The Arcadian Press

Flamethrower and the Jaws of the Ravine

An illustration of a lynx walking through the desert.

Flamethrower and the Jaws of the Ravine

By Harper Moyer

RUN! A large hyena crashed out of the undergrowth and slammed into Flamethrower’s little brother Flame. The predators were everywhere. Flame yowled in pain and fear as the shape covered him. Flamethrower looked away. It was a massacre.

The sun disappeared as a huge hyena walked over to Flamethrower, evil sparkling in his eyes.

“What’s your name?” he asked, his tongue flicking over gleaming white teeth.

“F-F Flamethrower,” replied the young caracal timidly. “And you?” The cub asked the question without thinking. The hyena paused, surprised.

“Well, if you must know the last face you’ll ever see, I’m Killer,” he said. Without another pause, Killer lunged for her neck, showing no mercy.

Something behind Flamethrower grabbed her by the scruff of her neck, jerking her into the bushes. She tumbled back and looked up in terror. There stood her parents, Ember and Ash.

“Run!” her mother urged. They lunged for Killer. But Killer was too strong. Her parents never stood a chance. Flamethrower streaked across the savannah, the sounds of fighting and death close behind.


Flamethrower flicked her head up, sweat trickling along her pelt and her heart pounding, but she was safe. It was just another nightmare. Stormy and Thunder, her older cubs, were curled up together nearby in their den. Her mate, Ace, was sleeping next to her. Unborn cubs kicked softly in her stomach. She steadied her breathing and closed her eyes, hoping not to slip back into the terrible nightmare.


Snarl! Flamethrower stalked her prey, a guinea fowl. The pheasant stood unaware, eating a bug.

Three…two…one! Flamethrower pounced and sank her teeth into warm flesh. This catch was an easy one for a full-grown caracal.

As she began trotting home with her prize, she spotted an imposing male caracal in the distance. He looked strong and ferocious, and angry. She must have wandered into his territory. Flamethrower immediately turned and ran. He outweighed her, even with her swollen belly. She wouldn’t stand a chance in a fight. When she glanced back, she saw the male following her. Now he ran at her. She sprinted, trying to get away, but he was too fast. He leaped on Flamethrower, knocking her to the ground. Then all she saw was black.

* * *

Flamethrower woke up in her den, with Ace, Stormy, and Thunder all peering at her. She looked down at her pregnant belly and saw it was bleeding.

“What happened? How did I get here?” Flamethrower asked.

“You barely made it out alive,” Ace said. “I’m going after him.”

“Stop. Let it be,” Flamethrower objected. “Ace, it’s the one with the hole in his ear. He’s big.” But Flamethrower had seen that look in Ace’s eye. Nothing she said would matter.

“I’ll be ok,” Ace replied as he trotted out of the den.

Outside, not far from the mouth of the den, Ace saw a flicker of a tail disappear into the bushes. Ace stalked up to the bush and at just the right moment pounced on the caracal. The caracal had been gnawing on a guinea fowl, and it had a hole in its ear. It was the same caracal that had attacked Flamethrower!

The caracal fought fiercely, but when the dust of the battle cleared, he was on the ground, dead. Ace snatched Flamethrower’s prey from the dead caracal’s sharp jaws and turned back to the den.

The battered and exhausted Flamethrower was overjoyed to finally be eating her prey. After all, she tracked it down. After a few bites, she gave the rest to Stormy and Thunder. It was not nearly enough to relieve her hunger pains, but it would do well for now.


Flamethrower woke up to find the sharp, stabbing pain in her sides had decreased to just a dull ache. She was much happier. The rest of her family was asleep, and she began to creep out of the den to go hunting when she heard a noise behind her. She whipped around, claws out, only to see Ace standing there. They shared a knowing look. She nodded to him, and turned to leave.

Out in one of her favorite fields, Flamethrower leaped to catch a bird when she heard a gunshot coming from the direction of her den. Hunters! She abandoned her prey and tore across the savannah to her den. Her mind spun as she ran. There was only one thing to do: evacuate. Rushing into her den, she warned her family of the hunters and ushered them out into the warm summer sun. Once in the open, they started sprinting.

After they had put a great distance between themselves and the hunters, the caracal family slowed to a trot. Now they had to cross the savannah, a dangerous feat.

