It was the biggest lion he had ever seen.
The luxuriant beast paced alone in the large cage. Thick jet-black mane bristled in the breeze blowing between the thick bars isolating the lion from observers. This lion was, simply put, huge; over a foot taller at shoulders than a normal one, sturdy and massive, and the fur glistened like polished gold and ebon. John had never seen a beast like him, and if a lion ever deserved being called the king of beasts, this one certainly did.
"Gorgeous, isn't he?" asked a man beside John. There weren't any others next to the cage; apparently the crowd of the circus had wandered elsewhere. The man was apparently one of the staff, wearing a bright red shirt and black sleeveless jacket with star-shaped buttons; aged narrow face and cropped white hair completed the image.
"Yes, I'll give him that," John replied, turning his gaze again to the lion pacing in the cage, the tail swaying, not hiding anything. "Gorgeous, yes. Huge, too." He hid a shiver.
"Indeed. I'm Carl Sforzando, the lion-tamer of the circus. Will you be coming to watch my number?"
John turned and shook the offered hand, "John Taylor. Certainly, I'm looking forward to that. Is he going to be in it?" He nodded towards the cage.
The tamer shook his head. "No. He's not mine, and the tamer who owned him vanished a few years ago. Right now, he's only for show, and he looks great in photos."
"What happened to the other lions?" John asked.
Carl Sforzando shrugged, "I don't know, he was the only one here when I joined in. Nobody wants to have old circus lions, so I'm afraid they no longer existed, and few can gain the trust and control over someone else's pets."
"If any of them were even close to him, they must have been a great group indeed," John said, turning again to look at the lion. The lion looked back at him, sharply, for a passing moment.
"No, they were quite ordinary, save this. He never sired cubs, even..."
"How come? He looks fine to me." John smiled wryly.
"They tried, once. Story goes that they got the lioness to the cage, with quite a lot of work; she was rather unwilling. Nothing much seemed to happen, though, so they let the two together overnight. On the morning, the lioness was gone."
"Yeah. Gone. Not a hair was found of her. And, they tell, _he_ did not come out from his den for several days after that. After that, they never sent in another. Well, anyway, I must prepare for the show, now."
John listened with only half an ear, and was a little surprised as he noted that the man had left; whatever had been said had already vanished from his mind. It would be so easy - snatch some tranquilizers and stuff at the vet clinic he worked at; linger on the area after the late night show was over, there were many places to hide; and picking the locks of the cage would be a breeze. And after that, the lion would be all his for the night...
Thought and done; late that night, in the starlight, a dark figure slunk towards the cage of the giant lion. The neon sign over the cage, reading 'King Leo' was finally darkened, and drapes were pulled over the bars to give the lion some more peace than there would be otherwise. John waited for his moment, and then slunk in under the drapes. The smell of the male lion was thick there, as he inhaled to blow a small tranquilizer-loaded dart into King Leo's royal backside.
With a wide grin, John turned to work on the lock of the cage. Indeed, it was a breeze to pick the lock; a grandma could have done it with a rusty hatpin. He slipped inside and swiftly slipped out of his clothes, before slinking through the inner door as well, easily passing the simple clasp. The lion lay still, unmoving, as John yanked the dart off and put it back to the small bag he had brought. "Sorry about that, pal, but we'll both enjoy this more if you're a bit drowsy," he whispered to the lion.
King Leo yawned. The huge jaw dropped, large ivory teeth glinting in the starlight; tongue curled as the maw parted wide, and a warm moist exhale of a carnivore breezed out as the jaw began to close, and shut with a steely sound of the teeth. Then the lion shook his head, the thick mane flagging. John smiled and touched the moist, wide nosepad with a fingertip. "Relax, now, and enjoy..."
A while passed as John entertained the lion. The thick tail flicked and pounded the floor lazily, as King Leo let himself be entertained; yet once John drew up again the lion was no longer dazed, but powerful forepaws closed around the man, and the lion's tongue darted out and stroked over the unshaven cheek. The coarseness met its better as the wide tongue rasped, not like wet warm sandpaper, but more like a score of sawblades set one upon another. John squirmed, but it was no more use than trying to struggle free from a steel vice, yet he stayed quiet, not wanting to alert the circus staff. Instead he reached for his bag, pushing against the paws, whispering soothingly and hoping that King Leo would release him.
The lion had other plans, apparently, for again the jaws opened, not for a lick, but wider; and John's scream was cut before it began as the wide tongue pressed to his face and the lion lurched, and the grip of the jaws held to his neck now. John trembled, and struggled harder; yet only the lion's grip around him became tighter. Even now the great gripping paws moved to his hips, keeping his arms pinned; hindpaws pressed to his legs and made kicking impossible; and all the time the streak of fur along the lion's underside tickled tantalizingly at his raging erection, still in full glory after his 'play' with the lion. This time, the lion played with him, and he certainly did not like this game.
