Once again, there were children in the jungle.
He’d nearly tasted such tender meats as these once before, but the village boy had escaped, a slight that was still raw and throbbing, even after all these years. The great Bengal inhaled deeply, savoring the fragrance of succulent man flesh.
He moved soundlessly through the moist jungle undergrowth, stealthy despite his uneven limp, toward the source of the alluring fragrance. His sensitive nose, undulled by the passage of time, discerned two distinct scents. That of a boy child and that of a girl child. The great cat’s stomach produced a roar that rivaled one of his own.
He reached the edge of a clearing. There, lingering near the watering hole, were his intended prey. Unaware. Unassuming. Unguarded.
The Bengal crouched. Eyes wide. Tail twitching. His deformed leg pained him, but he paid it no mind. He was Shere Kahn, rightful lord of this jungle. He would not be denied.
This time, he would sup on the lean, sinewy flesh of man-cub and satiate his thirst with their blood.
This time, there would be no escape.