I waited for God but he didn’t come for me.
I went out into the wilderness, like my pastor said, but instead of being met with the still, small voice of God there were only mosquitoes.
I was out there in the wilderness because I had to make a decision: whether to marry Alyssa Ebert or not.
I hoped nature would bring clarity to my mind.
We had been courting for six months, and I had to make that final step.
The ring was in my drawer, but something was holding me back.
Her father was dropping all sorts of hints.
Since I had to ask her father’s final permission to marry her, he had been telling me that he had a lot of free time in the next few weeks, why don't we play golf together or get coffee or go fishing or meet early for breakfast before Bible study.
What was stopping me? She was a fine woman, a Godly woman, and we both were fond of each other.
Why did I hesitate?
I went for a hike with my Bible.
I passed a man and his two kids.
We saw a bear off in the distance, he said. Be mindful.
God will protect me, I said.
God made the bear, he said. And he made it to eat you.
His angels will look out for me, I said.
I walked on. I found a spot in the woods to sit. I was going to read the gospels, right through.
If I did this, I felt certain I would know what to do.
But about halfway through the Gospel of Matthew I saw a cub scramble in front of me.
Hey, little guy.
I wasn't stupid. I knew the mother was close behind, and I didn't see any angels.
I got up and walked quickly away, looking back over my shoulder, but I didn't see her.
When I turned back to see where I was going I saw her claws slice my face.
I fell over, struggling to get away, grasping at the leaves and roots on the ground.
She chomped down on my throat.
I didn't have time to scream.
When I woke up it was dark, I couldn’t see anything. I tried to feel around me but there was nothing but a soft dewy mess.
I was sore but not in deep pain. I felt surrounded, comforted.
I could hear the bear breathing. I swear I could feel the bear's heartbeat.
Finally I saw some light. I saw the bear's snout, so close to me. I tried to run away, but she followed.
I ran until I couldn't breathe, but she was right there with me. She didn't attack me though.
How was she so close?
I passed out.
When I woke again, I knew. She had consumed me. I was a part of her now.
Once I realized that and accepted it, I felt peace.
She had eaten my body. I saw the remains, a hand, a foot, blood spattered and torn jeans, a shoe, but my mind was joined to hers.
Over the next few days I went with my cub through the woods and scavenged for foods: grasses, roots, berries, insects. insects. We slept. We played.
As we were trying to catch fish in the river, I saw a hunter.
He looked at me from across the river and raised his rifle.
They were after us, they wanted to kill me for what I'd done.
I had to tell them somehow, tell them I was okay.
I went down to their place one night. My cub came with me. I let him play. It was only a few miles away.
I saw Alyssa upstairs in her bedroom, and climbed up over the garage roof to get to her window.
I tapped as gently as I could on her window.
I tried to motion to her, to make her understand. I tried to form words but they only came out as grunts and low growls.
She was screaming, backing away from me.
Her father came into her room and ran out.
I scrambled down as he was coming out of the house with his shotgun.
I didn't have time to run.
I attacked him. There was no other way.
Then Alyssa came out with a shotgun.
I attacked her too.
My cub wandered down, oblivious to the drama. I motioned for him to eat. This was dinner.
I don't feel bad about what happened. It is who I am now. It was us or them. I'm a bear, a wild thing, and I'm not going to fight it.