The Hike

An original short story. Hope you guys enjoy it.

August 17, 2012, is a day I will never forget; for, God’s hand was surely over my friend, June, and I.

This was our third and last day in the forest already. My best friend and I had this yearly habit of taking time off from work and family to spend some time in nature and catch up with each other.

Right now, the weather was perfect. The streams of sunlight pierced through the even spread of foliage, giving the surroundings a natural lighting. Dew still rested lightly on the carpeted forest floor.

June was telling me about her seven-year old Kate being excited to enter first grade. I listened with a mixture of happiness and sadness. I was happy that June was the joyful mother of two kids; but I, married to Gary for seven years now, still had no children.

June was going on about how Kate had picked her own stationary and school bag, when, abruptly, her speech morphed into a scream. I turned my head to face her and shock punched me in the guts. Behold, a bear had reared up on its hind legs right in front of June and slashed its paw downwards, hitting her square in the side. It sent her flying, knocking her out as she hit a tree. That just left me staring wide-eyed and gaping at the bear. The bear stood eight feet tall and looked to weigh about two hundred kilograms. There was a wild look in it beady brown eyes. When it roared at me, I finally snapped out of it.

Adrenaline started pumping into every crevice of my body. I took out the Glock strapped onto the back of my bag. However, instead of lunging at me, it turned towards June and lumbered over.

I was bewildered, wondering what it was going to do. But, I didn’t to find out, for I shot it. *BANG* went the gun. I had aimed for its head, but my shot went to low and hit it in the side. Oops I thought. Angered, the bear turned around and thundered towards me.

I turned and fled. I must say, that was the fastest I have ever ran in my life. The forest floor, thank God, was relatively even, and there was no over hanging branches that could reach out their gnarly finger to scratch you.

I tried my best to get far ahead of it so that I could turn around and get another shot at it. To my horror, I felt the bear’s hot and fetid breath on my neck, making every hair on my neck stand straight up, before it swiped its paw and swept me off my feet.

Now, I was facing it, while lying on my back. Staring into the eyes of the beast, my life flashed before me. Everything moved in slow-motion. I remembered every tiny thing that I did just before I went hiking. Like how I had kissed my husband goodbye before the hike. How I had felt as I had slept under the stars last night. Ha! I didn’t want to die yet, though.

I thanked God once again when I found the gun still in my hand. It was now or never. I hysterically fired into the bear’s face, emptying the entire magazine in the Glock.

It swayed slightly before falling straight towards me. I quickly rolled away; alas, I was not fast enough. One of its claws found its way to my face, leaving a scratch about half a centimeter deep from my cheek to my chin. I stumbled onto my feet and nearly fell back down.

The adrenaline now gone, and the shock from almost being killed now taking over, I felt like retching everything in my stomach.

I hurried back to June. It was easy to track my way back, even with blood and sweat starting to spread across my face. The wreckage left by the chase – trampled plants, overturned earth – stood out like a neon sign.

June was still unconscious when I reached her. Her side had stopped bleeding, and on closer inspection, the three cuts on her side were not very deep. Hesitantly, I tapped her and called her name.

To my surprise, she opened her eyes and winced. Being overjoyed that we had survived without any major injuries; we hugged each other and thanked God for keeping us safe.

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