Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Microstory 1783: Big Bear

One thing to know about me is that I prefer the cold. I live in a midwest state with seasons, but I hate the summer. I could work in retail anywhere, but my parents had me when they were already pretty old, so I’m kind of obligated to stick around. Still, I blast the air conditioning when it’s hot, and keep the windows open. Is that illegal? I don’t know. Is it wrong? I guess we just have different definitions of morality. The A/C stays on during a lot of the winter, and I still at least have my bedroom window open while I’m trying to sleep. I say all this in preface, so you’ll understand that I don’t know how long I was outside on the ground before I even realized it. Had it been my sister, it would have been a different story. She keeps her house like a friggin’ sauna, I can’t stand it in there. She would have noticed right away if she had suddenly found herself in the spring air, let alone this freezing cold place. I finally wake up, and that probably has more to do with needing to relieve myself than anything. I might never have noticed until the sun came out, and maybe not even for a long time after that, because my alarm clock didn’t accompany me. I have no idea where I am, or how I got there. I see trees and dirt, and that is pretty much it. I see pine needles instead of leaves, which I find unusual. I like the cold, but not the outdoors. I would never go camping in a million years, so there’s no chance I got so drunk last night that I made this choice on my own. Someone would have had to bring me here against my will. They might have left me to die because they underestimated my ability to survive these temperatures, or maybe something went wrong, and they had to scrap their original plans with me. Either way, as okay as I am like this, I know I’m no superhero. I will die out here without shelter and clothing.

I start walking, hoping to catch the scent of a campfire, or the rumble of late night traffic. I could be moving even deeper away from civilization, but there is no way for me to know. I don’t have those lizard brain instincts that normal people have kept. Walking is warming me up, if only just a little. If I don’t come across someone’s tent, or a cave, staying in place would still be foolish. Besides, if someone did leave me, but planned on coming back, I’m better off as far from the drop site as I can get. I can see a lake in the moonlight, but I don’t know if I should go for it. Am I more likely to find salvation there then elsewhere? I’m proud of myself. I’m not too keen on walking either, but I haven’t stopped once to take a break. Maybe this ain’t so bad. I spoke too soon, or rather thought it. I finally do stop when I run into a gigantic creature. It’s dark as all hell, but my assumption is that it’s a bear. It was low to the ground, but now it’s raised itself up, meaning that it started on four legs, and now it’s on two. That’s something I know bears can do. It doesn’t growl, or even seem that menacing. Maybe it’s just trying to get a good look at me. I also know that you’re supposed to pretend to be bigger, and make a lot of noise. I don’t think I’m gonna do that, though. I just adjust my heading, and walk away. It doesn’t get mad or try to follow. I doubt it eats people, and it can tell that I’m not a real threat. Lights. I see lights through the trees. As I approach, I see that it’s a cabin, and it’s occupied. This could be who took me, but this is my only shot at survival. I knock on the door, and a scruffy old man opens. He’s not surprised to receive a visitor, even though we’re in the middle of nowhere, and I’m completely naked. He lets me in, and I ask him where we are. “This is Big Bear Lake, son. California.” Yeah, that tracks.

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