Join Maryann Monday, June 10 from 9:00a to 10:00a MST on Utah Public Radio. She will be joining Tom Williams on Access Utah to discuss her book and animal welfare topics.
Steam wafted from the simmering pot of beans and wet Hannah’s face as she inhaled the delicious scent of coconut and spices. Her mouth watered in anticipation, but Mom insisted the maharagwe needed a few more minutes. Sensing a flood of restless energy from behind, Hannah whirled, then came the expected heavy thud of padded paws.
“Don’t even think about it!” she said to her pet lion. “You know we can’t play inside. Below his shaggy mane, Yatima had her teddy bear clamped between his naughty teeth. “Mbaya!” Hannah scolded. “You heard me, drop Atiena!”
The lion’s golden eyes lit with mischief, and she knew that look all too well. Crap! She dove for the toy as Yatima tore from the kitchen, wincing as her knees skidded across the wood floor, and still she came up empty handed.
Something crashed in the living room. She limped around the corner, groaning at the sight of the coffee table lying on its side, Mom’s precious knick-knacks scattered across the floor. Yatima stood on the sofa, forming deep indents in the cushions, tail swishing side to side. Hannah huffed in frustration. “What’s gotten into you?”
Her parents peeked in from the front porch—Mom’s eyes wide and Dad’s, narrow. Their thoughts were apparent: She’d better not let Yatima near Mom’s piano. Sure, the ancient upright was a weathered clunker with yellowed keys, not worth much even as an antique, but it was priceless to Mom. Hannah suddenly felt five again—caught balancing on the piano, trying to catch the wild bush baby. It wasn’t her fault that her friend of the moment had followed her indoors, or had she carried it in?
It was crucial she prove she was in control, or all the months of training the cub and convincing her parents the now full-grown lion was obedient and trustworthy enough to be allowed indoors would go down the choo in one incredibly disappointing flush.
Hannah pointed vehemently toward the front door. “Yatima, outside!” But the lion leapt to the floor, moving in the direction of her parents’ bedroom. Not there! She threw herself onto him, her slender frame hardly slowing his pace as her feet slid across the bedroom threshold, a sheepish grin plastered between her cheeks.
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Maryann Martinsen’s novel has a timely message, born of her desire to draw attention to the brutal poaching of lions, elephants and other majestic animals, whose numbers are dwindling. We appreciate your assistance promoting Maryann and Beyond the Savanna.