'Captivity' by Louise Mudge

She was a queen, an empress of the Grasslands, a golden angel of death to those in her domain. Yet here she was, in a cage.
            It was a big cage, with lots of space for her to roam and nap and do what queens do. But it was a cage nonetheless.
            She paced, throwing herself against the fence whenever one of the two-legged monkeys came with offerings of meat. They cowered at the sound of her guttural snarls, as they should. She tore into her meals with unbridled savagery, imagining she was ripping off human heads.
            He came to visit sometimes, the one she had trusted. He had raised her from infancy, fed her until she was strong and lithe, with sharp teeth and claws made for shredding meat and powerful muscles that gave her peerless speed. She had never wanted to use her claws on him, until now. He did not enter her kingdom any more. He was too afraid to open the cage and face her wrath.
            How dare he take her cubs? How dare he steal them from under her nose? He was a human; what did he know of her ways, of the ways of a queen?
            He had come in one morning and greeted her, scratching her and crooning as he always had. While she was distracted by his praise, two of the other pink monkeys had taken her babies. When she discovered them gone, her fury had been a grass fire; igniting in her body as she whirled around her cage, screaming for her lost children.
            She had a sneaking suspicion that the humans had seen the runt, the squealing half-lion that she had crushed gently in her powerful jaws until it’s pathetic squirming stilled. Of course, she was sad to have done so; it was still a cub of her flesh, but she couldn't have a weakling taking milk that the other two needed. She had left the runt in the corner of her den, where she wouldn’t have to look at it.
            She roared her pain at the sky.
            She yearned to lick the tiny skulls of the other cubs; the two she knew would grow to be a king and queen of the same formidable strength as she was. But they were gone. And now she was alone in her cage, again.

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