They had not gotten far when they heard an ear-splitting roar. Flamethrower looked up to see a lion hurtling itself toward the caracals, teeth bared. Ace caught the lion across the face with his paw, but the beast just got up and shook off the blow like it was a fly. The lion roared again with rage. He had the light of battle in his eyes. He swiped a massive paw at Ace’s face but missed by a whisker. Though her weary muscles screamed in protest, Flamethrower leaped into the battle. Side by side, Ace and Flamethrower fought fiercely together, as they always had. When all went quiet, the caracals stood panting, and the lion was dead.

Weak and exhausted, the caracals limped along. Night was approaching.

“Look! There!” cried Ace. Tucked behind a shriveled bush was an old hollowed-out honey-badger set, the perfect den. The family was overjoyed. They settled in almost immediately. The next morning, Flamethrower awoke starving. She stretched and prodded her cubs awake. Thunder eagerly jumped up, stretched, and yawned.

Meanwhile Stormy just wailed, “I don’t want to get up!”

“Are you sure?” Flamethrower coaxed. “We’re going hunting!”

Suddenly, as if stung by a vicious scorpion, Stormy leaped up and bounced out of the den.

“She’s crazy,” whispered Thunder to her mom. Flamethrower shot her a warning but playful glance and sprang ahead. Once the three caracals were all together again, Flamethrower taught the cubs how to stalk prey. When they had the hang of it, Flamethrower led them to a grassy clearing speckled with plump birds.

“Those are guinea fowl,” Flamethrower told the cubs.

“We know,” they replied in chorus.

“Anyway.” Flamethrower flicked her ear, ignoring the remark. “We’re downwind so they can’t smell us. Watch,” Flamethrower said. Without waiting for a response from her cubs, she sprang into the air, muscles bunched in a powerful leap. She snatched a bird out of the sky, and when she landed, she delivered her prey a quick, clean blow to the neck.

“I want to try!” said Thunder confidently.

“No, I do!” countered Stormy.

“Well, too bad.” Thunder leaped on her sister, triumphantly knocking her to the ground.

“I’ll go next,” Thunder bragged, turning to her mother. But before she could think, Stormy pounced, leaping on her back, knocking Thunder to the ground.

“Ow!” Thunder whipped around and wrestled with her sister. Flamethrower stuck her paw between the fighting cubs. They immediately stopped, careful not to scratch or bite their mother. With one last cuff to Stormy’s ear, Thunder jumped off her sister, head held high.

“Ok, let’s try this again,” Flamethrower murmured. “Who’s first?” 

“Me!” Thunder jumped in once more, yowling.

Flamethrower sighed. “All right, you can go.” She sniffed the air and listened. Then she led the cubs to another clearing.

They crouched at the edge of the grassy opening, watching as a small flock of guinea fowl landed in the clearing.

“Wait for the right moment,” coached Flamethrower.

“You got this,” whispered Stormy into her older sister’s ear. Thunder smiled. When one of the guinea fowl flitted into the air, she pounced.

For a moment, time seemed to slow. Thunder thought she wouldn’t make the catch. But mid-flight, as she extended her body to its full length, her eyes locked on her prey. She felt her hooked claws catch the bird, and all those thoughts disappeared. As Thunder landed, she realized what had happened. I did it. I made my first catch! Her heart surged with pride as her sister bounded over and licked her face.

Thunder snapped back to reality just as Flamethrower playfully crashed into her, knocking her over and licking her ear as if she were a younger cub. Joy spread from Thunder’s ears to her tail tip as her mother and sisters continued their celebration. 

When they had finished, Flamethrower and Stormy looked on as Thunder gulped down her meal, eating it in quick, ravenous bites. Flamethrower’s stomach growled.

Stormy bounced up in excitement. “Now I want to try!” 

“Ok, follow me,” Flamethrower replied.

Flamethrower led them through dense grasses to another clearing. They sat and waited until a few birds finally landed about three tail lengths away. Stormy’s mouth watered, but still she waited. She looked nervously up at Flamethrower. Her mother just nodded. When the moment was right, Stormy sprang. She swatted at the closest bird but couldn’t lock her claws in it. As it flapped, she sprang again and finally managed to clamp her strong jaws on the neck of the prey.

Her eyes lit up and she proudly trotted back to Thunder and Flamethrower. The small group of caracals celebrated again.

“Now you eat,” Flamethrower purred. Stormy relished her first kill.

