#145 Bear’s Blood

by Saoirse Haran

I don’t suppose you have ever seen a blue bear. Blue like the water, I mean. The hunter and the dead animal looked at each other in silence. Too many hard winters up on Shepard’s Hill had scarred him and turned his face blue with veins and red with liquor.

Is it cruel, when you’ve forgotten what cruel is like? Is it cruel, when he takes your sheep, and all you want to do is rip his guts out, and leave him to rot in the forest. When all the investment you have lies in his belly.

Would you skin him in the forest? With every scrape the skin comes a little further off. At home, his wife is hoeing the garden. She would like a new hat. With every scrape the red earth becomes a little looser.

When his work is done, the man stares down at the bear with his cold dead eyes. When he gets home, she makes the pelt into a blue hat with red flowers. It is far too big so she has to tuck it into itself and stick pins around the brim. She will growl that it is very heavy, and that it still smells of bear, of his blood.

2 comments:

Dino Parenti said...

This is a mean, hard-hitting tale, and I love it. Great use of metaphor.

Shona Snowden said...

Admirably compact.