I was in my early teens again. All my relatives were there, just like when we grew up. Every cousin, every aunt and uncle, my dead grandmother was even present. We were at the cottage they had built that later had become their home.
My heart was smiling. I can’t remember the last time I truly smiled. Not since she …
I was looking out the back window from the kitchen. Most of the rear side of the house was large glass windows. There was a skunk playing with a squirrel. It was the oddest thing. I thought to myself “Why am I not recording this on my NeoCom to upload later?” and quickly pulled it out to do just that.
The merriment and joy continued in the other rooms. All the younger cousins were downstairs while the adults were upstairs. I started filming the animals outdoors.
A bear chased a fox towards the other animals. At first I thought this was going to be the best video ever, but things quickly changed.
The bear stopped in its tracks, then looked straight at me even though so far away. Then things went horribly strange. It stood on its hind legs and began to growl, growing to over 20 feet in height, its mass growing proportionately as well. I felt chills down my spine, the hairs on the back of my neck standing upright. A tingling sensation pulled at me, and I put my NeoCom away, turning to my nearest aunt to tell her about the bear.
But they already knew. They were drawing closed the shades on the windows as the bear started towards the cottage. The joy of the moment was gone, replaced with an air of terror.
I began researching on my NeoCom to find out what kind of bear this was that could do such a thing. A few failed searches led me to an article about the “King of the Forest”, an old legend about vengeful spirits being reborn into a majestic animal to rule over the lands, forever holding a grudge against the family that killed them.
I shared this discovery with my family. None of them knew what to think, but my grandmother went pale white. She told me to stay away from the windows, but I needed to film this bear to make sure we knew what it was.
There was a door at the rear of the house, with a small uncovered window in the upper center of it. I hid behind a wall and could see the enormous snout of the king bear sniffing at the door. I edged my NeoCom around the wall to get a photo, but the camera was set in the mode that pointed the lens at me. I quickly changed modes, but it went to video and because it was so dark now in the house the LED light automatically came on. I cursed under my breath as the bear noticed and began looking frantically for the source of light. I managed to get the light turned off and peered at the NeoCom screen just in time to see the bear smash the small glass of the door.
I knew in my heart it was over. I knew at that moment that once the bear realized it could smash glass, it would destroy the remaining windows at the back of the cottage and be on us in a heartbeat.
I stopped breathing. Time stood almost still. I back peddled towards the front door of the house, the need to flee, to escape, overwhelming all my senses. There was no fighting the king bear; only flight, and I was determined to fly.
I felt my hand grab the knob of the door. That is when the windows shattered. That is when the screams began, only to be drowned out by the mighty roar of the giant king bear who entered the cottage with ease. I closed my eyes against the carnage, running out to the front yard, yelling for help. In a blind panic, I ran to our neighbours cottage, banging on the door. They answered, gun in hand, and I began crying about the king bear attacking my family. They picked up a phone and called the local authorities, handing me the phone before running out of the house with several firearms at the ready.
The officer on the other end asked me about the bear and I retold my story and findings about the king bear myth. He asked if I had seen a blue tag on the bear’s ear, as most bears in these parts were tagged. I quickly scanned through my photos and could indeed see a blue tag, but could not make out the numbers. And I didn’t care.
I screamed/sobbed to the officer pleading/begging for help. My family was being slaughtered. I was hyperventilating. I blacked out shortly thereafter.
I awoke with a start to a voice I recognized as the officer on the phone. He was explaining they had done what they could, but were too late. His voice wasn’t clear, like I was underwater, or my head full of cotton. I pushed by them towards my family cottage only to see that the entire landscape had changed. It was now a giant rock formation with a deep cave mouth front facing. I ran by the barricades and directly into the cave, not able to accept that my family was gone.
The cave was dark but I kept running. As I rounded a bend, light flooded my vision. It was almost like an entire environment was contained within the cave. There was a frozen forest for as far as the eye could see, and what looked like statues scattered across the horizon. As I got closer I could see they were my relatives, unmoving, preserved for all eternity in frozen epitaph.
I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was the officer. I asked in a weak voice, “Can I wake up now please?” and he answered, “Yes, son. You may.”
I woke up covered in sweat in my Captain’s Quarters. What. The. Fuck. What planet was that? Whose family was that? Bear Racing pre-season was starting soon and I guess I was a little stressed about it. I was still recovering from a scapular injury and was by no means a young man on this circuit anymore, but seriously? That was messed up.