When she had finished, Flamethrower meowed, “Now let’s head home.”

As the cats walked toward their den, Flamethrower suddenly froze.

“What is it?” asked Thunder. But Flamethrower didn’t answer. The scent on the wind shot a cold chill down her back. The image of Flame’s limp, lifeless body flashed in Flamethrower’s eyes. Her most dreaded fear: hyenas. She quickly hurried her cubs downwind under a hedge and waited. A twig cracked nearby, and painful silence dragged on for a few heartbeats after.

“Do you smell something?” hissed the scratching voice of a hyena, close by.

“Yes. It smells like caracal,” shot back another hideous voice. 

Flamethrower’s heart pounded. Will this be a replay of my childhood? She tried to force the thoughts away, but even as she did, there was a great crash as two hyenas leaped from above the hedge and knocked her to the ground. They snatched the two cubs by the scruffs of their necks, cubs screaming and frantically pawing, and bolted away.

“No!” Flamethrower leaped to her feet and growled. She would not let her cubs be taken from her so easily. She bounded through the crackly brush into the open plains after her cubs’ kidnappers.

“Not so fast!” spat another hyena, jumping in her way. “You’ll have to get through us to reach your precious cubs. More hyenas stalked slowly up behind the first, their white fangs glinting in the sunlight, and their sickening laughs rang through the air.

“We’ll see about that,” hissed Flamethrower in retort, her back arching, claws out. The hyenas smiled with rows of long teeth. Despair clawed at her heart, but she fought to stay strong.

“You haven’t won. You won’t take my cubs.” With one last growl, Flamethrower knocked a pile of dust at the hyenas and turned and sped back toward her den.

“Ace! Ace!” Flamethrower screeched as she tumbled into her den. “Stormy! Thunder! I… I…” she sputtered, in heaving wails.

“Honey, slow down,” Ace comforted.

“Stormy! Thunder! They were captured by hyenas!” Flamethrower said when she was able to catch her breath.

“What?!”Ace’s legs buckled under him, and fear showed in his clear, blue eyes. He shook off the terror. The fire of pure rage filled his eyes. Flamethrower pushed her mate out of the den, and together they raced across the savannah side by side. They soon found the hyenas’ track and the scent of their cubs. 

After hours of stalking through the tall grass, following the trail, Flamethrower’s body burned and ached. “I need to rest,” she panted.

“Of course.” Ace eyed her swollen stomach. “You shouldn’t have pushed so hard.” 

“No…choice,” Flamethrower replied, her face pained.

“Are you ok?” asked Ace.

“Cubs…soon…” she panted. 

“How soon?” Ace growled, concern shining in his eyes. “We can’t stay here. It’s not safe. I’ll find something,” he promised. With a lick he turned and bounded off into the tall grass in search of cover.

An hour later, Ace finally returned. “I found something,” he assured. He helped Flamethrower to her feet and urged her to move quickly.

Dusk was coming. Each step felt like a hundred, but Flamethrower pushed on. Soon she spotted the mouth of the shallow cave he had discovered. Ace watched nervously as she lay down on a bed of crushed grass and moss, laced with feathers.

“Be safe,” he breathed.

“Ace,” Flamethrower sighed. “I want you to know, whatever happens, our cubs will come home safely. All of them. Even if it means I have to trade my life.”

“I love you,” was Ace’s only reply. He pulled himself away from her and out of the cave to take watch while Flamethrower gave birth. 

The minutes crawled by, broken only by cries from the cave. When a piercing yowl cut the night, Ace couldn’t help himself. He rushed in only to have his snout clawed by Flamethrower. He had forgotten the way of caracals. The male could never be in the den at birth. After what seemed like hours, Flamethrower’s soft, tired voice finally called to Ace. It was time for him to come in.

Ace entered cautiously, hoping for only good news, but knowing that the wild holds no promises. In the soft glow of the moon, he saw something he hadn’t seen in a long time: newborn cubs. His cubs.


A large, strikingly handsome hyena with a black tail tip forced Stormy and Thunder down a winding path deep into a steep, dark ravine. As the hyenas led the cubs into a dark cave, they saw several caracal bones scattered across the cave floor. Stormy yipped in fear at the sight, while Thunder quickly whipped a paw up to muffle her sister’s scream.

“You have to be quiet,” Thunder scolded quietly and then sighed. “I’m sorry about our fight earlier.”

