and Simba bonded.
Under pride rock in the shade, the new human breathed in the new air as he put his clothing on. Rafiki petted his shoulder and smiled.
“Think of it, a whole world of new experiences open to you. With these memories you will be able to live as Timothy and with yours he will be able to live as you. You will both be able to experience things you never imagined and things you never thought possible.” He said.
“Thank you for allowing me to experience this. How long will it be before rescue arrives?” the new human asked.
“Don’t worry, they will be here soon. But now I must depart. Enjoy your new life, don’t worry, I will not abandon you. From time to time, I will drop on by to see how are doing. But for now I must go.” Rafiki said. He and the new human hugged before he chanted another spelled which send him back his home reality. The new human which would now be known as Timothy smiled and sat down as he heard a helicopter approaching, rescue was on it’s way.
In a small but comfortable cave that overlooked Pride Rock, Simba arrived with Timothy.
“That was fun playing Dad. Thank you for explaining everything to me, it all makes sense now. This really is my destiny, what I was born for.” Timothy said.
“It was my pleasure my Son. Kiara, your new brother is here, come and meet him.” Simba said. Timothy grinned in anticipation as another cub, a female walked out from a room in the cave and ran towards him and pounced on him saying
“Hi brother!” He responded with equal affection and playfully wrestled her off of him and laughed, he was at the beginning of what would be a fascinating journey and new existence. But for now, it was time to enjoy being young again, and to enjoy his new freedom.