I sat on the ground to wallow in my defeat, my hands latched on my cheeks. I was stunned, unable to think. Staring at the dirt was the best way to check out of reality again.
Except the ground brought me right back. The ground was how we could track the woman. “Wyatt, look,” I pointed at the ground.
They were small and circular, but they were there. Indentations in the dirt: footprints from the doe that we saw earlier. At least, I thought it was from the same doe. The footprints led away from somewhere, and if they came from the same doe, we would find the woman.
Wyatt was a lot more skeptical though. He examined the footprints and said, “You can’t be serious.”
“If that doe ran from whatever that animal is, these prints can lead us right to it. Now let’s see,” I took a closer look at the prints, “The hooves look like they point that way, so we should go the opposite direction. That way,” I pointed.
“You better be right about this,” said Wyatt.
And I was. After several yards, a large, furry beast was within my sight. Wyatt was right, it was a bear, wrapped in pitch black fur and menacing teeth. Its large paw stamped the ground, and another feminine grunt filled the air.
“Since when does the ground groan?” I asked.
The bear’s paw was so large, I didn’t even notice the real source of the sound: the woman. She was being crushed by the bear’s gigantic foot.
Wyatt and I scrambled behind two separate trees when we got close. The bear turned its head towards us, and we stayed silent. Our backs were planted stiffly against the tree to avoid detection, but because our backs were turned, we couldn’t tell when it turned its head back around.
The woman chuckled when the bear turned around, “What? Did something scare you?”
The bear focused its attention on the woman again, allowing me to sneak around to another tree. I was on its left side, but far enough from its periphery to not be noticed. From this angle, I could see the woman smiling, and that she was closer to my age than a woman. She was a light brunette with a single blue highlight, and sapphire eyes. She also had a radiant smile.
But why was she smiling? She was being trampled by a bear, but she was laughing.
Whatever the case, I told Wyatt I would help, and I will see that through. I scavenged the ground for a projectile, a rock, stick, anything. The only object close to me was a twig the size of my index finger. It was brittle; I could crush it if I squeezed it hard enough. I guess it’ll have to do.