The sound of his name stirred Bagheera from his rest. He'd been trying for the past few minutes to finally lie down on the branch and get some much needed sleep, but Mowgli the man cub seemed intent on making things as difficult as possible. The boy had ridden on Bagheera's back all day long, Bagheera had been the one having to keep moving without a single break. He'd had to move quickly, the tiger Shere Kahn could be on them at any time and there was no time to waste. He'd expected Mowgli to understand how important it was they get him back to the man-village, but the boy insisted on arguing all through the night when all Bagheera wanted was to get some sleep before the long day ahead.
This time it was the boy murmuring Bagheera's name. The boy clearly sounded exhausted but thought that he could somehow convince the panther otherwise.
"Oh now look it's no use arguing anymore" Bagheera half spoke, half yawned. He'd lifted his head off the branch to be heard by the boy but was far too tired to bother opening his eyes. "Now" Bagheera began before gently resting his head back on the branch before starting to drift off to sleep again "No more talk til the morning"
On the other side of the branch Kaa heard the panther's words and couldn't help smiling at the foolishness of them. Before him was the young man cub. He was tightly wrapped up in Kaa's thick coils, his legs dangling limply off the sides of the branch. The boy could no longer hear a word and couldn't even form a single a thought. Kaa's powerful hypnosis had sent the boy into a deep trance. Mowgli's eyes were spinning with a kaleidoscope of color and his mouth was formed into a huge smile to mirror Kaa's own.
Mowgli had been so stubborn just a short while ago. But once Kaa's eyes started to spin with color and once Kaa started to sway gently from side to side while soothingly hushing him to sleep, the boy was soon completely helpless. Kaa's tail had started to wind round and round the boy, squeezing him tightly both to prohibit unwanted movement and to further soothe him into a deep hypnotic sleep. The man cub's last act of resistance had been to murmur out the panther's name in the vain hope of rescue but Kaa had quickly tightened around Mowgli's neck to silence him. To his endless delight, Bagheera was completely unaware of the mortal danger his young friend was in.
As Kaa stared at the boy's smiling face and hypnotized eyes he let out a chuckle to himself. Unable to stop himself he couldn't help but say "He won't be here in the morning".
Unfortunately for Kaa, Bagheera wasn't quite asleep enough yet to not here this. Still drowsy Bagheera lifted up his head and replied "Oh yes he will I-"
Suddenly Bagheera's sleepy eyes shot open in horror. The only two on this branch were him and Mowgli. So who was this third person who'd replied? Bagheera whipped his head behind him and saw to his shock and terror Mowgli, lifted off the branch, wrapped up completely in dark coils, leaving only his head and bare feet exposed. His eyes were shut tight in exhausted bliss. But what was most frightening was a familiar snake opening his mouth wide, ready to consume the helpless boy.
"KAA!!!" Bagheera yelled out, rushing towards him "HOLD IT KAA!!!" He half expected Kaa to stop and realize his mistake, but instead the snake just opening his mouth wider, ready for his dinner. Seeing no other option, Bagheera stretched out his claws and smacked the snake hard in the mouth sending him flying backwards.
Shocked by this, Kaa collided hard into the branch above his head and was left dazed and confused. Not realizing what was going on, Kaa dropped the still wrapped up man cub hard onto the branch below.
Mowgli was suddenly awakened from his deep sleep by a hard and painful landing. The coils around him suddenly went limp and lifeless. Mowgli opened his eyes suddenly, frightened and confused. He tried to lift himself up but was too groggy and heavy to move properly.
Completely unaware with what was going on with Mowgli, Kaa shook his head in pain and tried to recompose himself. "Ohhhh." He moaned. "My sinus!" Kaa, suddenly was overcome with a sense of fire and rage as he realized that his precious dinner had been interrupted by a troublesome and interfering panther, Kaa turned towards Bagheera and started to slowly slither towards him. His big yellow eyes were narrowed into a look of pure hate.
Bagheera tired to scramble backwards away from Kaa. However he was terrified of turning his back on the snake when he was so angry as he ran the risk of being tripped up. However Bagheera had had enough unpleasant experience of Kaa's hypnosis to know that look at him held grave risks as well. He tried to keep one eye closed and turned away from Kaa while still not looking away altogether.
