“Danger at the Cabin”

 

“We won’t let the wolves get you April, I promise,” said Kate. “That’s right,” said Tali. “It’ll be okay, Bandit will let us know if something is wrong. What do ya say we keep reading, the story’s just getting interesting.” April nodded yes and hugged Bandit tight. 

A few minutes later Bandit barked, then jumped to his feet, standing as if on alert. He must have heard it first, it sounded like something outside the cabin was scratching on the wall behind the headboard. The girls jumped and moved away; Kate and Tali were right with them. Bandit continued barking and wagging his tail as he sniffed the wall for a scent. 

“What was that?” asked Tali. “Not sure,” answered Kate.

All four of them stood still in the center of the cabin and listened. April and Autumn were bear hugging Tali. She could feel their little bodies shaking. “I want my daddy,” said April. Bandit jumped from the bed and moved along the wall as if he was shadowing whatever was outside. He stopped barking, tilted his head side to side; he seemed to be listening too.

Kate walked to the front door and lifted the shot gun from the rack. It was a double barrel twelve gauge. She knew exactly how to move the locking lever and open it at the hinge between the stock and the barrels. She could see that it was loaded. She pulled out both rounds for a look, then slipped them back in the barrels. She had to confirm that they were indeed slugs, not shells with buck shot. Buckshot was for geese, didn’t have enough stopping power for a wolf or a bear. Then she made her way over to the shelf above the sink and grabbed the box of shells. Thank goodness, they were all slugs too.

The scratching on the wall moved around to the north side of the cabin where one of two small windows was located. With every scratch came a hard snort-like growl. This was no wolf. Bandit started barking frantically. Without warning a brown grizzly bear stood to his back feet with his frying pan size paws and nose pushed against the glass. Somehow, it didn’t break.

The girls screamed, Tali and Kate both gasped. Tali put her arms around Autumn and April. Kate knelt on one knee with the shotgun to her shoulder, right hand index finger on the trigger, left hand holding the heavy barrel as she pointed the gun toward the window. The bear dropped to the ground out of sight.

The scratching and snorting moved to the cabin door. The angry bear growled even louder as he pushed. Bandit was up on his hind legs, front paws pushing on the door from inside, ready to fight if the bear broke in. From the way the top of the door was being forced inward, the bear must have been standing on his back legs trying to find a weak point. Again and again he pushed, but the log brace on the door held. All went quiet. Bandit stopped barking. “Maybe he’s gone,” whispered Kate.  

“Kate, look,” said Tali as she pointed back to the window. The bear had his nose planted against the glass looking in. He opened his mouth exposing three-inch yellow fangs and tried to bite. Drool and slime ran down the glass. Bandit charged the window, jumping as high as he could while barking at the same time. It didn’t discourage the bear even a little. The girls were terrified, clinging to Tali with all their might.

Kate swung around, pointing the shotgun at the window. The bear took one big swipe at the glass. It shattered sending shards of glass across the room narrowly missing Kate. Tali pulled the girls to the opposite corner of the cabin near the potbelly stove. She opened the small door where you feed the fire with split logs. The  last piece of a log they had stuffed in the stove was only burning on one end. She took hold and pulled it out. Swinging the fiery log at the grizzly might be her last line of defense.

By now the bear had one paw inside pulling against the window frame with powerful paws and four-inch claws. He ripped it apart easily. He squeezed his other front leg and head through the opening. Another swipe of his paw sent Bandit flying as he yelped in pain. Kate was now staring into the eyes of an angry bear just feet away. She pulled the trigger on the first barrel, it knocked her back, but she steadied herself and pulled the second trigger, knocking her down this time.

Kate got back up, kneeling, she reloaded. The bear was stuck in the small window opening. He had stopped moving but it made no difference, Kate carefully took aim. Tali and the girls covered their ears this time as Kate fired again at its head. She moved her finger to trigger number two, aimed at the bears head, then waited. All was dead quiet; everyone too afraid to even breathe.

Bandit was the first to move. He hobbled over, stood up on his hind legs and cautiously sniffed the bear. Blood dripped from its nose and mouth puddling  on the floor beneath his head. 

Kate, badly shaken, sat down and laid the shotgun on the floor next to her. Then she pulled her legs in close to her chest, wrapping her arms around her knees curling up into a ball. Head down, her body shook as she sobbed uncontrollably. Tali walked over with the burning piece of log still tightly squeezed in her hand, dropped to the floor next to Kate and cried with her. Autumn and April stood frozen where they were.

After what seemed like an hour later, but was only a  few minutes, “You killed him, Kate. He’s dead,” said Tali. Kate raised her head and looked around. “Tali,” said Kate. “How long are you going to hold onto that torch?”

She looked at Kate, unaware she was still gripping it. “Oh yeah,” she got up and put it back in the stove. 

“Are you and April okay?” Kate asked Autumn. Autumn didn’t answer. She took April’s hand and they ran into the open arms of Kate and Tali. “Are you sure he’s dead?” asked Autumn.

“Yeah, I’m sure sweetie, we’re all going to be okay,” said Tali. The four of them huddled together as the adrenaline subsided and clear thinking returned.

 “We have to get the bear out of here,” were the next words out of Tali’s mouth. Thankfully, he wasn’t in the cabin, just kind of hanging from the window opening. They could never drag a  500-pound bear anywhere. Kate and Tali both got a piece of split log and pushed against his head. Amazingly, it took little effort. His dead weight did most of the work, pulling him back out of the window where he collapsed into a big heap.

Next, they needed to do something with the broken window. “What can we cover the window with?” asked Kate. Autumn surprised her with the answer. “The window has shutters, if you go outside you can close the shutters. My dad has a hammer and some nails in a box out front. You could nail it shut.”

Tali and Kate looked at each other. “You shot him, I’ll go,” said Tali. “We’ll both go,” said Kate. She picked up the shotgun, made sure it was loaded, then headed for the door. Tali lifted the beam from the brackets that had held it securely in place and opened the door. They both peeked out. Bandit darted between their legs and headed for the bear. Just as Autumn had said, a hammer and box of nails were sitting on the tiny porch. Tali picked up the hammer and grabbed a handful of nails. They slowly made their way around to the north side of the cabin where the bear lay dead. Kate kept the shotgun pointed at the bear. Tali bravely stepped on the bear’s dead body so she could reach the window. She then closed the shutters and nailed them down, probably using twice as many nails as necessary. Job done, they darted back into the cabin and slammed the door as fast as they could.

“Wait,” said Tali. “Where’s Bandit?”

Kate opened the door, Bandit was waiting. “Come on boy,” she said. Then closed the door again. With the beam back in its brackets, they could breathe again.

Kate leaned over to Tali and whispered. “What if that dead bear attracts other hungry animals? Do ya think the boys are on their way back yet?”

“I hope so, but let’s stay inside until they get here…the truth is, I’m pretty scared.”

“Me too, but we have to be brave for Autumn and April.”

“I know, we will.”

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