Chapter 4 - Bears

Chapter 4 - Bears

A Chapter by Tertia

I slept lightly with the gun under the bed, Liv was in the other room night-reading. I imagined Denny breaking in and shooting the place up. He would try to kill me and do what he wanted with Liv. There were no police, no army, people could do what they wanted and get away with it. I wondered if he had just been an observer on the travels he had told us about or more like a participant instigator, but I would never know. I looked over the yard and there was Solomon sitting silently in the glow of the moon. She was as still as a statue, her black coat giving her perfect cover. A leaf moved and so did her eyes, there was a rustle and she launched herself at it, claws outstretched. A few seconds later she emerged with a mouse in her mouth, she then slunk off into the shadows.

Early in the morning I awoke to the sound of voices and laughter. It was Liv and Denny talking in the barn, I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but it sounded so happy and carefree like two lovers. Everything said was followed by excited laughter. Was she bored with me already? I knew it would happen sooner or later. I got dressed and went downstairs and Solomon was there in the kitchen, staring.

‘You old rascal. I saw you last night,’ I said as I tried to find something to eat. ‘Catching mice in the moonlight,’ I stroked her and she purred. Taking in the air and the slant of the sun that shone in. I stopped to listen and could still hear happy talking. Please don’t invite him to stay I thought. I felt anxious. Was I jealous? I told myself no, but knew it was a lie. I treated myself and used some precious solar power. I flicked the Solar Switch and made coffee and toast. It felt and tasted like heaven and closing my eyes it made my heart face, giving me a direct connection to the civilisation lost. The happy, mindless security of society and its meaningless routine. Ten minutes later I flicked the Solar Switch off and headed out across the yard.

‘Morning,’ I said to them both. Liv was all smiles and happiness, Denny’s mood was light.

‘Morning Al, he said. He was lying down in his sleeping bag. His eyes judging me for mood. Liv, sat on a bale of hay, she smiled holding a big mug in her hands. She looked embarrassed.

‘Did you sleep all right?’ I asked.

‘Very well. Your barn is a five star venue. It is very warm and has few rats. The straw is soft to sleep on and makes the perfect bed for a travelling man like myself,’

‘Fantastic,’ I started to move on.

‘There are owls in the eaves. Tawnies I think. And there are bats,’ I looked up at the inside of the roof and his eyes, with some confusion followed mine. ‘Yes, those are your more friendly neighbours. I also saw more than one fox by the chicken house and a family of bears passed through,’

‘Bears? Don’t be ridiculous,’

‘Brown bears they were,’

‘There are no bears here,’

‘Yes, there are, quite large they were,’ he said, doing a two-tone ‘are’.

‘All of a sudden I don’t feel safe,’ Liv put in,’

‘They’ve come across,’ Denny explained, moving his hand from left to right, wiggling his fingers.

‘Across?’

‘From the mainland, from Europe,’

I laughed, but they didn’t, Liv smiled. ‘What, they swam over?’

‘No,’ Denny said, laughing now too, laughing along with me more. ‘Doggerlands,’

‘Doggerlands?’ I exclaimed.

‘Yes, the land bridge,’

‘Oh,’ I said stopping my deriding thoughts. I had heard of them.

‘They exist, I’ve walked across them. The water levels have brought them about,’

‘Nothing we can do about it, the bears I mean,’

‘Secure everything up, doors locked at night. They will push a door open. Stay alert. European Brown Bears, sure of it,’ Denny said like he was giving orders.

‘God,’ I said kicking a stone along the yard. I headed a few paces up to the horses.

‘I’ll be going later in case your wondering,’ Denny said slowly letting his words echo across the yard.

I turned and faced him and glanced a look at Liv. ‘I’m glad your honouring your word,’ I said, she looked down at the ground, shaking her head. Denny got up and started packing away his things. I felt mean. ‘But you’re welcome to stay another night if you need to,’

‘Places to go, people to see,’ he mumbled to himself.

|~~~~|
|~~~~|

At our evening meal I steered the conversation around to find out what they had talked about.

