Flash fiction: Bear


The International Flash Fiction Day Competition

Entry requirements are that a story of fewer than 300 words be submitted to one’s website by June 10.  Here’s my offering.  It’s called Bear.

I was high up on Brindle Ridge checking traps when an animal accosted me.  I think it was a bear.  Back in the Lodge, Pamela arranged blue flowers in a terracotta pot.  Gazed out of the window up towards the Ridge.

Should I cut off its paw?  Return to find a stump-wrist granny in her gory bed?  Handless Pamela?

Pamela plumps the pillows, avoids the predatory attentions of her first cousin, Edgar, who lives in the cellar.  She is deft in her movements, comely.

The bear regards me.  Grunts.  I finger the handle of my David Bowie.  Wind blows the bear’s fur, makes my eyes water.  More bears emerge from the forest.  Some of them wear vintage clothing like American pioneers.  Or that’s how it seems to me.

Pamela sends Edgar to the supermarket to buy Flying Goose chilli sauce.  Every dish responds to a kick of heat.

Pamela rearranges the hydrangeas.

I have never cared for hydrangeas.  Of the family Saxifrage, stone-breakers; medieval herbalists believed they could dissolve kidney stones – this remedy’s efficacy is unproven.

In the mountains, the bears have reached a Ridge consensus: Ursus Max.

Bears give their name to Arthur, Artemis.  Also berserkers.  Bait them.  Bear with them.

Having left the supermarket with his exotic purchase, Edgar watches a fat, squat, wheezing Bill Sykes dog greet the bus girl as she reaches the shelter in front of the shack.  Her mother holds its leash, its bow-legged stance and wagging rat-tail saying: ‘I kill things for fun’, but it’s a family pet?  Grunts, can’t bark.

When they get on the bus their buggy blocks the gangway.

Child in the buggy is comatose, head back, could be dead.


282 words (incl. title)

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