Stormy frowned, and then a sympathetic look crossed her face. “It’s ok. We all have those days.” 

Suddenly, they were shoved into a damp corner of the cave. A bone cage dropped over them. The cubs hissed in protest, throwing themselves against the bars.

“Our parents will come and save us!” shouted Stormy. 

“Oh, your parents?” hissed the large hyena with the black tail. “A pregnant mother, is it? No, I believe you’re wrong. She ran away from my patrol.”

“They’ll be back!” yelled Thunder.

“Yes, they might try to come here,” cackled the hyena wickedly. “But I’m sending out a patrol to find them and kill them.” The cubs wailed.


Ace stared into Flamethrower’s tired, caring eyes. She was curled around her nursing cubs, licking them. His heart swelled and his chest puffed up with pride as he trotted lightly over to join his love. As he made himself comfortable on the sandy floor, he licked Flamethrower on the cheek. Ace craned his neck down to his new cubs, eyes beaming.

“We need to name them,” said Flamethrower. 

“Ok,” Ace replied. One by one they named the cubs: Lighting, a boy; Wind, a boy; Hurricane, a girl; and Breeze, a girl. They were a strong, beautiful litter. A hyena bark sounded in the distance. Both caracals froze, listening.

“Ace, we must go and find our cubs.”

“You can’t continue,” he objected.

“I’ve got plenty of strength back.” Flamethrower gave him a challenging glare.

“No,” he insisted. “Where will we leave the new cubs? I mean…we can’t bring them with us.” 

“My sister, Spark is nearby,” Flamethrower replied between licks.

Ace shook his head, but finally blinked in agreement “Ok, I’ll go take them to Spark,” said Ace, shaking moss from his pelt as he stood. 

“No! I will come with you,” Flamethrower said fiercely.

“Ok, ok. Fine,” Ace smiled.


“Scrap, Crush, Tear, and Bone,” the large hyena called. “Go. Find these filthy caracals’ parents and kill them! Toss their bodies into the bottom of Water Rush Ravine!” he ordered, pointing his muzzle toward the cubs. The cubs wailed and cried, clawing on the bone cage.

“It won’t work!” yelled Thunder. “Our parents are warriors!”

Suddenly, the big hyena whirled on them, bearing needle sharp teeth. “Stop that! You won’t have long to worry. Once we’re through with your parents, we’ll do the same to you,” he snarled and walked away.

* * *

“Hello?” Flamethrower called as she and Ace pushed their way through the lichen draped over the entrance of her sister Spark’s den. Flamethrower quickly told Spark what had happened to her cubs.

“Don’t give it a second thought. You must go!” urged Spark, pleading in her amber eyes. “But hurry. Hyenas are…” She traded a fearful look with her sister. Flamethrower only nodded and turned and left with Ace. 

“We’re coming,” whispered Flamethrower under her breath. “Don’t you worry.”

* * *

“No!” yowled Stormy and Thunder in unison.

The black-tailed hyena leaped back at the cubs, only an inch from the cage. “While my patrol searches for your parents, and before we eat you, you’re mine to toy with,” he flashed a sinister smile. “I can starve you or I can have one of my hyenas fight you until you’re almost dead.”

“You’re a monster!” cried Stormy.

“Some have called me that. My name is Killer,” the hyena said. The cubs gasped.

Killer balanced on his hind legs and raised his front paws up toward the sky. “Oh what power I have,” he laughed evilly.


Ace and Flamethrower smelled hyena as they skirted the edge of the Water Rush Ravine, staying downwind. Ahead, deep voices echoed through the undergrowth as two large hyenas appeared. The caracals froze, crouching low. 

“Where are they?” hissed Bone. 

“No clue,” replied Scrap stupidly. “Not here though.” The caracals let out a heavy sigh, mere inches away from the hyenas. Once the patrol had passed, the caracals followed the scent of hyena and their cubs to the mouth of a deep gorge.

“Spark really sounded like she wanted to help back there,” Flamethrower said.

Ace nodded. “Yeah—” Suddenly, a heavy object bowled him over. Flamethrower whipped around to see Scrap and Tear right above her head. She darted to one side, but Tear’s claws were already hooked into the flesh on her side. She grimaced, glancing up to see Ace wrestling with Bone and Crush.

