I opened my mouth to scream but it was too late.
The lion sprang, and Maria disappeared under its matted furry length. She yelped once and her legs twitched.
Dickie covered his face with his dirty fingers. Tom jumped out of the Land Rover. I panicked.
"No, Tom, don't go any closer! Tom, there's nothing you can do!"
He advanced a couple of steps, then halted.
Maria's legs stopped twitching. The big cat looked up at us, unusually bony, with patches of fur missing, and her muzzle covered with blood.
I gagged and turned away...
* * * *
"How awful," said Sheila, slurping her latte and watching me with bright eyes. We were safely inhaling caffeine in a Starbuck's in Indianapolis while trading stories of family vacations.
"It was horrible. Not at all what I'd planned on for my first trip to Africa. I haven't slept well since then," I said. "We had to report it to the Tanzanian police."
"Did they give you a hard time?"
"Not really. You see, they thought it was an accident." I gazed tearfully at my best friend.
"Of course it was an accident. After all, it was the Brazilian lady's fault. She wandered away from the vehicle after your driver told her not to."
"But that's not what really happened."
Sheila paused, her sticky cinnamon roll suspended halfway to her mouth. "What do you mean?"
"We didn't tell the police the whole story. What really happened was this..."
Causes Sarah Wisseman Supports
Archaeological Institute of America