Ursus Americanus

by Toni

Good Lord!

Now what do I do? All I wanted was a little privacy to accomplish a normal bodily function. What was so wrong with that? The rest were setting up camp. I quietly walked away managing not to gain any attention from Buck who seems to love to follow and pop up at the least opportune moments.

The next thing I knew a rather large furry beast is bellowing in my ear. Having completed the amenities I had begun to stand realizing a most unpleasant sensation would probably have occurred if I hadn't just done it already. The beast, a rather large, I believe, grizzly, stood on its hind legs, opened its mouth exposing quite a few sharp teeth and bellowed out, which somehow that brought to mind our illustrious leader, Mr. Larabee, swiping at me with its huge paw, knocking me down like a small twig.

Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, it did not knock me unconscious, though I did seem to be seeing double, for in front of me appeared two more bears. I stared a moment, waiting for my vision to clear before realizing these two were much smaller than the one who seemed to want to use me more for a play toy or may be tenderize me to be a more palatable meal for the younger ones. Somehow, neither of these options seemed to appeal to me.

I realized that the larger bear must be the parent of the two younger ones. I doubted if they were old enough to be able to completely fend for themselves. Funny how this thought came to me as I was more than likely being prepared for a meal for them. I suppose a noble way to go, perhaps with a few berries for a chaser. I saw some on my way here, thought I might take some back with me. Momma bear (I assumed it was momma, from what I had learned from Vin, daddy bears don't hang around with their offsprings for long) was digging a hole. Marvelous, I thought, she's even digging my grave. I think of the derringer attached to my wrist . Little use it would be to me even if I could raise my arm to shoot it (I am now pinned under one of the cubs, the two have chosen to wrestle over me) my gun would about be as effective as a mosquito. Momma has shooed away her babes and has clamped her massive jaws on my arm and is dragging me to the dug up earth (I seem to remember Vin mentioning a bear will bury its meal to protect it from other predators so she can come back and finish eating it later). I assume since she has not begun to consume me she must have had a hearty meal earlier. I hope if I am not able to get away before that she has killed me. I really do not like the idea of being eaten alive.

Most curious, she seems to have finished with me but she is still sitting near. I was hoping I could crawl away when she left. I am not too injured to make a getaway. Of course I could bleed to death while I wait.

I lay somewhat on my side on the earth. I watch with one eye open, the other seems to be swollen shut, looking at this mother with her cubs. She is rather majestic as she watches attentively to her brood. I think one is a male and the other is female, no reason just intuition. Funny, I see more love in these moments amongst these creatures than I ever experienced growing up. Love is not a word my mother used except to acquire something. I wonder if these siblings will have a long and happy life. I wonder if I may still have a long and relatively happy life. I have no idea how I am going to acquire this.

You know, I think I have been gone long enough. You'd think someone would have come looking for me. Maybe they think I have walked away sulking about something. There's no reason for that ,we all have been in high spirits. Yes, JD did pull that stupid prank earlier with a little help from Buck, but I took it good naturedly, I thought, and besides, I'll get even later.

It's starting to get late. I see mother bear's eyes drooping. Her cubs have snuggled up to her ready for sleep themselves. Good . Maybe I can quietly leave this family for my own ragtag group.

My furry family has just fallen to sleep. I start to effect my emancipation when I see movement from the trees. I hope I wasn't wrong and this is the daddy bear. Actually, no, but it is almost as big. It is our own bear of a man, Josiah. He is quietly leaving the shelter of the trees and has taken hold of my arms. I suppress the groan, that arm is apparently broken. Nathan's going to have a field day. I hear some branches break. I see momma bear move, not yet, not awake.

Buck clears the safety of the trees and takes my other arm. The two pull me up, my legs buckle, my head is spinning. I see Chris, he has his rifle and is ready to shoot if need be. The cubs are stirring. I try to be as quiet as possible. I really do not want any harm to come to the bears. They did nothing wrong. I look over at Vin. He, too, has his shotgun. I see the look of understanding in his eyes, he nods. He raises his arm and pulls down the rifle that Chris is pointing at mother bear's head, quietly pulling him back into the trees. The ursine creatures were not disturbed. They would have to find breakfast elsewhere.

The End

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