The Life of a Tiger

Chapter 1: Beginnings

I don't remember my past very well. All I remember was spending my whole life (Well, whole life up to the age of 11) in the jungles of Indonesia and having strange abilities that I believe I was born with. I never knew my real name and I never knew how to talk and I never knew my parents. If I had any parents. I slept in a hollow tree and learned how to find food and water for survival. To me, the way I was living for those 11 years of my life, was normal, but everything changed when I met someone like me.

Somehow, during my time in the jungle, I found a friend. I didn't know tigers were dangerous. They looked so cute and cuddly and I couldn't resist. When I was about three, a Sumatran Tiger found me sleeping in my hollow tree. I think it mistook me for it's cub because it picked me up gently in it's mouth and took me to it's home. That tiger was my only family for the time. She taught me to roar and find food and scare away predators and catch fish. The strange abilities I mentioned earlier played a major part in my life. I never knew why but I always had retractable claws instead of fingernails and my energy and agility was greatly increased. I had strong legs and could run as fast as a tiger and I could see six times better than humans in daylight and darkness. At first, because I was young and didn't know, I thought it was normal. My features matched the tiger's features so I figured one day I'd look exactly like the tiger who raised me. I got quite attached to that tiger who I called Mother Tiger. But once again, everything changed when I came face to face with a human.

I was running through the jungles having fun, wind in my face and hair. It was awesome. I love wind, it's so swooshy. Anyway, I was running and when I came to a clearing I checked where the sun was located. It was nearly night time. Mother tiger will be looking for me soon. I ran back through the jungle using trees to guide me home. While I was running I heard a loud BANG! It made me jump. I was only eleven at this point. I didn't want the BANG to catch me so I used my claws to climb into a tree and hide. Then I began to leap from tree to tree. I had to get home before the BANG found me. So close, I was so close to home. I began to sweat from the stress and fear. In the trees quite a distance from where I was, I spotted five figures. They were walking closer to where I was. I had to get out of here and get home to safety. Suddenly, I heard a defining roar. Mother Tiger! She was coming to save me. I jumped from tree to tree as fast as my legs could take me. I could now see her but I wasn't the only one, the five figures also spotted Mother Tiger. I watched as three of them ran towards the tiger and the two others tried to pull them away. I watched Mother Tiger as she ran through the bush and away from the figures. I was scared but I kept running, trying to get to my Mother Tiger. I heard the loud BANG again. I screamed in fright, grabbed my ears and fell from the tree I was in. I lay on the ground for a while until I heard Mother Tiger roar in pain. My ears stung and my body hurt but I got up and began stumbling towards Mother Tiger roaring as best I could, trying to get her attention. Another BANG shook the ground beneath me knocking me over. I got back up and continued running and roaring. My roar was faint and small but I'm sure Mother Tiger could here it. I pushed past some leaves and found Mother Tiger lying on the ground, not moving. Red liquid flowed around her. I had never seen a death so I pushed her, roaring and begging her to get up. She wouldn't. Tears formed and rolled down my face. I was alone and frightened. What was I to do? Mother Tiger wouldn't wake up. What was wrong with her? I remember what Mother Tiger taught me about hunting. She'd kill the prey before she ate the prey so it wouldn't feel the pain of being eaten. Was this what happened? Did someone kill my Mother Tiger? It was the only conclusion. Upset and alone I rested my head on Mother Tiger's dead, furry, red-stained body and cried. I cried for what seemed like ages. When I heard noises coming from behind me, I stopped. Turning around I saw the five figures emerge from the bush to stand above me and Mother Tiger. They looked like me, but bigger. Who were they? Tears continued streaming down my face as I looked up at them. Three of them pointed big sticks at me. I was scared. What were these sticks? Did they kill Mother Tiger? I closed my eyes in fright. I heard a loud shout and a BANG. The BANG made me scream and grip Mother Tiger's fur still believing she'd protect me. Then I gripped my ears in pain. I realized two of the figures were standing in front of me and seemed to be defending me from the other three. They made noises which I didn't understand. I continued to stay close to Mother Tiger and continued to cry until these figures left me. But they never did. It felt like ages before three of the figures left and the two standing in front of me turned and kneeled down. One made a soothing noise and patted the hair on my head. I was still crying. The other made strange noises at the one patting my head. They both stared down at me and made the same noises they had made with each other but this time to me. "What's your name?" one asked in Indonesian, but I couldn't even understand talking at that point so I just looked up at them, scared and breathing heavily. They both looked at each other as if I was supposed to make a strange noise like theirs. The one who was patting my head suddenly lifted me off the ground and wrapped it's long arms around me. I couldn't do anything to fight it. They wouldn't let me resist so I stayed in this figure's arms and cried. I was so scared. What did they want from me? What were they going to do to me? I just wanted Mother Tiger to come back and protect me.

