Long, blurred lines of yellow light broke through the branches and dappled the ground in shadows. The sweet, green smells of spring filled young Lyca’s nose. She frowned wanly at the blooming paradise all around her.
Moss and root and soft loamy earth scarcely felt her feet’s fast passage. Small animals melted away before her scent, so mingled it was with the Lion’s. She and hers had been his for so long, she scarcely noticed the quietude.
As the shadows deepened, the scents slowly shifted to the heavy, sharp smells of death. Lithe Lyca leaned forward to stare hard at her mother’s corpse.
Her mother still lay where she fell, barely shifted by maggot nor fox. Lyca looked close, as she had for seven spring days. A parade of ants carried away pieces of overripe flesh. The bone-white maggots continued to bloom and bustle. A particularly brave raven made off with a toe.
Lyca walked slow and sadly back to her den at sunset. Each day she returned to stare death hard in the face until at last she could smile at the pink-orange blush of the setting sun against the black and starry void.