The Pride by Len Kuntz

She watched the carnage through parted fingers. The first lion caught the gazelle’s hind quarter, the next its neck.

Even on the television, she could hear the cracking bones.

In the next scene, half a dozen lions gathered around the corpse, taking turns tearing off hunks of bloody meat.
“Compared with other animals,” the announcer voice said, “lions are very social creatures. A Lion’s Pride is made up of related females and their offspring.”

She sleeps poorly. In her nightmares she runs through vines and jungles as the cats snarl and claw.

When she wakes, her husband has breakfast made. He’s been a stay-at-home dad for a year now. Her job as an attorney is lucrative enough, and David has no ego.

She watches him do something with his fingers, tracing in the air. Their daughter giggles and draws loops with her thumbs. “What are you doing?” she asks. David explains that they’ve invented their own sign language. “Sign, I love you, Mommy.” But she won’t. The girl’s become stubborn and shy now.

She always passes by the bus stop on her way to work. The moms from their track mansions wear Gucci sweats and Jimmy Choo heels, even in winter. Four of the women circle David, laughing. Their daughter is off to the side.

David drops his grin as she rounds the corner, revving the motor. They all gape. They scream and leap.

So, this is how a lioness feels, she thinks, going in for the kill.


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Filed under Len Kuntz

15 responses to “The Pride by Len Kuntz

  1. Wow, what a way to start off this theme! With a hint of the internal turmoil she’s going through, you carried this right to the ultimate act. Nicely done, Len.

  2. I like the way that the reader’s understanding of her character shifts. At first, she seems overly sensitive, pained by predatory behavior–later we learn that something else underlies her reaction to the lions.

  3. Len

    thanks susan and elizabeth. my wife used to be the only woman in the suburb where we once lived and it was sort of frowned upon. there was a bit of a boy’s club for stay at home mom’s. this story grew out of that.

    i appreciate the feedback.

  4. Interesting take on the theme! I didn’t realize why the lions bothered her so much until the end. Nicely done.

  5. Kim Hutchinson

    Very nicely done. Love the title, too.

  6. I agree that this was a wonderful way to start this theme!

    I like the details, the daughter drawing loops with her thumbs, the husband “has no ego”… I also like the use of her dream to start the shift in her character. Great study!

  7. Jeez, what an amazing story! You had me cringing and almost yelling at the beginning, I laughed in parts and then when she speeds into the group. Wow, talk about emotional rollercoaster, with so many fine touches: ‘And David has no ego’, ‘rom their track mansions wear Gucci sweats and Jimmy Choo heels’. This is great, it really is, Len. Fun and illuminating too.

  8. Watch out for crazy, lawyer mommies with a thing for watching Animal Planet. I too got sucked in by her reaction to the lionesses, the daughter pulling away, thinking, ‘okay, where is this going?’ In fact, you so blindsided me that at first I didn’t understand what was happening. Well-drawn indeed.

  9. estelle bruno

    The multi layering of themes worked really well and I felt so voyerusitic reading this– like I happened onto something I wasn’t meant to see–very good story

  10. estelle bruno

    the Estelle Bruno comment was written by Susan Tepper (her daughter) who was using mom’s computer and forgot to swtich the identity– BTW Estelle also likes this story

  11. fantastic story. dense atmosphere and i love how you construct the bridge between the animal kingdom and corporate wildlife.

  12. An underlying brilliance woven throughout this story, the crafty pared down essence like the lioness waiting to spring from the undergrowth.

  13. i’ve read this a couple times and it’s still so full of suspense. and it feels very real, too.

  14. Wow. This struck a nerve. Maybe cuz I could relate to lion mama. Really brilliant linkage between Animal Planet and Nascar. peace…

  15. Pingback: Week #31 – Missed the bus | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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