Watching Shadows is the story of a lioness named Mauja and the cheetah she adopts. The basis is several years old.
"Love is for mothers, sisters and daughters. Males come and go, we always remain."
Mauja spent most of her life looking forward to her first litter. When the day comes, however, instead of warm, sweet faces she is greeted by cold, lifeless bodies. Distraught, when she stumbles upon a cheetah cub orphaned by the pride's guard, she cannot resist taking in the innocent child. The cub repeats that he "is not alone" so many times that she dubs him thus: Sigumba. But her happiness cannot last forever. When she is discovered, she is forced to leave her home and pride behind. With nowhere else to go, she heads toward a place she remembered from cubhood stories. She is unsure if it exists, but it at least lends the illusion of direction to her now-nomadic life. Will she be able to raise her son to survive on his own?
Watching Shadows was inspired by various sources. Mauja is Cutler's version of Shegra from The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus. Sigumba and Kiwara are based on Duma from the film Cheetah. It took a few years before she finally got around to changing their names and fleshing out their story. The title itself is based on the opening lines of Dangerous Times.
Like all of Cutler's stories, Watching Shadows was created by listening to music. The following are the songs that helped create this story.
- “Indian Outlaw” – Tim McGraw
- "So Bring It On" – The Cheetah Girls
- "Dig a Little Deeper" – The Cheetah Girls
- "Last One Standing" – Simple Plan
- "Welcome to the Masquerade" – Thousand Foot Krutch
- "Learn To Be Still” – The Eagles