May 29, 2023

African Sunset (Minifigure Monday)

Minifigure Monday is a weekly celebration of LEGO® characters through art. This week, I am straying from my usual style. Consequently, instead of a poem, I present a short story. Additionally, today’s post was inspired by the Safari Off-Roader (60267) set. It really took me down memory lane. Therefore, African Sunset (Minifigure Monday) is a story based on true events from my time in Africa.

For more Minifigure Monday posts, click here.

African Sunset (Minifigure Monday)

An original short story inspired by LEGO® characters from True North Bricks.

Another African sunset splashed bright colors across the sky. As the last rays of sunlight filtered through the trees, I found myself among lions. I had spent many an evening with this pride, observing their behaviour. They had become used to my presence and seemed unphased as I pulled up in an open-top Land Rover and shut off the engine. However, tonight would prove to be different. After a period of nonchalant disregard, a lioness rose from her rest in the golden grass and scrub. She calmly walked towards the dirt road where I was parked. I was not alarmed, the lions often walked past the car as if it was not there. But on this evening, she stopped on the road.

African Sunset (Minifigure Monday)

After a moment, the lioness changed direction and walked towards me. She started at the front passenger side of the car, stopping to sniff the tires one-by-one or her way around the rear of the car. Soon enough, she was outside my door, smelling the front tire. With no roof or windows to speak of, I could have reached out and touched her. Next, she raised her head from the tire and turned her neck to look directly at me. There was nothing threatening about her gaze, but her golden eyes unnerved me all the same. There was a full-grown lioness staring at me. I remained silent and still, my arm resting on the Land Rover door as it had been when her investigation of the car began. Slowly, the lioness leaned into my elbow, sniffing me. I could feel her breathing on my arm. No more than a few millimeters of air separated us.

I am not sure if I was breathing or not as the lioness stood there smelling me. I looked at her, she looked back at me. Every muscle in my body tensed, but I did not move. Time seemed to stand still, but it could not have been but the briefest of moments. Then, the lioness placed one massive paw on the Land Rover door. She began to rise on her haunches, as if to get a better a look at what was inside the car. At that moment, instinct took over on my part. I jerked my elbow away. Then, as if talking to a mischievous pet, blurted out a stern “NO!”

Taken aback, the lioness jumped a step away from the car. Her ears perked up, and with her stomach low to the road, she looked directly at me again. At that moment, I thought it best to take my leave. I turned the key in the ignition and started up the engine. However, a male lion had now taken interest as well. As I began to drive away from the pride, the male took chase. My Land Rover was old, well past its prime. The male, on the other hand, was fully in his prime. On an open, paved road, my car could reach 80 km an hour. On a hunt through the bushveld, he could run 80 km and hour. On the uneven dirt road, he easily overtook the Land Rover, passing the car on the left side. He veered onto the road in front of me and stopped.

I slammed on the breaks. This startled him into leaving the road. With the lion off to one side, I inched the car past. Finally, on an adrenaline high, I drove off into the African sunset, questioning my instinctive reaction to yell “no” at a lioness.

Lioness in the setting sunlight.

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