Source — (Pixabay}

The Hunter and the Bear

His rifle in hand, Gregor walked as quietly as he could through the forest. With six inches of snow on the ground it was not easy to walk quietly.

Finally, he came to a giant boulder that he could hide behind in total silence. Beyond the boulder was a small clearing that led down to the creek. Gregor had made kills here before. Apparently, deer liked to pass through this clearing to get to the water of the creek. All he had to do was hide behind the boulder and quietly wait.

The game was scarce this winter. Gregor’s family was out of meat so it was imperative that he make a kill today. He could not return home empty-handed.

The air was bitterly cold but Gregor had on several layers of clothing including a knee-length fur coat. After being crouched in silence for almost half an hour he heard the snap of a twig.

And then another. He positioned his gloved finger on the trigger and slowly raised his rifle to eye level.

A buck walked into the clearing on its way to the creek. Gregor fired and felled the deer.

He walked over to the carcass in the snow but when he looked down at it he was shocked to see that it was not a deer but a man!

How could he possibly mistake a man for a deer? It was very clearly a deer that he shot at. Gregor began to panic. He had just killed a man. That is not something he would ever do. How could it have happened?

Realizing that he could be charged with murder and spend the rest of his life in jail, he panicked even more. Who would provide food for his family?

Gregor walked back to behind the boulder where his tool pouch was. He had to leave the scene as quickly as he could. But then he heard another twig snap.

Turning, he saw another deer enter the clearing. He looked at it really hard. Yes, it was certainly a deer, not a human. There was no mistaking it. He had to get out of there quickly but he may as well make a kill to take home with him. He raised his rifle and shot the deer.

When he walked over to the deer carcass and saw that it was actually the corpse of a woman he went berserk. How can a deer carcass morph into a dead human? It is just not possible! He screamed as loudly as he could up into the sky. Tears gushed forth from his eyes. Did he just kill two people?

Gregor went back to the boulder, leaned the rifle against it then dropped to his knees in the snow and cried like he had never cried before. What had he done?

And then he heard a grumbling sound. Turning, he saw a full-grown bear barreling towards him at full speed. There was no time to think. He picked up the rifle and shot the bear dead. It came to a stop almost at his feet.

Looking down at the dead bear he watched it slowly morph into a dead human being right before his eyes. But it was not just any human. Looking at the face of the human he realized that it was him! Gregor was standing in the snow looking down at his own corpse!

He began screaming. Then he turned his rifle around, holding it by the barrel and, with all his might, he smashed the rifle against the boulder. As this happened the gun discharged and, since he was holding the barrel out in front of him, the bullet went right into him.

Dropping the rifle into the snow, Gregor then fell to the ground. The pain was excruciating. He closed his eyes as he felt the life drain out of him. He surrendered to death.

But just as he did so the pain stopped and life began returning. Opening his eyes, he looked at his hands but they were not his hands. They were the paws of a bear. Looking down at his body he realized that somehow he had morphed into a bear — and he was not shot. He stood up and looked at the broken gun in the snow then at his own corpse.

Just then he heard some human voices approaching. He had to get out of there so he ran away as fast as he could, leaving behind him a trail of bear prints in the snow.

Copyright by White Feather. All Rights Reserved. This is a work of fiction.
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Earthling — Lifelong novelist & essayist — https://whitefeather.substack.com/

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