It was early in the morning. I could tell. The sunlight was streaming through my closed eyelids. it was peaceful. I didn't remember much from last night until I reached out to grab Mother Tiger's tail and pull it over my body for a blanket. There was no furry tail. I opened my eyes and sat up on a comfy thing that I had been lying on. I wasn't in the jungle anymore. Looking around I saw strange things crowding the area I was in. I started to panic again. I made roar noises to try and get Mother Tiger to come and save me from this strange place but she never came. Then I remembered. Mother Tiger is dead and I've been taken by the two strange figures who looked like me. I held back tears as I looked around the strange area. They must have taken me to their home. Maybe they felt bad about me loosing my only Mother Tiger. Maybe they wanted to help. A part of the house opened and the figured who patted my head came in. I figured it was of the feminine gender since she acted like a mother to me. She looked at me then sat next to me on what I thought was the bed. She spoke with her strange noises again. I tilted my head hoping it would show the figure I didn't understand what she was saying. She just looked at me confused. I gave a small, faint roar as it was all I could do. The female made a noise that sounded like she was happy. Then she made a loud noise and on cue the other figure came in. This must be the female's mate, I figured. I gave a small roar again to try and communicate, but all the figures did was make happy noises. I didn't understand them and they didn't understand me but their happy noises made me smile.

It was over a month later and I learned a few new things. I learned how to speak Indonesian a little and learned how the figures were called 'humans' and how I am also a 'human'. The humans had also learned from me. They learned that I had unique powers that matched the abilities of a tiger. Humans are strange. They don't hunt for food, they don't purr when they are happy and they don't curl into a ball on a bunch of leaves when they go to sleep. I had so much to learn and I love learning so I was very excited. The two humans asked for my name and told me that their names were 'Cinta' (The female) and 'Daud' (The male). I told them that I didn't have a name so they decided to call me Raja because it was the name they gave to their baby that died at birth. I got used to living with Cinta and Daud. They cared for me like I was their son and taught me everything I needed to know about being a human. Being a human is hard. There are so many words to learn and normal things that humans do. Apparently roaring isn't normal but I still enjoyed roaring because it reminded me of my Mother Tiger. Cinta and Daud felt bad about what had happened the night of Mother Tiger's death and they said that they'd take care of me from then on. I still didn't understand all the words they used but I wanted to learn all of them so for a gift, Daud gave me an Indonesian Dictionary. Everyday I would read the dictionary, and everyday I'd learn new words. I felt like I was part of a family, even though I didn't know what a family looked like or felt like.

Two years later and I was still living with the nice people who saved me two years before. I now knew how to speak very well and I'd even started learning English. I couldn't go to regular school like normal kids so instead, I'm homeschooled by Cinta. Daud works from Monday to Friday so he has no time to teach me but I still get to see him on the weekends. School is great! I get to learn so much! Cinta says I ace every subject. I never knew what I was missing out on until now. Sometimes, I wished to go to regular school like all the normal kids, but both Cinta and Daud told me it wasn't safe. They told me that with my powers I could be seen as a threat or scientific experiment. I looked at these words in the dictionary and I realized that I didn't want to be either one so I agreed to stay hidden from any other humans. Unfortunately, I am not a good hider.