‘You were up early,’

‘Couldn’t sleep,’

‘I slept lightly,’

‘Ever on your guard in case you get murdered in your bed,’

‘Could happen,’

‘You shouldn’t worry,’

‘I was watching Solomon all bathed in blue. She was catching rats,’

‘Bless her. Keeping the barn clear,’

‘She’s a survivor. She knows what’s going on in the outside world,’

‘Yes, I s’pose,’ she said. She laughed a bit and kept her smile.

‘She’s one of the best cats I’ve had,’

‘Oh, ha ha. Was she your uncle’s?’

‘No, she came along after he died,’ I said. I stared at the mantelpiece and all its clutter. My eyes drifted over objects, not finding anything re-assuring. ‘It seems like such a long time ago now,’

‘He’s best off out of it. Things are a mess,’

‘Leaving us here to pick up the pieces and run the whole place,’

‘You’re sounding low. Are you feeling all right?’

‘I’m happy enough,’

‘You don’t sound it,’

‘You were laughing a lot this morning,’ I said without thinking.

‘Was I?’

‘Yes, you were, I could hear you right across the yard. Chatting like a little bird,’

‘Yeah? So?’

‘Just saying,’

‘Are you jealous?’

‘More curious than jealous,’

‘Oh,’ she said and looked disappointed which I was pleased about. ‘What about? I was only chatting to Denny,’

‘Yes and?’

‘And what?’

‘What about? Did you find anything out? Is he a man to be trusted? That sort of thing,’

She sat silently for a while, composing her thoughts. ‘He talked about Doggerland,’

|~~~~|
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© 2020 Tertia


Author's Note

Tertia
Next chapter ‘Doggerland’

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Reviews

I liked this chapter. The dialogue was very good. I could feel Al's jealousy quite strongly, as I've experienced that feeling myself quite recently. I feel like Liv likes him, though, which makes me happy.

You convey a lot of feelings and character with few words. I like your style of writing. No pretense; just enough words to tell the story and keep the plot moving forward. It makes it easy to read and accessible for people.

Keep it up. :)

Posted 4 Months Ago


I don't remember the earlier chapters by this time, but that didn't stunt my reading becuz this chapter is fulsome & complete without knowing anything about what came before. This is some of your best writing. This chapter felt more connected than any other chapter I've read of yours from any other book. Everything flowed & made sense & worked together for a feeling of connectedness between your characters & about your storyline. You are the best at writing what's in people's heads & making it feel natural & honest & very enlightening to the storyline (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 5 Months Ago


A very good chapter. I liked the European bears attack. You are making the story very interesting. This is a hard world and the characters are strong and worthwhile. Thank you my friend for sharing the excellent chapter.
Coyote

Posted 5 Months Ago


Sorry I missed the previous chapters, but I can see the main point of tension that drives the story. Al feels insecure in his marriage, is wary of Liv's easy relationship with Denny. She seems rather amused at his jealousy, tries to play down her friendship with Denny. The bears are an interesting factor here; I think they are somehow symbolic of the tension between Al and Denny.

Posted 5 Months Ago


She's very perceptive. I like how this is developing.

Posted 5 Months Ago


this reading gets more and more interesting, Tertia... never stop writing on this, or some similar!!! . i will look for the other chapters too. if would not change a word from... i like your narrative lot. and.... if by any chance you were needing some grammar and spelling support, the following is a good web-site to get into: > https://www.scribens.com/

sincerely, Amber



Posted 5 Months Ago


Tertia

5 Months Ago

Thank you for reading and the recommendation

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Added on October 29, 2020
Last Updated on November 5, 2020
Tags: apocalypse, chaos, anarchy, survival, change, adaptation, life, love, desire, freedom, good, bad, outsider, peace, war, death, bears, jealousy, feelings, talk, story, book, chapter


Author

Tertia
Tertia

United Kingdom



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