By James Leroux (Contributor)
“The whole forest has gone insane.” Jarred grimaced. He maneuvered himself decisively between his friend and the animal. The forest had gone quiet around them, save for the low growling of the gigantic bear that stood ten feet away, head low and snarling.
From the ground, raw and bleeding, Wisna watched in horror. The smell of rotting flesh permeating his nostrils. The bear’s muscles were visible through patches of hair matted thickly with blood. The exposed flesh hung loosely on the bone. “It would be perfectly fine, he said.” Jarred mimicked Wisna’s previously excited tone with an edge of madness. “They won’t even know we’ve left, he said.” Jarred stared up at the the enraged beast as the thumping in his chest matched the pounding of his head.
Slowly he reached for the sheath at his belt and slid his hunting knife a millimeter free. The bear reacted, unleashing a mighty bellow and charging forward. Jarred reacted in turn, pulling the rest of the knife free one quick motion and changing it into to reverse grip. The teenaged boy sprung forward and met the bear, carving a bloody gash in the animal’s left flank rather easily to his surprise, allowing his momentum to carry him forward and past the beast.
Rolling into a crouched position as he landed, Jarred placed the bloodied knife between his teeth and sprung towards to grab the closest tree branch from the thick canopy. With the bear’s hot breath at his neck Jarred flipped himself over the tree branch with a strong display of youth and landed directly on top of the maddened animal that came up behind him. With his right arm he wrapped it around the bear’s neck as tightly as he could he managed to prevent himself from being thrown off as the bear spun in a frenzy attempting to achieve just that.
As calmly as he could he took his hunting knife from his mouth and drove it sharply downwards. The bear tumbled forward and onto the forest floor with a great thud. Time stopped and the only discernible sound was Jarred’s heavy breathing.
A minute passed, and then another before Jarred slowly rose to his feet. He quickly leaned against the nearby tree and vomited. Shaking, he wiped his mouth and made his way to the bear, and removed the knife lodged inside the eye socket. A horrible odor assaulted his nostrils and he gagged, nearly throwing up again.
A groan behind him brought him back, reminding him who and where he was. “Don’t try to move.” Jarred said. Wisna simply groaned again in response, coughing up blood.