Story of Timon's life from right before his birth to his departure from his colony.
Another hot day had bit the dust in the dry, harsh kalahari. The amber grass was tinged a bright silver, and the air became chilled as another night grasped the desert in its icy fingers. A dusky meerkat sat on a rock, glad to escape his stuffy burrow to enjoy the cool night air, and to look once again into the evening sky. It could be said that this young meerkat was born with an unnatural love for the outside world. He longed to feel the wind that stirred the grass, the sun which seared the earth with her golden light; and see the bright, mysterious creatures which glided across the heavens to cast a milky glow upon the earth. More than that, he secretly longed for a place where he would not need to hide away, and could live forever in the sunlight. But he knew what he was, and that these wonders were not meant for him, no, his place was in his sandy warren in the darkness.
He knew that his desire made him peculiar, and was for him a secret shame, for no sensible meerkat would be caught dead above ground for any reason other than the mandatory digging, foraging and standing guard. If any of the others became curious about his occasional nightly ventures, he would casually reply that he wanted to catch some night crawlers, or some other crawly critter that liked the night time.
A richly scented wind from the east caressed his small form and whispered a rumor of rain. The rainy season meant more food and the promise of new life.
He gazed thoughtfully over the grayish expanse of land that reached out towards the horizon, before he stretched his back and plopped down on his rock. He watched silently as the other meerkats trundled back to their dens, eager for a well deserved rest. One of the passers-by, a sandy-colored little yearling, paused in front of him with a puzzled look on her face.
"Aren't you gonna come in? It's getting dark, and it gets awful cold out here," she chortled, while clumsily fluttering her eyelashes.
"I'm just gonna catch some night crawlers, that's all, I'll come in afterwards" he muttered, avoiding her attempt to flirt with him. With a astonished gasp she responded,
"But aren't you afraid of the other animals--I guess you wouldn't be," she added quickly, "You are Fearless Buzz after all and..."
She fell quiet when saw her hero grimace as though he had been stuck by a sharp claw. She titled her head quizzically on one side at his reaction and said,
"What's wrong? Doncha' like being called Fearless?"
"No," he answered gruffly, while staring moodily at the ground.
"You fought that Hyena didn't you? That's what I call fearless,"
"I didn't fight that--because I'm fearless," he said, "I fought him because I had to...because I was afraid."
His companion nodded sagely, even though she didn't quite understand what he meant, and said:
"I don't think I'd could ever attack something as scary as that if I was afraid, I think I'd faint."
"I was afraid of life without my mate," he said.
"Oh...My dad says that she shouldn't have been out there in the first place." said Hazel, with the smallest touch of disdain in her shrill voice.
"Well,maybe you shouldn't be out here at all!" he snapped, "Go home to your parents before they start to wonder where you are."
Hazel pouted, and wiped at her tearing eyes daintily and gave a noisy sniff.
"Look, I didn't mean to yell...but really, it's time for you to go inside, okay?"
Hazel brightened at the warmth in his voice and decided to heed his advice, but not before attempting to nuzzled him.
After being gently repelled she departed from him, and after a few quick backward glances, vanished into a tunnel entrance. Buzz gave a sigh of relief, glad finally be alone with his thoughts. He reveled in the peaceful chill of the night, with not a sound of a jackal or hyena to be heard to mar the sweet hum of insect chirpings and the gentle rustling of wind stirred leaves.
He remembered wistfully when his mate would join him in his star-gazing...
She was pregnant with their first litter when the hyena had attempted to eat her,and although he was able to save her with his reckless attack, he was not able to save their unborn pups. The stress caused her to give birth much too early. He particularly haunted by the memory of one of their young, a little girl who grew cold and stiff in his arms. He brushed away a tear at the memory. Vinta, who was by nature a motherly soul, was heart broken. Earlier that day she had to watch as the other females guided their young out the burrow, for their first taste of the outside world.
He knew that she, like himself, had felt the loss keenly at the sight. He knew his mate would be waiting for him, and though he loved her more than anything, he was not ready to face her just yet.
The sudden sensation of a paw on his shoulder startled him out of his reverie, he turned around to find his very grumpy older brother Max, who was very annoyed at finding him still lingering on the surface.
