This is the fifth chapter of `Bear Hunter'. A new chapter will come out every week. Any comments or questions can be directed to the author at nothlit(at)hotmail(dot)com
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real people or events is entirely coincidental.
I heard the phone ring as Matt held it up to his ear, waiting for an answer. I heard a voice speak on the other end of the line on the third ring.
911, what is your emergen--
Matt hung up.
He looked at me as he put down the phone back on the nightstand, slowly.
I stared right back, trying to understand why he was giving me such an intense look. I was surprised, to say the least. Why had he hung up? Suddenly I didn't know what to expect.
"What's the matter?" I asked him.
He didn't answer me, and left the room with a thoughtful frown. I caught him shaking his head a little as he left my sight.
I heard Matt go downstairs. He moved around the lower level of the house for a while, dragging stuff around and so on. At one point I smelled something cooking but he didn't come up at all. A couple of hours later, I heard the front door being slammed and assumed he must have left. The complete silence that followed confirmed my suspicions.
I wondered where he'd gone. It was getting uncomfortable being forced to lie in the same position for so long, with my hands tied over my head to the bedposts and my feet spread apart, each tied to a post too. I struggled against the rope, pulling with increasing strength, making the wood of the bed creak dangerously, but the knots were firm and the wood didn't give in. I couldn't free myself. All I managed to do was rub my wrists and ankles raw with the scratchy, rough rope that bound them from trying to move around so much. I kicked, and bucked, and if I'd been able to I'd have gnawed through the rope, but I couldn't manage to do anything but make the bed sway from side to side. Matt had bound me well, wherever he had gone.
After maybe half an hour of struggling I was sweating, sore and tired. I was only wearing the boxers Matt had given me, but it wasn't cold in the room. The rope dug into the skin of my wrists with its bristles every time I moved on the bed, though, and my shoulders were beginning to ache at being kept in the same position for so long. Being tied up was much worse than I'd thought it would be. I thought about how Matt had been practically tied up all day for three days straight, and I found a new respect for the stoic way in which he'd endured it. At least here I was lying on a mattress. He had sat on a hard wooden chair and hadn't been able to move an inch.
In a way, I welcomed the discomfort. It felt like I was repaying a part of what I'd made Matt endure, and it set us on equal footing. It was as if Matt was daring me to try and break free, and I welcomed the challenge. Every time the rope rubbed against my now-raw wrists I felt a little better. He hadn't called the cops on me. Maybe he was giving me a chance at payback for what I'd done to him. Maybe it was his way of thanking me for saving his life.
I spent maybe another full hour on that bed before I heard Matt come back. By then I was developing a serious, painful cramp in my right shoulder, but there was no way I was going to manage to get rid of it without Matt's help, and that was something I wasn't going to ask for. Matt hadn't asked for leniency once during the time I'd kept him tied up. I couldn't start whining at the first minor discomfort. I tried to occupy my mind by counting the lines running through the woodwork in the ceiling, and it gradually took my mind off the pain in my shoulder. By the time Matt's footsteps thumped up the stairs, I had managed to push the thought of pain away altogether. I focused my attention on him instead.
He didn't come into the bedroom right away. First he went to the bathroom and I heard the shower running. He was in there for quite a bit, and when he came out and into the bedroom he was only wearing a towel around his waist. I lifted my head as much as I could to look at him as he came in. He didn't say anything to me, so I didn't say anything either. We just looked at each other for three or four heartbeats, neither saying a word.
"I got the boat," Matt said at last, crossing his arms over his hard, muscled torso. His dark hair was wet and fell slightly over his eyes. "It wasn't hard with the right gear. It's tied up now, a little scratched from the tree but that's about it. It was good it overturned so quickly, too. No dents on the hull from those damn sharp rocks near the beach."
"Yeah. The motor needs some serious repairs, but it'll be serviceable again once I work on it for a couple days. No big deal."
"Glad to hear it."
"I brought your stuff back," he said, going back into the hallway and coming in with my jeans, my shoes and my gun. He dropped them next to the bed.
"I'll pay for the damage to the boat," I said. "Also for the stuff you lost; the supplies and so on."
Matt raised an eyebrow.
"There, in the pocket of my jeans," I said, gesturing with my head. "Take out my wallet."
Matt hesitated, but after a second he nodded curtly and picked up my jeans. He took out my wallet and opened it. He took out a wad of bills.
"Most of those are fifties and twenties," I told him.
