Uovu couldn't sleep.
Lying awake in the shade of a rocky outcropping, the dark male glared bitterly in the general direction of the sun. It was behind him, but the surrounding light was more than enough to remind him that it was there. It was mocking him. It wasn't fair that the rest of the pride could sleep and he couldn't. It wasn't fair.
Rising to his paws, the adolescent bared his fangs and flopped down on his other side. He groaned loudly, far enough away from any other living creature that he was entirely comfortable with expressing himself in any form he wished, no matter how loud. He was a normally quiet male and kept mostly to himself, unless he felt it absolutely necessary to voice his opinion. When he did, it was usually a negative one, since the only topics that got him talking were those that irritated him.
Unless he was putting on an act...
Idly scratching his claws against the rocks in front of him, Uovu frowned, clearly agitated by his insomnia and boredom.
His mind felt clouded and corrupted. There was no way he could sleep. There was too much on his mind. But there wasn't anything on his mind...he felt strange. He knew why. But he didn't want to think about it. If he thought about it, he just felt more awake. He didn't want that. He didn't want to think.
But thinking was all he did. He didn't know how to stop. It kept going.
Spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning...
A switch went off in the young male's brain and he stood up. After being on his feet for a few moments, he began to walk.
The dry grass crunched under his paws. Grass changed to hard earth. Hard earth changed to soft. Soft earth changed to soft grass and something in Uovu's eyes brightened. His pace quickened as his paws retraced the path he knew so well. He memorized every step--every feeling beneath him. He didn't even have to see where he was going.
Eyes glazed over, the male moved through dried brambles. Twigs reached out and clawed at his body, but the male moved through them unflinching. The trees were black shadows to his out-of-focus gaze. They towered over him, stiff in the breeze-free morning. He moved past them, too. More bushes and hills and outcroppings blocked his path, but he moved through them and around them and over them and under them, steps steady and face blank. His paws knew the way. His mind knew it. He had walked it countless times. It was a secret way--his way. No one knew of it. He'd never tell it. If he saw anyone using it, he would kill them. He would really kill that individual.
He would kill them.
Mind buzzing like a bee hive, the male continued forward. Something like electricity was making tiny sparks under his skin in places, just slightly...gently...but he ignored it. Soon he'd embrace it, but not yet. It was too soon. He was still moving. He was still walking...
The farther he walked, the darker the surroundings grew. The earth was dipping lower, swallowing him up the more he crawled and slunk through the brambles. He hopped down a ledge and then another, landing easily on the ground below. He continued onward. Every step was fueled by the invisible electricity that sparked in his blood.
Body crawling through a small tunnel in a large cluster of dead bushes, the male crawled on his belly, avoiding the whispering voice in his head that called him "despicable".
The bushes plucked and picked and poked and prodded his skin, even cutting him in a few places. But Uovu ignored them all. He continued to inch forward on his belly like a snake--continued to slink through the dirt, eyes set dead-ahead and jaw clamped shut tight. Light touched his face and the male pulled himself very slowly out of the tunnel. He didn't make a single sound. He stepped forward just a bit before lowering himself back down onto his stomach. Moving close to a thick-trunked tree, the male was perfectly sheltered in a deeply dark, tree-filled area that completely sheltered him from view. Through some gaps in the trees ahead he could see a small, blue body of water. It looked clear and inviting--not at all like the normal watering holes one encountered around the Pepo'porojo. No, this one was different. This one was secret.
Coated in a layer of dust and dirt, the lion lowered his head onto his forelegs and blinked, eyes wide and now completely focused on the pool of water through the trees. He watched it intently, waiting, completely still and breathing silently.
Then there was a noise to his right.
Ear flinching in reflex and head lifting up, Uovu listened to what he already knew was there, but remained completely focused on the water. Crunching of branches and soft breaths...then...
Electric surges pulsing, the adolescent let his eyes close slowly as he sank into the melody. He rested his head back down on his arms. The tune was sweet and haunting--the most glorious lullaby his ears would ever hear. It sang to more than just his sense of sound...
The muscles in his body relaxed and soon he felt completely at ease. His fast-paced mind slowed to a quiet hum of its own. He let himself sink deeper and deeper into the melody, letting it soothe, letting it enter in...
The sound of moving water caressed his eardrums and the male opened his eyes halfway. His gaze was met with a familiar sight--a welcome sight--the most welcome sight in the world to him. She always pawed at the water when she was alone. He didn't know why. But the sound, like her humming, was soothing, and relaxed him even more. The water rolled off her fur in fast streams and trickles. Uovu's eyes watched how the drops rolled down, mesmerized.
The electricity in his blood surged and tingled and now Uovu embraced it. He let his eyelids fall completely and sunk down into his arms, exhaling. He let the humming and sounds of water take him away into sleep--he wallowed in it, wrapping himself up in its splendor. And he slept.
Simbi was his medicine.