"You have just made a...ssssssserious mistake my friend" Kaa hissed with rage as he hurtled closer and closer. Within second Bagheera was horrified to learn that he'd reached the edge of the branch. Kaa leaned in close to him, his eyes hot with anger. "A very...ssssssssstupid..."
"Now now now Kaa I was just-" Bagheera tried to stammer, vainly hoping he could defuse the situation.
But Kaa wasn't in any mood to debate whether or not it was right to try and eat the man cub "...Mistake!" Kaa finished.
On the other side of the branch, Mowgli finally managed to snap himself out of Kaa's trance. He could now remember how everything had gone foggy and strange once he stared into Kaa's colorful eyes. He remembered with a shudder how it had been almost impossible not sway in response to Kaa. How it had seemed like such a good idea to sleep peacefully with the giant snake watching over him. Mowgli held onto the coils around him limply and managed to lift himself up. Placing his feet on the soft coils he wriggled his way out and managed to crouch on the branch. Mowgli stared at the coils sitting there and was struck with an idea.
Lost now in his own thoughts of vengeance, Kaa fixed his full attention on Bagheera. Kaa's eyes were now spinning with color and his ready to put this troublesome panther into a trance he'd never escape from. Bagheera, correctly predicting that Kaa would try to hypnotize him, squeezed his eyes shut and turned away. Kaa however knew fully well that this would do no good.
"Look me in the eye when I'm speaking to you!" Kaa scolded. Most of the inhabitants of the jungle believed that Kaa's power lay purely in his eyes. They foolishly believed that as long as you didn't look into Kaa's eyes, he had no power over you. What they often failed to realize to their own doom was that Kaa used a wide manner of hypnotic techniques to trap a prey. His voice, his tone, his words, his movement, these were all tactics Kaa used to ensure the hypnosis worked perfectly. Often the prey was half hypnotized before Kaa's eyes even started to change color.
In this case, Kaa's angry tone made Bagheera's resistance start to wilt despite all logic. Kaa sounded very angry and surely it wouldn't hurt to respect him enough to look him in his eyes when they were just trying to talk. Bagheera decided to just open his left a tiny crack to make sure it was safe. This however proved to be a fatal mistake for the second he opened his eye, he was overcome by a bright spiral of colors. Bagerra's eye instantly snapped open, unable to look away. His pupil began to steadily pulsate with color as he struggled to fight, eventually his eye was over come and soon it exploded with colors that mirrored Kaa's own eye.
Recognizing the calming and numbing effects of Kaa's hypnosis, Bagheera tried to fight back with his last bit of strength by trying to squeeze his spiraling eye shut and begged "...Please Kaa" before the eye once more opened, now unable to look away.
Realizing that the panther was quickly falling under his spell and unwilling to drag things out as he had with Mowgli, Kaa angrily exclaimed "BOTH EYES...if you please"
Now losing control of his body and mind, Bagheera's right automatically opened in response and was almost instantly spiraling in response. Bagheera's neck craned upward to lock onto Kaa's angry stare, the corners of his mouth starting to bend upward into a smile. Bagheera could feel his mind shutting down, feel his body giving in completely. His eyes were spinning so fast, it was so hard to even hang onto the edge. Finally letting go completely, Bagheera's body spasm briefly before he suddenly locked in a stiff, upright position. A bright smile was locked onto his face, his eyes span with endless colors and even his whiskers had become as sharp and stiff as needles.
Completely unaware with what was going on with Kaa and Bagheera was young Mowgli, who was trying with all his strength to shove the snake's pile of coils off the branch in an effort to get rid of him. Despite everything, Mowgli was unable to do much more than lift the side of them up a little. Thinking for a second, Mowgli had an idea pop into his head. Using one hand to hold up the coils a little, Mowgli laid his back on to the branch and placed one of the soles of his feet on the coils and then the second one. Now he wrapped his arms around the branch and with his eyes clenched tight was able use all his strength to try and push the coils off with his legs. After a few seconds, the coils slowly started to tip sideways until suddenly they fell off the branch in a heavy heap.