"Stolen?" he asked.
I shook my head. "No. Honest. My grandfather didn't believe in banks. I didn't steal that money."
He put the bills back in the wallet and tossed it back to the floor. "I don't need your money."
"I know, but I'm giving it to you. Don't be an asshole and take it."
"I'm being the asshole? Who kidnapped me? Who kept me tied up for three days, huh? How are you enjoying it, Sven? Any of your muscles cramp up yet?"
I grinned. "Yeah. Big time."
"Doesn't look like it hurts."
"Trust me, it does. My shoulder's killing me."
"I'm glad," he snapped.
"Me too," I told him. And I meant it.
That seemed to surprise him, but he recovered quickly. He got closer to the bed, even set a knee on the mattress so he was really close to me, his face flushed with anger.
"You had no right," he said, his eyes boring twin laser wounds into mine. "You came here, you tied me up--in my own HOUSE!"
"I know," I told him evenly. "It was wrong. I already apologized."
"That's not enough!" he exploded. It looked like he had been holding all the rage in for as long as he could, but now he could no longer control it. "You've no idea what it was like, those three days. I was thirsty, hungry, in pain... I thought about every possible horrible way I'd try to kill you when I broke free, Sven. I fantasized about burying my axe through your neck. And then you go and... save my life... damn you! Now I don't even fucking know what to do with you!"
I saw him make a fist with his right hand, but he kept it by his side, keeping himself in check but only barely. He was flushed with anger, almost naked, leaning over me just a few inches from my face. I felt myself getting hard.
"Hit me," I said, looking right into his eyes. I showed no fear at his anger, and my voice was dead serious. "Hit me like I hit you that time when you were tied up."
Matt blinked. "What?"
"Come on. Do it and we'll be even. Take that anger out and show me what you've got."
I sneered. "Are you scared?"
"Come on. I made you my bitch for three days and now that you've got me tied up you can't even fight back?"
"Sven..." he growled.
"Can't believe you're such a fucking wimp. You say you want compensation for what you went through, then take it! I'm here! Or are you just too scared to do it? It's unbelievable. You want to get tied up again? Huh? Do you miss having a real man boss you around?"
He hit me. His fist came out of nowhere and slammed against my jaw, whipping my head to the side with the force of the punch. Pain exploded in my face, blinding me momentarily to anything but the sudden, short-lived agony that shot through my nerves like liquid fire. I tasted blood inside my mouth.
I turned my head back, trying to focus on Matt again.
"Would a wimp do that?" he asked me, furious. "Huh? Would a wimp do this?"
He delivered a sledgehammer punch to my abdomen with his left hand on the last word. I saw it coming, but I couldn't dodge it. I was helpless and the punch connected with all its strength, knocking the air out of me with its terrible, sudden impact. I'd never been hit so hard in my life. If I'd been able to, I would have doubled over in pain. Matt was very strong--probably the strongest man I'd ever met. And I'd just pissed him off enough to unleash all that strength on me.
Matt drew his fist back, panting, his eyes burning like embers as they looked at me. I couldn't think at all for a few seconds; the pain was just too great. I couldn't breathe. I struggled feebly against my restraints but of course I couldn't move. Then, suddenly, the air came rushing back into my lungs along with a rush of clarity. I could think again; and through the throbbing, raking pain in my jaw and my gut, I managed a one-sided grin.
"That's better," I said, spitting out some blood. "Feel good?"
I had a full, raging hard-on by then, so obviously tenting up the boxers that I was sure Matt had already seen it.
I noticed Matt's towel had fallen off in his rage. He hadn't even noticed. His magnificent cock was fully visible--rock-hard and erect.
When we locked eyes next, something happened. I saw Matt's rage be sublimated into deep, unequivocal lust. It was as if the floodgates holding his true desires in check had finally been torn open by my defiance and a tidal wave of pure desire broke free, erasing every last one of Matt's self-imposed restraints. Seeing that, my own pain and residual anger responded in kind, and I felt such a strong surge of desire for that man that I forgot about everything else in the world. There was only us. The world had ceased to exist.
"You beat me once into submission," Matt said, his voice husky. He leaned over me with heavy-lidded eyes and tore my boxers off, shredding the cloth in a sharp, violent tug so that only the elastic band was left around my waist. His big hand grabbed my throbbing cock in a strong, almost-painful grip. "Now it's my turn."