It was late at night and I was curled up on my bed sleeping when I heard the door creak open. At first I thought is was Daud coming home from a late shift at work; but he never came over and patted my head like he usually does. I opened one eye and looked around the room. I spotted the figure of a male human hiding in the shadows. Swiftly, I jumped off my bed and unleashed my claws. I was ready to defend Cinta and Daud at any cost. My sharp eyesight allowed me to see clearly in the dark so I knew where the male was hiding. Instinctively, I hissed at the male letting him know that I was there and that I could see him. I tried to make myself look as big as I could to try and scare the male away, but that never happened. One of the males eyes quickly closed and opened again. He wasn't doing the weird eye thing to me, he was doing it to someone behind me. Before I could turn around something covered my eyesight and secured my arms and legs so I couldn't move. I was inside some sort of sack or something and I could feel rope around my arms and legs. I felt myself being lifted off the ground and slung over someone's shoulder. In fright, I let out a faint roar and on cue Cinta and Daud charged into the room. I continued roaring from inside the sack trying to tell them where I was so they could save me. I heard talking outside the sack and pushed my ear against the edge of the sack so I could clearly hear what they were saying. "Excuse me, that is my son you have in that sack." I recognized that soothing voice to be Cinta. I continued listening. "Ma'am we have the right to do this. We need to study this kid's unique abilities." I didn't recognize that voice. It must have been one of the males.

"I don't care. That is our son! You can't take him from us!" there was Cinta's voice again.

"I'm sorry but this is for science." Science! Like a scientific experiment!

"He's just a kid!" I heard Daud's firm voice backing up Cinta.

"We only need him for a few tests and experiments then we'll hand him right back." Immediately my heart started pounding in my chest and I struggled to break free from the sack. I didn't want to be apart of an experiment. Somehow I managed to scratch the sack and ropes with my claws creating a hole that I then squeezed through. "Raja! Look out!" Cinta warned me and with my cat-like reflexes I flipped out of the way of two hands reaching out trying to grab me. Unfortunately, I flipped right in front of the other male who knocked me off my feet. The male I had flipped away from came up and tied my claws behind my back. The tightness of the ropes caused my claws to retract. The males were too concentrated on stopping me that they didn't realized Daud come up from behind and hit one of them in the back of the head with a chair. The two males immediately changed direction and went after Daud. I watched in fright. Cinta came over to me and untied my hands. "Come on! We're going!" she hurried helping me to my feet.

"What about Daud?" I asked.

"He'll be coming once he rids us of these people." Cinta assured. She grabbed a crate and filled it with food, water and blankets. Obviously we didn't have a plan of where we were going. Daud suddenly ran over and helped Cinta carry the crate. "Hurry!" he said grabbing my hand and pulling me along, "They won't be out for long." We were running down the beach because Cinta said it would be easiest to escape if there aren't any obstacles in the way. We live close to the beach so we weren't too far from home. I looked behind us and spotted the two males chasing after us. "Cinta! Daud! They're behind us!" I shouted alerting Cinta and Daud. They sped up. Daud didn't let go of my hand, he just held it tighter. The males sped up too. They were getting closer. Eventually they caught up and were about to jump on me and grab me when Daud lifted me up and put me in the just big enough crate they were carrying. One of the males tackled Daud to the ground. The immediate stop caused Cinta and Daud to accidently throw the crate I was in into the ocean. Luckily the crate floated. When the crate was thrown the side of it hit my head and now I was bleeding. "Raja!" Cinta cried. I grasped the part of my head where blood was seeping out and looked over the edge of the crate. I was already quite far from the beach and I didn't know how to swim in a deep ocean and I was too scared to try. I saw Cinta waving her arms in the air and shouting my name. Then I spotted Daud. He was fighting against the two males who were trying to get to me. As I watched the fight I realized that I was floating further and further away from the beach. I called out to Cinta and Daud. They heard me and ran as far as they could into the ocean but they couldn't reach me. They had stopped running and now Cinta was hugging Daud tightly and Daud wrapped his arms around his mate. They were both crying. I held back my tears and continued calling out to them but they couldn't hear me anymore because by now, I was too far gone.

To Be Continued...