As Flamethrower braced herself for Tear’s bulk to crash down on her, she had an idea. She flipped over, wrenching his claws out of her side and pummeled her back legs into his stomach. This sent Tear flying across the stone. He landed with a sickening thud, and blood pooled around his body. Disgusted but unfazed, Flamethrower ran over and nudged his body over the edge of the lip of the sheer gorge wall. She turned around as a splash hit the water far below.

Flamethrower stood, dazed, panting and exhausted. But reality snapped back as Scrap slammed into her side. She spun on him and clawed the air wildly, trying to be fierce despite her condition, but Scrap swiped at her muzzle as if she were nothing, clearly enjoying the fight. When she tried to lunge at him, exhaustion overtook her. Flamethrower’s hind legs refused to move, as if stuck in ice. She collapsed to the ground. Scrap walked slowly over towards her and bared his teeth. Just when she thought the end had come, something knocked the hyena away from her.


“I’ll bet he’ll starve us,” Thunder whispered, mostly to herself.

“Unless he wants us well fed so they can eat us!” Stormy squealed back.

“We have to get out of here,” said Thunder, worried. “We could try to chew out,” she offered. 

“It’s no use,” said Stormy, defeated, resting her muzzle on her paws. “This might be it.” 

“Don’t talk like that,” Thunder scolded once more. “They’ll come back for us.”

“Do you think so?” said Stormy, a flicker of hope in her voice. 

“I don’t think so,” replied Thunder, “I know so.” 

* * *

Flamethrower blinked up to see Ace peering into her eyes, panting. The bodies of Crush and Bone both lay motionless. “Let’s go,” said Flamethrower. The two caracals trotted ahead and peered over the edge of the ravine.

“There it is!” cried Flamethrower, pointing to the cave mouth at the bottom of the gulch where the cubs were being held prisoner. Slowly and stealthily, Flamethrower and Ace slipped down the ravine and hid in a bush at the bottom.

* * *

“I smell Mommy and Daddy!” Stormy said excitedly.

“What did I tell you? I ‘know so,’” Thunder said with a twinkle in her eye. 

* * *

“The path down the ravine is just past the clearing ahead.” Flamethrower said.

“I smell hyena.” Ace was alert. Flamethrower only nodded.

“Ready?” Flamethrower took a deep breath. “One…two…three!” Flamethrower and Ace yowled and crashed into the clearing. Suddenly a dozen pairs of angry hyena eyes turned on the caracals.

“For Stormy and Thunder!” Flamethrower screeched in rage and flung herself at Killer. But a massive hyena with a terrible overbite jumped in front of her. He sprang, knocking her over and pinning her to the ground. The giant hyena flexed his claws and aimed for her heart, ready to rip it out. Sensing what was coming, Flamethrower rolled from under his downward swipe and kicked hard, sending him crashing into the cliff wall with a bone-jarring crack.

Flamethrower whipped her head around to see Ace facing off against five small but dangerous-looking hyenas. Just then, a looming shape appeared above Flamethrower. Killer’s massive claws clicked on the stone ground as he slowly approached, a mouth of razor-sharp teeth curling into a smile.

“I remember you,” he said sinisterly. “You were the pitiful cub from all those years ago. You had to watch as we killed your family.”

Recognition and fear swept over Flamethrower.

“Flamethrower, was it?” continued Killer. “Poor Flamethrower,” he mocked. “You pathetic creature. You think now you can just march into my territory and defeat me?” Just then, from the corner of her eye, Flamethrower spotted her two cubs in the bone cage, clawing desperately at the bars. 

“How fitting. They will watch their mother die today,” laughed Killer. Flamethrower crouched, readying for the attack. But Killer was also ready. As she sprang, he lunged at her, lowering his head, and rammed her in the ribcage. Flamethrower flipped backward, managing to rotate in the air and land back on her feet. Pain seared through her chest. She stumbled forward. Spotting her weakness, Killer saw his chance. He lunged at her, claws outstretched and teeth bared.

Flamethrower tried to dodge, but it was no use. Killer smashed into her and pinned her down as his claws began to sink into her spine.

“This is your end,” Killer whispered in her ear. “And your family is here to watch.” Flamethrower searched desperately for Ace. He had taken out most of the hyenas, but her stomach sank when she finally spotted him. He was lying on the stone ground, not moving. She struggled against Killer’s grip, clawing frantically to escape. Suddenly, Flamethrower let her body go limp. Killer grunted in surprise. It was all the time she needed.