I yanked on the rope binding by wrists with all my strength, making the bed shake. My eyes were fixed on his.
"What are you waiting for?" I whispered.
Matt shifted his grip on my cock and climbed onto the bed, straddling my legs. He parted his lips, leaning down, and guided my hard cock into his mouth.
The sudden warm, wet touch of his mouth over my cock sent a wave of pleasure through my body, made all the more intense because it meant the release of the tension there had been between Matt and I ever since I'd come here. Matt wanted me just as much as I wanted him, and he'd finally admitted it. His outburst of hungry passion as he serviced my dick made it clear--and I enjoyed every second of it.
He was good at giving head. He knew just how to slide his lips up and down my stiff, hard shaft, and used his tongue to lick and stroke every inch of my cock. He grabbed my balls with one hand as he worked, stroking them, cupping them in a strong grip every now and then. If I'd been able to, I would have grabbed his hair and forced his face all the way down on my cock, but Matt was sucking me off well enough on his own. The fact that I was tied up made everything hotter. I'd never been the one lying helpless on his back. It was exhilarating.
"You taste good," Matt said, holding my dick in his hand, his face less than an inch from it.
He went back to work on my cock, taking it in, licking it thoroughly, opening up his throat ever so slightly every time he went down on it. Soon I began to thrust up into his face, my cock hitting the back of his mouth and his throat. Matt gagged a couple times but he kept going at it, his own dick rock-hard between his legs and oozing precum, which dripped onto my leg a couple of times. His big balls hung low, practically begging for me to touch them. I struggled against the rope again, but it was no good. I was bound up tight.
Matt took my dick out of his mouth, wiping his lips with the back of his hand.
"You want me to untie you?" he asked, grinning.
I yanked hard on the rope for an answer. The bed shuddered with the force I applied.
"Too bad," he said. "I'm not done with you yet."
My dick throbbed in anticipation at his words.
He shifted his position so that he was kneeling on the mattress between my legs while I lay spread-eagled before him. I tried tugging on the ankle restraints with my legs, but they held fast.
Matt reached out and fondled my hairy balls with his left hand, jacking off with his right. Lifting my head as far as it would go, I got a good look at his hard cock and was surprised to see it was nearly as big as mine. He'd need two hands to fully cover the length of that huge, veined shaft. As I watched, he let go of my balls and slid his hand further down, into my furry crack. He parted my cheeks with his other hand and felt around with his finger until he found my hole.
"Hey," I said. "Watch it. I'm not a bottom."
Matt brought his finger up to his lips and licked it. Then he brought it back down, right over my asshole.
"Really?" he asked, looking right into my eyes. He shoved his finger inside me.
I was too surprised to do anything but grunt when I felt Matt's finger go in like that. I'd experimented doing that to myself once or twice, but I'd never had another guy do it, ever. It felt strange. Good, mostly, but Matt was being rough so it also hurt. I felt Matt slide his finger out and then plunge it back in, as far as it would go. Then he did it again. And again. He was merciless, working up a rhythm that went faster all the time. I gritted my teeth to keep from crying out. I wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of seeing me begging for him to stop.
"Looks like you like it, Sven," Matt said, looking at my big, throbbing dick as it jerked up every time he slid his finger up my hole. "Don't you?"
I could only glare at him, defiant, trying uselessly to free myself from the rope. I didn't trust myself to speak. It just felt too good.
Matt took his finger out of me and quickly went to the nightstand by the bed. He opened a drawer and took out a condom and a small tube of lube. Then he came back and spread my legs apart, exposing my hole.
He lubed up his thumb first, and pushed it inside me, hard, making me grunt in pain. It felt bigger than the first finger he'd used, and it hurt more when he tried to push it all the way in. I was tensing up instinctively, which made it harder for him to get his thumb past the resistance of my hole. I knew I shouldn't fight it, but I couldn't help it. This was the first time I'd let anyone do this to me and I was too wound up to relax as I knew I should.
"What's the matter?" Matt asked me, his tone slightly mocking. "Does that hurt too much?"
"No," I managed, then grunted as he pushed deeper, and harder. I could take it. I knew I could. "Is that all you have, Matt?"
"I said, is that all you've got?"
I realized I was sweating, and my dick was as hard as it ever was. I couldn't remember feeling hornier that this, ever. I knew what Matt was going to do to me, and the thought was disturbing yet exciting. Nobody had fucked me, not once. Nobody had ever been man enough to try.
