The Ninja and The Bear

I have rules, as such I am the only one to blame for this mess. When you continue, despite an element changing, the whole plan can get vertigo and spin you into any possibility. He was not the one I was sent to kill. I should show this poor bastard mercy and kill him before the poison can progress anymore. He’s already dead, no reason he should suffer. I moved through the shadows and across the Spanish tile of the office floor towards where the man lay, I put my hand on the hilt of my sword. A loose tile squeaked.

*

*      BANG      *

*

I pulled something sharp out of my neck. Why are the lights out? I sat on the floor staring into the darkness wondering what was happening. Strangely I began thinking about the Wind Rivers. Backpacking through quaking aspen, bouldered peaks and mountain rimmed lakes. Something made a sound. I looked up and saw a bear looking directly into my eyes. Everything I knew about survival, and guns and bears triggered in my brain. I knew what to do. It was a black bear, it was probably just curious, but I could smell the fish guts on my hands. Without taking the time to think, I took the .22 from my hip. I had to be Annie Oakley to kill this thing with this gun and only 6 bullets. I drew a bead and pulled the trigger. The bullet hit directly in the center of the aspen to the bears left, exactly where I had aimed. The bear spun and began running up the hill away from the camp. I chased. This time I aimed for the bear’s hind quarters. Miss, miss, bee-sting… the bear jumped. I threw away the last 2 bullets just for sound, and walked back to camp. I ejected the shells into the fire pit and began reloading. When I looked up, I saw a twenty-something year old man staring at me as he crossed the river.

“You have to be the bravest kid I’ve ever seen!”

“Are you kidding me, I’m freaking out right now,” I thought, my heart still in my ears. “Thanks,” I said as I walked over to check on the fish I’d been gutting in the river .

“How old are you?”

“Eleven.”

“Wow, eleven? You’re brave kid. That bear had been following us for miles. I didn’t know what we were going to do.”

“My dad and my dog are on the other side of the lake fishing. I was just lucky he left the gun.”

“You have a gun and a dog, can we camp near you tonight?”

“Um, sure I guess, if my dad says it’s ok.”

Two girls and another man now crossed the river.

“Oh, here come my friends.”

“Umm hey, it’s starting to get dark. Will you guys help me collect some wood?”

 

 

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2 responses to “The Ninja and The Bear

  1. As always Cole, I love your writing. If this a stand-alone: AWESOME!

    There are two things that pop out to me: 1) dialogue lines two and three need to be conjoined into a single para and 2) I think the adjective use is a bit heavy-handed and slows the text down.
    Okay, one more: if this is a stand-alone, I want one more memory/flashback twist near the end without O’Henrying the text and without wrapping back to the first para.

    You’re awesome, I’ll keep following. If I step out of line, let me know.

    • Aaron, about a 3rd memory/metaphor, do you think this story is complicated enough to justify that. I mean, i think it’s just a super simple shorty. Honestly my biggest worry was the heavy-handed “it’s getting dark” ending.

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