"What have I told you about hanging around out here? It's dangerous enough bein' out in the daytime, at this time of night--why, you can't even see what might be creepin' up on you!"
"Aw, I'm just gonna catch some fireflies is all," grunted Buzz with a dismissive wave of his paw.
"And get caught by some animal is more like it!" said Max, glancing about nervously.
The sound of a mouse scuttling about in the dry grass caused the older meerkat to jump and yelp in terror. He grabbed the younger meerkat by the arm and tried to yank him back towards the tunnels. Buzz wrenched his wrist away with an annoyed grunt, deep down he knew his brother was right, but he wasn't one to be bossed around, particularly when in a foul mood.
"Will you knock it off? I'll be in a second, now why don't you go inside and weave some grass together with the other old bags."
"Why you little..." Max bristled at the insult to his age and male hood.
"Besides, if anything tries to bother me, I'll deal with it. I am Fearless Buzz after all." his mouth twisted in an ironic grin as he spoke his of his title.
"Crazy Buzz is more like it," Max grumbled testily. Despite his harsh words Max gazed at his baby brother with a look of grudging pride and affection. And though Buzz would never admit it, he felt a twinge of pride at his brother's admiration, it was nice to have his brother look up to him for a change.
Whatever softness had touched the older male's features disappeared and was replaced by a sour frown.
"So, are you gonna come inside? Or do I have to pull you in by the scruff of your neck like a pup!"
"Ha,like to see you try it...," murmured Buzz, a slight roughish smile graced his lips as he slumped back down upon his rock and crossed his arms stubbornly. Max was about to make good on his threat, when he suddenly remembered why he had come outside to fetch him in the first place, besides trying to prevent him from being eaten. The fear of being out in the open had chased it out of his mind. He smiled to himself, if this didn't get him inside he didn't know what would.
"Oh that's too bad." He grinned. He crept cautiously over to where Buzz was sitting in order to whisper in his ear, Buzz recoiled defensively, half expecting to be jerked up by the scruff of his neck. To his surprise his brother merely beckoned him to come closer. When he inclined his ear, the aging meerkat said.
"Cause Vinta could really use your company right now..."
Buzz turned to face his brother with eyebrows raised questioningly, to which Max gave a suggestive wink to remove all doubt.
The dark haired meerkat brushed passed his brother without a word, and disappeared down into the warren in a flash. He raced through the black, earthy tunnels ways, relying mostly on memory rather than sight to guide him to his den. When arrived, he paused and took a deep breath, letting his lungs fill when the enchanting, familiar scent.
called the husky voice of his mate, so full of love and desire that his heart nearly broke from longing.
Ever affectionate towards his childhood love,he answered:
"What took you so long?" her tone was scolding, but laced with gentle good humor.
"Just enjoying the night air," he smiled, he held no pretenses with her.
"Hm...should've known" she chuckled.
He could just perceive the interior of their home in the darkness, the dusty floor was strewn with sweet smelling grasses and young flowers. A few small gourds were lined in a corner, most were filled with water. One large gourd was cut in half, like a bowl, and was filled with a medley of maggots, ants and termites. He smiled. Vinta had been considerate enough to pull off the pinching heads of the insects. And curled up (conveneintly) in an intricately woven nest was the slender form of his mate. After quickly gobbling his dinner, he joined her and began to gently caress her cheek.
"How's my Vinta?" he murmured.
"Better, now that you're here..."
His only response was to hold her close and press his cheek against hers.
"If only I hadn't have been outside that day..." she whispered softly.
He pulled away from her and looked into her green eyes.
"Don't--no one blames you for what happened," he stated firmly.
She raised an eyebrow.
"Well, no one with a half a brain...well unfortunately that excludes just about everyone in this colony..."
Vinta buried her face in her mate's strong chest.
"But don't you ever wonder what it would be like if our pups had survived?"
"It's better not to," her husband replied gently, "We can't change the past after all, we can only make plans for the future..."
She smiled, and drew closer to him and taking his face in her hands, kissed him.
Meanwhile, high up in the heavens, a star fell from the sky.