Into the Woods
Adrian had hoped that he would forget the insanity of The Critic, but he could still vividly remember every detail from his conversation. How he had left the house was already hazy. And how the fuck he had ended up here in the depths of the primeval Canadian forest was a total mystery to him. But he was well equipped it seemed. He was carrying a gigantic backpack which was trying to make him fall over backwards with every step. While Adrian did not know the details of what he was lugging around, he knew in his heart of hearts that he was perfectly prepared.
He felt that he was near his goal. There were two names on his list that he had circled with a pen, these two names were close. Why on earth they had chosen the deep Canadian wilderness as a hangout was as inexplicable to Adrian as was why he had chosen to go after them instead of someone who lived in a big comfortable city full of big comfortable hotels. He had to admit that neither cities nor hotels had done him any good. It was also nice to have a change of scenery. The evening was closing sending its chill ahead to make its approach known to all. The sun was still holding onto the sky sending shafts of its crimson light into the forest illuminating the sparse underbrush of the deep forest. The ground was mostly in a thick layer of dead leaves forming a thick soft cushion filling he air with their typical smell of almost earth.
Turner climbed over the massive trunk of a tree that had fallen many years ago. He grabbed a fern that had made his home out of one of the sunnier spots on it pulling him self over the trunk taking care that his treacherous backpack did not unbalance him sending him flying to his certain doom. Behind the trunk the ground began to slope softly downward leading to a spot where for some reason a large portion of the ancient trees had fallen giving rise to a wild tangle of plants all racing in slow motion towards the open sky, trying to reach it before anyone else so that they may establish themselves in a place that was eternally under the sun. It was there that Turner suspected that he would find the people he was looking for.
There was a sound of cracking branches. Some one was trying to break through the underbrush preferring a brute force approach to finesse. Stood still, waiting with crossed arms for whom ever was going to break out from the copse in front of him.
What broke with sudden fury into to the open was a grizzly bear.
Adrian’s brain turn off all processes that were not utterly relevant to a being attacked by sudden bears. Time slowed down as all the focus went into the situation at hand and how to get out of it. The bear had broken through the underbrush standing up, looking extremely impressive and sooo much bigger than on TV. Once out of the thick vegetation it had made a jump forwards and was now charging on all fours. Even in mortal danger time the bear, as huge and impressive like a steam powered angry barn, was fucking fast. It looked all fat and round and well slow, but in two, three strides it had covered more than a third of the space between him and Adrian.
Options! Adrian’s brain demanded.
a) Fall down. Lie still. Play dead. That works on bears. Right?
Problem! Backpack weighs more than the sins committed by high ranking politicians in a month. Thus it will lead to slow death by suffocation. Maybe made worse by bear sitting on top eating rations.
b) Fall back. Maybe screaming and waving arms. Some dude on a survival TV show did that. Bears were impressed and backed away looking for a less crazy snack.
Problem! Falling over backwards. Lying on back. Like a turtle. Soft belly exposed. Pinned down by evil physics defying backpack. Instant bear snack.
Special news bulletin, bear now three quarters of the way towards soft easily ruptured body.
C) For fucks sake. Take axe from belt. Throw bear inn the face! Show him who’s boss.
PROBLEM! Fumbling it out of belt great risk! Not a Norse axe thrower. Possible results: missing bear, hitting bear with some blunt side of axe which axe is mostly made of thus making bear angrier or axe actually hitting bear with business end but making bear even more furious. Also bear would then also have an axe.
d) Bear doesn’t give a shit and runs past by us. Leaving only a faint trail of bear in a great hurry smell.
Adrian felt relived and very secretly, very, very slightly offended.
Behind him the bear vanished in the depths of the Canadian wilderness.
Adrian failed to relax. He tried to find some amusement in realising that while the bear was quite a threatening presence only a moment ago, that he was heading towards what had scared the bear so much in the first place. Maybe, he thought, what ever that was is on my side? While he made his way carefully down the slope, his little axe now in his hand he wondered if hope really died last or if it was not more plausible that it was life that got extinguished after hope had sensibly decided to go and look for more promising pastures.