I cannot believe I never uploaded this!EDIT: Text format of story from beginning to (eventually the end) is posted here: [link]
Also, here is the first chapter to Just Beneath the Surface
. I think what I might do is make a picture for each chapter and then upload the text with a picture. How does that sound?
Prologue if you're interested since it sets the tone for the story: [link]
His paws beat the savannah land like a bushman’s drum, but he could get nowhere. He was losing the same battle that was repeated nearly every night as he raced to get away from the demon that followed him, that yearned to destroy the king and take his place as a pretender. During the day, he told himself that Kovu had changed. Scar wasn’t even his father for that matter, and his vicious mother was rotting someplace along the river. But how could he shake the feeling that Kovu was still under the influence of his mother and Scar when he dreamed his death each night at the claws of Kovu, the lion his daughter had befriended and fallen in love with? Already they had two cubs, Asuma and Tanga. He did not fear them, but he feared for them.
Behind him, Simba could hear the deranged panting of Kovu. The beast that followed him hardly looked like Kovu, but Simba knew instinctively that it was his heir. Without fault, the rock wall rose up before him, and Simba began the never-ending climb with Kovu hot on his tail. Chancing a glance behind him, he beheld the surreal scene below. Kovu skidded to a stop at the base of the rocky face, his acid green eyes leaping with joy as his lips curled into a sickening grin. Simba could feel his heart racing and the sound of it filled his ears. He couldn’t catch his breath, nor could his claws catch hold of the slick rock.
Kovu let out a laugh below as he reached up and raked his deadly claws over the surface of the rock. “Where are you running, Simba?” he called. “Don’t you trust me?”
Simba wanted to tell the demonic form of Kovu that he didn’t, but his voice left him mute. He could only whimper. He turned back to his climbing and found that he had run out of cliff. He clambered awkwardly onto the narrow precipice and looked back down only to find Kovu right there. As the days wore on, Simba found it difficult to forget the Kovu of his dreams and see the young lion for what he was becoming. Kovu was to be a great king one day, not the killer in his dreams.
With a triumphant roar, Kovu lifted his paw to the air, all five talon-like claws unsheathed. It came down on Simba’s face, knocking him off balance and sending him over the precipice. Simba hated the feeling of falling downward. He would envision himself as his father, blindsided and backstabbed by a devious brother. As he fell, he’d cry out and see his uncle at the top—a sight he almost had the pleasure of witnessing all those years before.
“Simba? Simba!” came a voice from beyond the landscape of his dreams.
A warm tongue caressed his cheek as Simba slowly eased back into reality. Nala lay next to him, her paw on his shoulder. He sighed a breath of relief.
“You were whimpering again, Simba,” she whispered, teal eyes full of worry. Even quieter, she said, “You growled and said Kovu’s name. It wasn’t the nightmare again, was it?”
“Is he here?” Simba asked distractedly. He sat up and looked around, whiskers twitching with anxiety. Kovu’s place where he normally slept near his two children and Kiara was bare.
“He left early this morning,” Nala answered him.
“Nala,” Simba whispered, turning back to his mate, “it’s happening more and more. I’m exhausted.”
“Perhaps you should speak to him about it.”
Simba shook his head. “I couldn’t do that. No… we’ve put the past behind us. All that matters now is the future.”
Nala looked unconvinced. “You could always speak to Rafiki.”
“Then I will if you don’t,” Nala threatened. She placed her paw over Simba’s, a soft gentle purr rising in her throat. “How can there be a future if you keep returning to the past? These dreams are tearing you apart. I hate to say it, but what if… they really do mean something?”
Simba groaned and stood up to stretch. Nearby, his granddaughter, Tanga, stirred in her sleep and rolled over. “Ohhh… please don’t say things like that, Nala. Don’t I have enough to worry about while I sleep, let alone when I’m awake?”
“Just promise me that you will do something
about this, please?” Nala told him. “I hate seeing you like this, Simba.” Lovingly, she rubbed her cheek against his mane, purring harder.
Simba couldn’t help but give a small smile. He sighed. “I promise.”