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The Red King of the Jungle (unreviewed)[]

There once lived a jackal named Jack in the jungle.

Jack was dirty- his fur was a dull, bluish-grey color- so he didn’t have friends. He was weak, so the stronger predators of the jungle always hunted him.

The only thing Jack was good at was running. He ran and ran, all his life, away from his pursuers, away from the animals who didn’t befriend him.

Tired from running, one day, Jack snuck into a dark cave to hide. His pitiful life made him cry.

“Is this coward, miserable existence all I’m worthy of?”

A roar distracted his thoughts. Terrified, Jack started retreating further inside…when his feet slipped on something slippery, making him collapse on the floor.

On recovery, he realized that he’d slipped on…blood. A long trail of thick, bright-crimson, that went deep inside the cave.

Just the thought of what had caused this horrific mess petrified him. Afraid, Jack rushed out of the cave.

What he didn’t realize, was that the red blood he had slipped in had slathered all over his body- giving him a reddish appearance. It wasn’t until one of his predators- Heinous, the hyena- spotted him, that he became aware of this transformation.

“Who are you?”, Heinous asked dubiously. “We haven’t seen a beast your kind in our jungle before.”

Jack formed a sly idea.

He claimed he was Jekyll, the divine mount of goddess Kali, sent to protect the jungle. The only condition was, the other animals had to worship him.

Heinous, being a dumb creature, took him for his word and did as implied.

But it wasn’t just Heinous. Word of the divine Red Jekyll soon spread all over the forest. Jack used his silver tongue well and continued the ruse. Formerly a recluse, he was quite enjoying the newfound popularity and his subjects’ luxurious treatment.

At the same time, he also remembered the horrific origins of his crimson fame. Jack was aware that were his red hue to ever disappear, he’d have to return to his true, absconding ways.

His fears soon materialized. His fur’s red color soon started to fade. Jack could sense the growing skepticism. Before things worsened, he had to leave.

One night, he quietly snuck back into the same cave where he’d originally acquired his color.

But he wasn’t alone.

Leon the Lion- the former King of the Jungle- was there too.

“You dare dethrone me? I shall slaughter you to reclaim my rightful place!” Leon charged.

A fugitive all life, Jack should’ve run.

But…Jekyll did not.

His skinny legs, that were only good at escaping trouble…suddenly, they had discovered an otherworldly strength, as they pinned Leon plumb to the floor.

He kept hacking wildly at his rival with his benign claws…until he drew blood.

Jekyll won the long, gruesome battle, wearing his crimson, bloodied fur as a trophy. Proud as a peacock, he howled into the starry night- while the whole jungle cowered in fear.

Jekyll, the Red King, had ascended to his true, cold-blooded throne.

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