Matt took his thumb out and tore open the condom package. He slid it onto his huge pole so the transparent latex covered it tightly and spread some lube on his palm. Then he lubed up his dick well and slick, and spread some of the lube onto my hole as well. I swallowed, steeling myself for the moment.
Matt leaned over me first, though, and caressed my chest with the palm of his hand. He ran his fingers all over my hairy pecs, then up past my neck and over my beard. He looked like he was about to kiss me but then thought better about it, and leaned back, running his hand down my rock-hard abs and until he found my cock rising up from its nest of pubic hair, red like my beard. He gave my dick a hard tug and then grinned.
"Man, you're hot," he said. "You're built like a rock. I'm going to fuck you so hard that you're gonna beg me to stop."
"That's not going to happen."
Matt grabbed the base of his huge cock and aimed it at my hole. "We'll see."
I braced myself and then he pushed in.
It hurt. I wasn't ready, and Matt was relentless. At first it felt like something that big couldn't possibly go inside me, no way. I felt the pressure of Matt's push and I instinctively backed away, clenching my hole tight.
"Hey," Matt said, easing up on the pressure, his voice surprisingly soft. "Easy. Let it in a little at a time. Come on."
I nodded, breathing hard, feeling the pain fade away. "Okay."
Matt tried again. This time he didn't stop.
"Ahh!" I cried out, unable to keep my mouth shut. It hurt, and Matt kept pushing inside deeper all the time, but I suddenly realized it also felt good. I'd never had another man shove his dick in my hole before, and it felt... it felt amazing.
"Yeah," Matt whispered, going all the way inside me. "Man, you're tight."
He started thrusting, slowly at first, letting me get used to the size of his huge dick. It burned when he started moving inside me, but I gritted my teeth and took it, breathing hard, sweat dripping from my brow. I could handle it. And it felt too damn good to tell him to stop.
The bed began to creak under Matt's thrusts as he worked up steam. It was slow at first, almost careful, but that didn't last very long. Matt began to pound me in earnest soon, slamming his cock all the way inside my hole and then taking it back out only to shove it inside me even harder. He fucked me as hard as he wanted, and the sensations of pleasure only increased in intensity as I finally loosened up and let him take me.
I ached to touch to own dick as Matt fucked me, but the rope held me tight, helpless and at the mercy of the big man that was slamming his dick into my hole, his rough, sudden thrusts only increasing the pleasure I felt. I'd never felt anything like it before. It was more than the feeling of Matt's big manhood inside me; it was the feeling of letting him have me, knowing he was enjoying it as much as I was. I'd never known being a bottom could be so fucking hot. The pain was gone by then. All I wanted was for Matt to fuck me senseless.
"Come on!" I urged him, rocking in time to his thrusts, taking him in deep. "Give it to me!"
"You want it?" Matt panted, resting his palms on my rock-hard chest.
"Okay," he said.
He fucked me. Hard. I took it like a man, telling him to go harder, to have no mercy at all with me, and Matt complied willingly, giving me everything he had, and I took it. Every single ounce of it. Matt knew he had met his match then, and as our two bodies rocked together, connected in the most intimate way possible, I knew I'd met the man I'd been looking for even without knowing he existed. He completed me. And feeling his cock inside me, fucking me as hard as he'd said, was so fucking hot that I knew I was getting close to coming, even without having touched my dick once.
"You like that?" Matt panted, rocking the bed.
"Take it. Take that cock!"
Matt grabbed my dick then. I grunted with pleasure at his unexpected gesture, and then all but lost it when he began to jack me off right as he fucked me. The pleasure rocked my mind, and I lost control. I arched my back and felt the onslaught of a sudden, fire-hot orgasm racing through my body even before I realized I was about to cum. Matt felt it, and pumped my dick even harder. The pleasure reached an almost unbearable peak, and then I was spurting my load all over myself, coming by the bucketful, shooting hot jets of white cum again, and again, and again. In that instant I felt what perfect pleasure felt like. Matt gave me something I never knew could exist.
I snapped back into the world when my violent orgasm ended and felt Matt pulling out of me suddenly, yanking the condom away and leaning back on his knees, his hand flying over his cock. He closed his eyes and his entire body shuddered when he came. He shot his load high into the air, and it landed all around us; on the sheets, some even on my leg. I saw Matt empty his balls, his dick throbbing with every spurt, and when he was done and I was done there was a moment of complete, enveloping silence, in which I felt closer to him than I'd ever felt to anyone else in my life.
