The Department Store Lion Chapter 3: The Lone Cub

The Department Store Lion Chapter 3: The Lone Cub

            After recovering from her surprise,
Hailey paused and began to imagine what the lion cubs looked like. Hailey thought
that the lion cubs would probably have short, tawny fur the color of a light
gold, large blue eyes, and a mostly innocent demeanor, depending on the
personality of the cubs. “Do you know where the lion cubs are located in the
store?” Hailey said presently. Mr. Peterson scratched his head thoughtfully and
said, “From what I remember, they should be on this floor to the right, next to
the food court. Or they would be…” Mr. Peterson’s voice trailed off and then he
groaned. “That’s the trouble with starting work in a different store.
Sometimes, I confuse directions. But I’ll try my best to show you.”

they had walked into several different departments, Hailey finally saw a
doorframe with the words, “Pet Kingdom” painted on a marble surface in blue
letters. “This must be it!” Hailey said aloud in excitement. Mr. Peterson
stopped near the entrance with a smile and said, “Since I have a lunch break,
I’ll wait for you outside.” Hailey thanked Mr. Peterson for his time and walked
into the exotic pet emporium. Animals of all kinds could be seen throughout
this crowded section of the store in special compartments and cages. Fur,
feathers, and scales in every corner. Some animals had their own heating lamps,
water bowls, and cotton blankets.  Even
though she couldn’t possible afford such an expensive pet, she thought that is
surely wouldn’t hurt to catch a glimpse of the new arrivals.

 After talking to a woman in charge of sales
for exotic pets, the clerk took Hailey into a square room. In the middle of the
room, a brown wicker basket which could have been used for puppies or kittens
lay next to a tall metal structure similar to an examination table. Hailey drew
closer to the basket and saw that it held a single lion cub whose eyes were
closed. The cub was very small and had one paw dangling over the basket’s low
sides. Unexpectedly, the cub raised its head and opened its eyes to reveal a
beautiful sapphire blue before it dropped its head, tired from the effort of
trying to stay awake. As Hailey looked deep into the cub’s calm and trusting
blue eyes, she knew that it would be impossible to forget this moment. Then,
the cub shifted inside the basket and covered its face with its paw like a
velvet sleep mask. Hailey reluctantly took her gaze away from the cub and
turned to the store clerk. “What became of the other lion cubs?”

store clerk said, “The other siblings were sold weeks ago.”

 “Oh,” said Hailey quietly, hardly believing
that such a charming animal could remain unclaimed for so long. “Would you be
interested?” the woman asked. A pin drop could have been heard in the silence
that followed. “Well…I really couldn’t afford it…” Hailey said hesitant. It was
becoming more and more difficult to resist with each passing minute.

you certain that there is no one that could help you pay for the cub’s expenses
as a gift? Food, water, etc.?” the clerk asked curiously, “You do seem rather
attached to this little one.”

Hailey said again, this time she felt certain that she was weakening. “I do
have a roommate who is…”

just splendid!” The clerk said, without waiting for Hailey to finish.

wait a minute!” Hailey said anxiously, “That doesn’t take care of the problem
of paying for the cub.”

simple,” the clerk said slyly, “You could take it out of your savings account.”

it would leave hardly anything left.” Hailey said and she started to wonder if
the clerk really cared about her finances.

            “If that’s what you really want,”
said the clerk with a nonchalant shrug of her shoulders,

suppose that I can’t really argue.” So, saying, the clerk got up from her
sitting position and began to escort Hailey to the door. As they moved farther
and farther away from the tiny form of the lion cub which was still wrapped in
sleep, Hailey started to have second thoughts about her decision. Would her
parents really mind if she made a costly purchase with her savings just once?
While this rebellious thought argued for attention in her mind, another of
quite a different nature presented itself to Hailey.

would God think of her actions? Would God approve of her keeping a wild animal
as a pet? Even though the lion cub had been raised under human care, it still
would need to have an outlet for its natural instincts. Could she give the cub
the type of care that it really needed most? Above all, fears of loneliness
haunted her with no close friends to have conversations with or share laughter.
The distraction posed by these thoughts prevented Hailey from being more
careful as she accidentally stepped on one of the store clerk’s red pumps. “I’m
so sorry,” Hailey said as she quickly stepped backwards, turning to catch one
last glimpse of the creature who had so captured her attention. A small whine
rose from the lion cub at that exact moment, and Hailey turned to the store
clerk to say what was inevitable.

the cub had been one thing, controlling it was quite another. As Hailey carried
the lion cub through the store in her arms, the cub acted like a static ball of
energy. Calm at some moments and utterly rambunctious at others. While Hailey
had been filling out a check for the cub in the exotic pet kingdom, the cub had
been eyeing a red macaw with a sharp looking beak next to the counter. Without
warning, the cub had pounced towards the macaw which shouted, “Stop, you vandal!
Pay your debts!” at the tops of its lungs. Embarrassed, Hailey had scooped up
the cub in her arms, apologized to the clerk, and quickly exited this area of
the store. Mr. Peterson kindly escorted Hailey to the store’s entrance and
promised to see her again soon. Hailey pushed through the sliding glass doors
again, this time with a lion cub, and as she looked into the cub’s upturned
face, she smiled at the small animal and nuzzled it against her cheek. Before
long, Hailey speedily cleared the distance between the store and her
convertible and gently placed the cub in one of the black upholstered front

Hailey drove on the street which led to her multi storied apartment building, she
noticed that the cub enjoyed people watching as much as she did. The cub kept
poking its head out the car window to look at the people and animals which were
flying past in fashionable Mercedes, low to the ground Mustangs, and Volkswagens
with silver toned headlights. In particular, one car that was carrying a golden
retriever seemed to grab the cub’s attention. The golden retriever had its head
turned towards Hailey’s convertible and it looked startled as it saw a golden
colored cat with round eyes staring at him. Before, the dog could recover from
his shock, Hailey and the cub sped forward and reached Hailey’s apartment
dwelling. “Uh oh.” Hailey thought as she parked her convertible in front of the
tall building. Hailey had a sudden realization that her roommate might not be
thrilled to share their living space with a furry mammal.

            Hi everyone, I hope that you’re
having a Happy Sabbath! Important question: What gender would you like the lion
cub to be? A girl or a boy? Also, do you have any name ideas or other
suggestions that you would like me to include in the story? Thank you for reading!



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The Department Store Lion Chapter 3: The Lone Cub

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