He growls, bearing his teeth.  It's getting dark, and he's tired of running. Tired of fighting. They circle him on horseback, still full of energy. The horses are mindless and follow their masters' commands. They never give regards for themselves, and he knew that they would continue fighting him until they dropped. Or he dropped.

The chain is in one man's hand. He waves it around, saying without speaking, Give in.

The lion bears his teeth again and roars. The horses don't spook. They hold their ground. He lunges sideways, hoping to break through their circle. But the chain is whipped down, cutting above his eye, and he cringes.

"Please. Let me go." The lion pleads, "I don't want to fight anymore. I don't want to be chained. Let me go."

The men don't say anything.

Fear rises into fury, the lion rises up on his hind legs and swings a paw, claws out and sharp, aiming for one of the men on horseback. One pulls out a club in a flash, and he's hit. Sparks fly in his eyes. Pain swells in his right temple. He regains himself on the ground, lying on his side.

The lion gazes upward and staring back at him is the barrel of a gun. The man places his finger on the trigger.

The lion knows what this means. He can give in to him, or the man can pull the trigger. This is it. There is no more escaping. All that time running, fighting, down to this moment.

He makes his choice. The lion shows his teeth one last time, locks his eyes on the rising moon, and whispers to the man, "Take me."

The moon watched the lion's eyes go dark.

The End

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