Indiscretion:Volume Two

By: Elisabeth Grace



Max’s heart pounded against my chest, from where he lay on top of me. My own heart skipped into a staccato beat, while a sick feeling invaded my stomach as I took in how large this Godforsaken bear was.

This situation was not supposed to be new to me. I’d grown up in Maine, my entire life, and knew exactly what I was supposed to do if I came upon a bear. But knowing and doing were two different things. In all my time spent in Acadia, this was the first time a bear had actually come this close to me, and like any good townie, I brought my bear spray with me…but it was in my bag by my feet.

I could pretty much guess the bear had come to our neck of the woods—literally—because of what was in the backpack: dessert and berries. I was going nowhere near that bag. I inhaled a deep breath and swallowed hard, trying to calm myself. We needed to get out of here before the bear decided to come investigate. And I needed to keep Max in check. Being a New York City boy, I figured he didn’t have much knowledge on how to avoid serving himself up on a platter to a bear for lunch.

After a few more frozen seconds, survival instinct kicked in and I pushed the fear back. I’d deal with it later. If we made it out of here in one piece.

“Okay,” I said slowly in a calm, monotone voice. “We’re both going to stand up very slowly. I’m going to keep talking like this. Make sure you don’t turn your back on the bear and keep looking at him, but don’t look him directly in the eyes.”

Max didn’t speak, but did as I said and slowly started to maneuver himself off of me, continuing to look toward the bear. His eyes were so wide with fear it was possible they’d stay that way. I worked at getting myself up off the blanket. So far, the bear hadn’t moved any further ahead, which was a good thing. But its nose was sniffing and there was only so long it would be happy standing over there, when the food was over here.

“Once I’m up, we’re going to slowly back away, still facing it.” I was fully standing now. We stayed that way for a few seconds, when the bear suddenly lowered its head and began huffing and moaning. Oh my God, why is it moaning? Stop moaning! “Alright, lets back up. Go slow. I know we both want to run like hell, but we don’t want to startle it. There’s no chance we can outrun it.”

Taking a deep breath through my nose, I forced my leaden feet to move backward. I couldn’t turn my head to look at Max, but I could sense his panic beside me. The bear lifted one paw, as if to take a step forward and then put it down again. When I stopped on instinct, Max followed suit. Nausea gripped my stomach something fierce, beads of sweat forming at my temples. I had to mentally will myself to stay calm. After a minute, I motioned to Max to continue to slowly back away.

As I stepped back a twig snapped under my foot and I swear it sounded as loud as if a bomb blast had gone off. Max and I both froze. I didn’t breathe, didn’t blink, didn’t anything. The bear continued to stand there so after what was probably the longest minute of my life we continued on.

We finally reached the tree line, and blessedly moved farther into the forest. I used my hands to feel behind me, so I wouldn’t stumble. When we were a good distance into the forest, I peered through the trees to see that the bear had moved toward the blanket and was nosing through our food. I sighed. Looked like he was going to be the one to enjoy our dessert.

I motioned to Max that we could turn around and placed my index finger to my lips, indicating that we should remain quiet. We walked in silence, farther into the forest, until we were a safe distance away, and then I stopped.

The magnitude of what could’ve happened slammed into me like a sledgehammer now that we were out of immediate danger. We could’ve lost our lives. Myself, Max, or both. If that bear had attacked, there would’ve been no getting away from it, and we would’ve tried to fight it off, but to what avail? Even if one of us could’ve reached the bear spray in my bag, it would’ve been too late for the other. My mind was spinning as images of ripped flesh and blood pouring from open wounds assaulted me.

It brought me back to when my mother had died. Her funeral was a closed casket and for months afterward I pictured what she must have looked like in the wreckage of her car. Were her limbs contorted at unnatural angles? Did her beautiful face get mangled by broken glass and metal debris? Was she impaled by pieces of the destruction around her? It had been a long time before I could get those images out of my head, and it’d been years since I’d thought of them.

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