King Leo pushed the human deeper into his jaws. This game was much better than glaring at those behind the bars of the cage, much better than the lifeless meat they fed him. The lion was quiet as the throat was busy with other things, only the tail flagged around with beastial joy already in anticipation of full stomach, a pleasure he had not had in a long time.
John wrenched himself this way and that, but all was useless. With dreadful thought he realized what was happening as the warm slickness of the lion's throat began to unfold over his head and face. He panted in terror, and the pain along his back as the lion pushed his knees. The lion did not give in an inch, and with terrifying ease the beast slid the man into the folds of the throat, into hot wet darkness. Breathing was soon impossible, and John gasped in vain for air, still painfully conscious of the feel of the beast's jaws, already wide enough to fit in his shoulders, the next powerful yank stroking the teeth over to mid-chest, the excited heartbeat of the lion-beast -- for it was not a lion, for certain -- pounding against his head as he was forced deeper.
It was hardly a minute after the lion gripped John before the man was in the hungry jaws up to the waistline. At that time King Leo rolled over and sat up, letting gravity pull the squirming man deeper inside. Again King Leo paused, for a few seconds, musing over the new taste of the man's groin, and then ignored it. The huge forepaws moved to press the legs up and to line with the jaws; and then, unobstructed, the man slid deeper in swiftly.
John noticed the pressure on his knees ease, but there was little he could do, as lack of air was already making him dizzy, and he sweated as the heat of the lion surrounded him. He stiffened and exhaled a little as the rasping, torturing tongue tasted his crotch, his member still painfully erect, and now he was again reminded of it. He was doomed, he knew, and now remembered what the tamer had told him when he first gazed this beast - 'Nothing was found of the lioness'. Of him, they would find the bag and the clothes, he knew. Of his body, there would only be the bulging of the lion's stomach - the lion that would remain hidden inside the den for several days until hunger would drive him out.
King Leo stood up on his hindpaws, leaning against the sturdy bars of the cage, feeling the still twitching weight slide towards the bottom of his hungry stomach. It was easy; the furless man slid easily once slickened with a little saliva. Tight muscles rippled along the esophagus, dragging the meal deeper, aided by gravity; and shortly the jaws closed again, with no more signs of the man save the stretched belly of the beast.
John was still conscious; it wasn't even three minutes since his breath had been cut off by the lion's maw. His blood was packing to his head now, because of the upside-down position, and he still squirmed about as the muscles pushed him against the bottom of the stomach. He struggled to avoid getting his neck broken by the pressure, and the walls gave in enough for him to curl over, and his legs were pushed in now. His erection was still raging, and the heat and movement of the beast's gullet had not let it down; much the opposite. He struggled about and managed to get to fetal position, knowing this was the end now, yet he had the time for one thing. He grasped his erection, though already burning in the acidid mucus of the stomach, and stroked himself furiously. The place quaked again, yet he had lost track of position long time ago. He struggled, and then exhaled all with an explosive orgasm, muscles quivering weakly for a passing moment before relaxing, and John Taylor lost consciousness as the climax faded.
King Leo stood still and licked his muzzle. This kind of meal did not leave too much aftertaste, yet it was much better; it was the only kind of meal that truly nourished and renewed this beast. With a quiet rumble he felt thet struggles cease within his stomach, and the relaxed lump compressed tighter in the pressure of the stomach muscles, yet still a heavy bulge indeed. As in afterthought, the lion belched out the air that the man had exhaled, and looked around at the things in his cage, sniffing at them, and ignoring them. Feeling drowsy, perhaps feeling a little more amiable now, he crawled into his dark den and curled up to sleep and digest.
"Okay, how did this get to happen?"
"Nobody was really thinking something like this would happen," replied Carl Sforzando, looking about in the pale morning light. "At least I didn't guess someone would willingly jump into Leo's jaws. Just doesn't happen, boss."
"Well, it apparently happened," said the man in pale brown suit, as the lion-tamer reached into the cage and pulled out a small black leather bag, and opened it. There was a small blowgun, a couple of tranquilizer darts, and a packet of condoms.
Carl Sforzando snorted. "This guy wasn't going to jump his jaws, but his ass. Well, can't say I'm sorry. Well, what shall we do about this?" The lion-tamer gathered the clothes from the doorway of the cage.
"Does anyone know?"
"I found this stuff about twenty minutes ago and got to you as soon as I could. It's just us, and Leo."
The man in pale suit nodded. "All right. Destroy them." He pointed at the bundle of clothes and bag. "This never happened. We can't afford losing the visitors, and King Leo is too useful to lose, for... what he does."
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