Footprints

I found her tracks. They led back to where the jet took off. I guess I know what happened now. She couldn’t have gone far. Didn’t know how to fly. I don’t care about that anymore. Bitch stole my jet.

Tim’s on the mountain then. Must have gone looking. I didn’t spot his tracks leaving. Can’t explain that yet. Anyway, he’s out there, but I’m sure he can take care of himself.

The calamari’s gone, but I’ve been tasting berries. Since I still had bear meat. Spat them out if they weren’t sweet. It wouldn’t make sense if they had sugar and poison. They’re still pretty small, and a lot are too sour to tell. But I know a few I can eat.

Little cash in the suitcase, but it’s not a big deal anymore. The snow’s melting. Fire’s climbing the mountain, and more wood is dry enough for kindling. Soon I won’t even need fire except for cooking. Spring’s early.

I saw an avalanche. It was far away, but it was scary. If the snow’s melting, it can happen here. I’m staying near the cave. I’ve stocked up on berries. If the avalanche closes me in, I won’t have to survive long. The snow’s melting fast, so the cave won’t stay shut.

I found a cave. I forgot to say. There was a bear, but it was asleep. I sat outside a few days, sharpening a rock with another rock, tying it to a stick with bark, hoping the early spring didn’t wake her up. I don’t think too much about what happened next. I kept saying, “You can do this. Remember the upstairs neighbor.”

Now I know how bear meat tastes. It stayed good for days. It was best well-done. I’ve got most of the rotting carcass out of the cave now. At first, I wore its skin as a cape, with its head on my head, but the cape started rotting too, so I threw it in the pile. I kept having to wash off blood anyway. There’s a river. Unfroze. The one she crossed twice for no reason. You can bathe in it, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you have a hot shower. So far.

That has to be why I didn’t see Tim’s tracks. They vanished as the snow melted. I know that he left, or he could have explained how complicated flying was. Then she wouldn’t have left on her own.

The neighbor stomped sometimes. It was awful. Mostly for mom. She had the first floor. I had the basement. As a teenager. It was pretty awesome except for how rough it was.

A couple days into chopping the bear, I found her cub. It wouldn’t have lived long. It was on its own. For a day, I thought I could raise it when it woke up. Then I realized I don’t know what bears eat. I did what I had to because I am kind. It was a sad thing to do. There wasn’t enough meat for the cub to rot all the way. It was better rare.

I mean really sad, though. I came up with a new mantra. I don’t need it as often, but I say it every day. It’s helpful to speak human language. So, you know, I don’t forget. In case.

I am Drake. The Drake. I murdered a hibernating bear and I wear its skin as a cape. I’m sorry about your mother, cub. But this is my mountain. I am Drake.

Of course, why were her tracks and mine still there?

I throw my weapon at a rabbit and miss. The rabbit’s not even spooked. I’ll get better. It’s pretty far from the cave now, so I’ll grab it when the snow’s gone.

Tim wouldn’t have thought about raising a bear cub. He couldn’t even have killed its mom.

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