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Literature Text

There was a gentle breeze, one that was strong enough to tame a sweltering summer day, but soft enough to keep the neighbor’s stupid wind chimes from rattling, and the sky was that specific shade of blue that could only be described as “perfect”. Birds were chirping, children were playing, stay-at-home moms were grilling. What a perfect day to be alive.
What a perfect day to be inside. That’s what Duncan liked to believe, holed up in his own little piece of the world. Isolation. Darkness. No natural light, just the eye-melting glare of his computer monitor at 100%. The door opens just a crack, the light from the hallway making a fraction of the room briefly visible. A desk, a chair, and the corner of a bookshelf. It wasn’t much, but there isn’t much point in interior decorating when the room can’t be seen 95% of the time.
Closing the door behind him, Duncan sat down with a sandwich in hand. A footlong Italian special, to be precise. With a click of his mouse, he resumed playback of a video he had been watching before the delivery man arrived. Duncan leaned back, sub held up, the glow of the screen dictating the flashing colors of his skin, and took the first bite. The moment after his teeth had sunk in, his phone begins to vibrate on the table. This time in reverse, Duncan leaned forward, put down the sandwich and paused the video, leaving his skin a faded blue. He checks his phone to see “Zach” is calling. He answers.
Ducked behind the counter at an otherwise empty coffee shop was Zach and a red-haired barista. The doors were locked as they were hiding from the havoc outside. The sounds of small-scale destruction ensued in the background. People screaming and getting torn apart. Cars being crushed by bears falling on top of them. All this could be seen through the wall-long window at the front of the shop, but Zach didn’t dare peek over the counter.
Duncan-“Wait, what?”
Duncan-“Okay, you need to calm down. Where are you?”
Zach-“I’m in The Coffee Place, trapped and hiding behind the counter with the barista. What’s your name?”
Zach-“Her name’s Karen.”
Karen-“Put him on speaker phone.”
Zach-“Duncan, you’re on speaker phone.”
Duncan-“Okay, uh, so what’s happening outside?”
Zach-“There are bears...falling from the sky a-and they have these little parachutes, I know it sounds cool, but they’re really angry and attacking everyone in sight.”
Duncan-“Relax, it’s probably just Bear Force One.”
Karen giggles.
Duncan-“Did she laugh?”
Zach-“No. Now I need you to look up what to do in case of a bear attack.”
Duncan-“Why don’t you just do it?”
Zach-“Because this shitty coffee shop doesn’t have free wifi.”
Karen-“Why are you looking at me? I don’t own the place.”
Duncan-“Jeez, a place without wifi? Sounds unbearable.”
Karen-“Fur sure.”
Duncan-“Okay Zach, bear with me.”
It’s at this point that Duncan and Karen have the same stupid grin on their face.
Duncan-“Hmmm, and what kind of bears are these?”
Zach-“Uh, they’re brown?”
Duncan-“Ah, grizzlies, I presume? Well it says here that they’re attracted to a number of things including honey, salmon, coffee-”
The front glass of the coffee shop shatters as a very aggravated grizzly comes tumbling in. After shaking off the shards caught in its fur, the bear walks over to the counter, reaching its front paws on top of the surface and begins to climb over.
Karen-“They broke through the bearier!”
Zach stands up and grabs a tin coffee grind container, rips off the lid and throws it in the face of the raging beast. And it works. The bear falls back with a mighty roar, the dust an assault on its eyes and nostrils.
Duncan-“What happened?”
More bears began to wander in through the broken window.
Zach-“We gotta go.”
Zach rushes to the back of the shop and Karen follows not too far behind. The door busts open and they step out into a dingy alley way. In front of them is a brown brick wall, and to the sides are straight, narrow paths leading to the streets. Zach decides they go left, and Duncan continues to chime in with survival tips.
Duncan-“Stay composed.”
Nearing the end of the alley, Zach and Karen had almost made it. They rushed frantically only to stop in their tracks as a grizzly came around and blocked the exit. Looking back, they noticed more bears had blocked the other side.
Duncan-“Speak in an appeasing voice.”
Zach-“Fuck you, Mr. Bear!”
Zach throws a can of coffee grinds that he had grabbed on his way out, only to have it batted away by the swing of the grizzly’s arm. That only made Mr. Bear angrier. As the beasts close in on them, Karen spots a ladder to the rooftops.
Karen-“Up here!”
Duncan-“Bears are notoriously good climbers.”
As they reach the top, Zach looks back to see the grizzlies about to follow up.
Zach and Karen say in unison, but for different reasons. Zach is worried about the bears pursuing them. Karen is concerned about the one right in front of them. A freshly deployed grizzly shakes off its parachute and approaches them.
Duncan-“Try be intimidating, act larger than you actually are.”
Zach-“Ooh! Ooh! Aah! Aah!”
With his arms outstretched and his jacket held open, Zach began a weird dance ritual in his desperate attempt to frighten the beast. He hops from one foot to the other while making monkey-like noises. The grizzly steps forward, stands up on its hind legs and raises its claws.
Through the phone, Duncan hears it all. Tear. Thud. Karen screams. Tear. Thud. And then nothing. And then growling. And then eating. Duncan hangs up. He doesn’t want to listen anymore. After taking a moment to let it all sink in, the loss of a friend, and a person who actually liked his puns, Duncan searches the internet for any bear related news. And there on his monitor is a list of headlines, and he lets out a solemn chuckle after reading the first of many.

"Bearrorist Attacks in San Francisco"
A short story.
© 2016 - 2023 crispyn64
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Lio-Mei's avatar
that definitely lighted up the last 5 minutes of my day.