Kaa stared with delight at Bagheera's smiling, hypnotized face. Kaa imagined all the punishment he'd make this annoying panther undergo for crossing him. "Don't worry" Kaa whispered "You're going to get a nice long ssssslllleeeeeeppppp. Repeat after me..." Before the panther could say a word, Kaa was suddenly jerked backwards at a rapid speed and found himself hurtling down the tree, smacking and twisting on every branch along the way before landing in a twisted and moaning heap at the bottom of the tree.
High up and seemingly safe at long last from Kaa, Mowgli started giggling to himself. "Look Bagheera!" Mowgli laughed and pointed down at the shadowy darkness below where he imagined Kaa. "Look!" Mowgli called out again. "Bagheera!" Confused at why wasn't hearing any reply Mowgli turned to look at the panther and was surprised to see him standing stiff and tight with a blank look of bliss on his face.
Mowgli ran over to him but was unprepared for this sight. He'd never known that such a thing as hypnosis even existed until that evening and he barely understood it anyway. He'd certainly never seen a victim of hypnosis before now. Mowgli started at the frozen panther but soon his young eyes became fixed on Bagheera's. They were spiraling with color and while they were no where near as powerful as Kaa's had been they were still very difficult to avoid looking at.
Mowgli's eyes started to grow wide as they looked at Bagheera's. "Wake up Bagheera..." He quietly murmured before trailing off. It was so hard to think. Harder to move. Easier just to watch the pretty sight for now.
"Don't worry" Bagheera repeated Kaa's words as he had been commanded, completely oblivious to the fact that the young boy he was charged with protecting was now being inadvertently hypnotized. "You're going to get a nice long ssssssssllllleeeeeepppp"
"Yessss....Bagheera" Mowgli murmured as his mind grew foggy. "Time to sleep"
By this point Kaa had slithered back up to the branch. It had been foolish to leave the boy unoccupied while he focused on Bagheera. On his slither up the tree, Kaa decided that this time he was just going to choke the life out of the boy, hypnotized or not. But as soon as he reached the branch with Mowgli and Bagheera, Kaa was overjoyed to see the boy standing still, staring into Bagheera's hypnotized eyes. Kaa had no idea that one victim could be used to help entrance another but this lucky break was going to ensure that Kaa got the meal of his life.
Kaa's own eyes immediately started to spiral once more with bright colors. He quickly whipped his head around next to Bagheera's so that now Mowgli was staring helplessly into two sets of colorful eyes. "Yesssssssss man cub. Time to ssssssleeeeepppp" Kaa soothed.
Mowgli soon found himself overwhelmed by colors. His body grew warm and weak. Exhaustion was overcoming him.
"Don't you think it's time for the poor little man cub to get some sleep Bagheera?" Kaa asked the panther.
"Yes" Bagheera replied completely dazed. "Time to get some sleep little man cub"
"Close your eyes" Kaa hushed.
"Sleep little man cub" Bagheera repeated.
Mowgli's eyes grew heavy. His body was weak. Fighting that much hypnosis was impossible. His eyes grew heavy. All he could do was let out a long loud yawn before his eyes finally shut and his head flopped forward, far too heavy to hold up.
Kaa quickly maneuvered his coils into a thick, squishy pile just behind Mowgli. "Now let yoursssssself go man cub. I'll catch you now"
Mowgli swayed on his feet before falling backwards straight onto Kaa's coils. Their soft, warmth was immensely peaceful to him. A calming bliss overwhelmed him and a broad smile came onto his face as he fell sound asleep once more.
Kaa giggled in delight and turned back to Bagheera. "Now then. I'm going to enjoy my dinner and you're going to stand him completely still, understand?"
"Good" Kaa smiled "And tomorrow morning, you and I going to have a lot of fun together" Kaa laughed himself as he thought of all the ways he could use the panther to capture his future prey now. But before that, it was time for a long overdue meal. Kaa turned and took one last look and the man cub, stretched out and fast asleep before slowly moving towards him. Kaa's mouth began to open wider and wider and wider...