Break In The Wind

 

Winda clutched the heavy sacks slung over her shoulders as she headed toward a thicket.  Purple vetch, windflower, and columbine waved their colourful heads in the light breeze.  She hummed a cheerful tone as she walked across a flat meadow in a light rain.

She wanted to head north and try to find her own people, but she feared the Cree were too far away.  Just two days ago, she had turned eastward to avoid a group of voyagers.  Before that she took a wide berth around settlers heading west into Ojibwa land.  She wondered where all those white people were coming from.  It seemed that more and more crept into their lands.

A pair of bear cubs wandered out of the trees in front of her.  She looked at them nervously because she knew the mother would not be far away.  The growl behind her told Winda where it was.  Slowly, she set her sack on the ground and turned around/.  She did not look directly into its beady, brown eyes, but just off to the side.  It stood up on its hind legs and growled at her with big, pointy, yellow-stained teeth.  It’s huge paws with long, knife-like claws waved in front of it.  She turned slightly to see that the cubs were coming up behind her.  There was only one avenue of escape, however slim.  She backed up slowly toward a big maple tree and hoped that the bear would stop at her sacks.

Winda grabbed a limb, pulled herself up, and skirted out onto a narrow branch.  The bear charged, and then stopped at the base of the tree.  A squeal caught in her throat as it stood up.  Winda hoped that she was high enough that it wouldn’t be able to reach her.  She was wrong.  It took an angry swipe at her and tore a gash in her leg before she had a chance to lift it higher.  She pulled her leg up with her hands just before it took another swing at her with its huge claws.

Unbelievable pain ripped through her leg as it dripped blood onto the ground beneath her.  The bear dropped back down on all four paws and sniffed around the tree.  The cubs ran up to their mother and it seemed that they played for a bit.  Then the bear found her sacks and clawed at them, sat down on its rump and devoured most of the contents.  Winda clung to the branches and fought to stay conscious.

As the cubs finished the meat in her sacks the mother returned and took another swipe at her, thankfully it missed this time.  Winda’s world spun as she tried to climb even higher, out of the bear’s reach.  It followed.  Winda’s world went blank.

 

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