Flamethrower flicked her forelegs from under Killer’s giant paws and slashed at his face. Killer jerked away, but not before one of Flamethrower’s deadly claws raked across the side of his cheek and both his eyes.

“My eyes! I can’t see!” Killer shouted and flailed desperately.

Flamethrower rose painfully to her feet and started to limp over to her husband, growling at the circle of uneasy eyes around her. Suddenly, something hit Flamethrower from behind, causing a chilling numbness to course up her hind legs. Glancing back, she saw gashes so deep they had no feeling. Blood swelled in them. Flamethrower felt dizzy at the sight. Killer grunted in satisfaction and raised his paw to strike the final blow.

Suddenly, a crash sounded above them on the ravine wall as a dark figure sprinted down the winding path. There was something familiar about the movement of the shape and its amber eyes. Flamethrower’s pain made her dizzy and unfocused. The running shape sprang off the wall of the ravine and soared through the air right at them.

Killer instinctively raised a claw to shield himself, knocking the figure off balance mid-leap. The figure careened into a small pool of water on the floor of the ravine. Without pause, the figure was back on its feet, flinging itself at Killer again.

Killer, still blinded, stood motionless and alert. With claws outstretched, the figure expertly aimed at Killer’s head. Killer dodged the claws, but the figure crashed into him, knocking him to the ground. He didn’t move.

The figure trotted toward Flamethrower. She tried to scrabble backwards, but her damaged legs were planted in place. Fear swept over her like a crashing wave. As the figure moved closer, stepping out of the shadows, the familiar face came into view. The sturdy build, the amber eyes, it all made sense now.

“Spark!” she gasped. A loving smile spread across Spark’s face as she ran to her sister.

“Where are the new cubs?” asked Flamethrower, suddenly nervous.

“They’re safe,” assured Spark. “Ace’s sister, Diamond, has them.” Flamethrower tried to leap up to nuzzle her sister, but pain lanced through her hind legs.

“You’re hurt!” Spark cried.

“It would have been worse if you hadn’t come.” Flamethrower smiled weakly.

“Well, I’m here now. You don’t need to worry—”

With a furious roar, Killer launched himself off the ravine wall and ripped into Spark.

“No!” yelled Flamethrower desperately. But it was too late. With a terrible shake of his massive head, Killer whipped Spark side to side, snapping her neck. The world stopped. A surge of fury gave Flamethrower strength.

“My sister!” Flamethrower screeched in rage. Summoning all her strength, she pounced, jabbing pain shooting through her hindquarters. Without thought of consequences, she threw herself at Killer. Killer swatted wildly, but without his eyes, he struck only air. With a great crash, Flamethrower slammed into Killer, her teeth sinking into his neck. She clamped down with all her might, killing him instantly. Standing atop Killer’s motionless body triumphantly, Flamethrower bared her teeth at the other hyenas.

“This is what happens when you mess with my family,” she growled. The hyenas scattered. With a mournful yowl, she grieved her fallen sister.

“Mama!” cried Stormy. Flamethrower turned back and hobbled over to her cubs. With one powerful motion she tore the bone cage door off the hinges and buried her head in the cubs’ fur.

“You came!” cried Thunder into her mother’s fur. “I knew you would.”

“It’s ok now. You’re safe,” Flamethrower said, nuzzling her cubs.

“Your belly!” replied Stormy. “Are the cubs…” She held back tears.

 “Stormy, you’re an older sister now,” Flamethrower said, a weary look in her eye.

 “I am? Do you mean—?” stammered Stormy.

“They are safe with your aunt Diamond,” Flamethrower said softly with a smile. “Let’s get your father and go home.” 

Flamethrower and the cubs cautiously approached Ace. “Honey,” Flamethrower whispered into her mate’s ear. Ace groaned and blood trickled from a gash in his ear, but he managed to sit upright.

“What happened here?” he asked, looking around. 

“Spark is dead,” answered Flamethrower solemnly. “She died defending me.” Ace’s face fell as he heard the news. He ducked his head and nuzzled Flamethrower.

“Let’s go home,” he said.

It was a long and painful walk back to pick up the new cubs. Finally, she was settled in the den, her new cubs suckling at her belly, surrounded by Stormy, Thunder, and Ace. Flamethrower realized their looks of pure love and gratitude said more than words ever could. She had never felt so safe and loved in her entire life.

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