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Richard's Lions
 
Richard had a couple of lions that he kept to set on people. Nobody crossed Richard, they knew what would happen if they did. The lions liked meat and they liked human flesh most of all. It was the most exquisite meat to them.
  Richard was 40 with greying hair and green eyes. He wore mainly long, black coats and dark trousers and he lived in a big house with plenty of space for the lions to run around in.
  Richard had cameras in the maze and if he really didn't like you, he would put you in the maze with the lions and watch you try to find your way out.
  People said there were loads of bodies in there, but every time the police searched the maze, they couldn't find anything.
  Richard used to be an eligible bachelor, he was good-looking, charming and rich. But then he became too eccentric and too many people heard stories about him.
 Some people said, "I don't think he will get married now," and others said, "He's married to his lions."
Indeed there was a strange story that Richard had married his lioness, that one day he was seen walking towards the maze in a wedding suit and his lioness was wearing a wedding veil. Most people scoffed, but there were a few who believed it.

Richard had three lions, two males and a female. The males didn't get on and Richard kept them apart. The female got on with them all, the males and Richard.
  Things carried on for a while and then, one day, the strangest story was told.
A little boy who had gone round to Richard's to ask if he could donate some money to his primary school, said when he knocked on the door, Richard didn't answer. So he went round the side and looked in a window.
  He said he saw Richard sitting in a chair, smoking a cigar. Stretched out on a sofa was the lioness. She was wearing a long, red dress and smoking a cigarette in a cigarette holder!
  "Are you tired, darling?" asked Richard.
  "Oh no, no. I am quite alright, thank you, my dear," replied the lioness.
  "I am just resting so I will have enough energy for the dance tonight."
  "Very good, my dear. Would you care for some alcohol?"
  "Yes please, red wine with a cherry in it, you know how I  like it."
  As the boy watched, Richard got up and got a bottle of wine out of a cupboard. He poured some into a glass, put a cherry in it and handed it to the lioness, who drank some.
  The boy didn't see anything more, he ran away, frightened.
 

Of course, most people didn't believe. But there were a few who said, "You know, Richard is so very strange.."
  As it turned out, the truth was never really known, because later that year, there was a fire and Richard's house was destroyed. When they found him, he was lying in the maze, his lioness beside him.
  There were a few weird things, though, one being the lioness had a scrap of something between her teeth, something that looked like red material, the kind that is used to make a dress....
  Also, when the police went through all of Richard's tapes, there were plenty (most showing people being killed by the lions, which would have been enough evidence to charge Richard with if he'd been alive), but the ones for the day of the fire were missing.
  It was almost as if had taken them, the police thought, but who apart from Richard would have had cause to take them? "Mysterious, that," the locals remarked, especially when you remembered that it didn't look like Richard had been burnt in the fire, but attacked and ripped to shreds.
  The final weird thing was that on the day of the fire, two men with long, shaggy hair, wearing suits people thought had been Richard's, were seen walking through the town. People said that their faces were strange looking and that they were smiling. After that day, they were never seen again.
 
               
 
                                   
                              by Zania Muma, 2003

Copyright ZJ 2003-2004