Matt opened his eyes, caught my look, and he grinned. I grinned back. Our look spoke volumes.
Matt undid the knots holding my arms up and practically tore the rope away from my wrists. Then he did the same with my feet, and I was suddenly free. I brought my arms down slowly, wincing at the pain in my shoulders. There was cum all over me, my ass hurt, and my shoulders hurt, but I couldn't remember feeling better in my life.
"That was amazing," I said, sitting up on the bed, rubbing my left shoulder, which hurt the most.
"Yeah," Matt agreed, sitting down next to me. "Best sex I've ever had in my life."
"What do we do now?" I asked him.
He shrugged. "I don't know, Sven."
"I thought you were going to call the cops."
"I thought so, too."
He sighed. "Now we take a shower. We'll think about that later."
"I won't try anything again," I said, standing up.
Matt nodded. "I know you won't."
I showered first, and Matt went in when I was done. I put on my jeans and shoes, but the shirt I'd been wearing was too dirty to wear anymore, so I went shirtless until Matt came out and gave me one of his shirts to wear: a simple, short-sleeved white shirt. It fit me, which was a surprise. Most times the shirts I buy are uncomfortably tight around the chest.
"Are you hungry?" Matt asked, drying his hair with a towel.
"What do you think?"
"Come down, then. I'll fix something for lunch."
I followed him downstairs. It was weird, of course. I couldn't shake off the memories of the last few days and how I'd acted. I was genuinely sorry and I hoped Matt believed me when I'd said it. I couldn't blame him if he hadn't, though. I'd have to prove myself to him somehow.
Matt was a bit edgy around me, which proved my point. I made no sudden moves and followed him to the kitchen so he could keep an eye on me at all times.
Matt looked in the fridge. "Hmmm. Nothing here but some old potatoes and beer. I think I have some canned beans somewhere."
He rummaged around until he found the beans, and also a can of chili. Then he produced some salt and various herbs I didn't even know the names of, and started cooking. Pretty soon, a mouth-watering aroma began wafting off from the skillet.
"That smells good," I commented.
Matt chuckled. "Anything smells good compared to those awful things you cooked the first couple of days. I never knew anyone who could mess up good old-fashioned eggs and bacon."
I shrugged. "My grandfather knew how to cook. My mother too. I guess I never really had any real need to learn."
"That makes sense," Matt said, stirring the mix under the fire. "I've had to cook for myself and my father for many years now, so I made myself learn. He was like you: couldn't cook to save his life. I guess the most he ever cooked which tasted okay was mac and cheese. And it wasn't very good."
I noticed the past tense when Matt had talked about his father. He had probably passed away, then. I wondered if I should ask. I was curious, but that locked room upstairs told me Matt was probably not okay with discussing it with strangers; much less with a stranger who had abducted him against his will.
"Come on," Matt said, serving two big portions of chili on a couple of plates. "Let's eat."
I carried the plates to the table and sat down. Matt came next with forks and spoons, and two cans of beer. He handed me one and opened the other one as he sat down.
"Thanks," I said, opening my own can. "I didn't notice you had any beer earlier."
"Always got some," he said, taking a long gulp. "Ahhh, that's good. As a matter of fact, I was carrying home a few six-packs in the boat when you showed up. Too bad I lost them."
"Sorry about that," I said.
"Hey. Stop beating yourself up about it."
"Aren't you mad?"
"Yeah, sure. I mean, I was. I'm still not entirely sure I can trust you. But you did save my life, Sven. That counts for something around here. Especially for me. Not many people would have done what you did, even in a small town like this one. I don't know why you came here in the first place, but as far as I'm concerned we're even." He grinned. "You even let me get back to you for that punch to the face."
I touched my cheek, over my beard. Matt's punch didn't hurt that much anymore; I'd mostly forgotten about it, actually.
"It wasn't right of me to do that," I said. "It's okay to beat a guy up in a fair fight any day, but not when he can't hit you back. My grandfather taught me that."
Matt nodded. "Dig in, Sven. The chili's getting cold."
We ate. It was the best thing I'd had in a long, long time. Even since running away, in fact. It tasted like a home-cooked meal should, and it made me remember happier times.
"Are you okay? You're staring at that chili like it's talking to you."
"Oh. Just thinking about stuff."
Matt didn't pursue the subject. He ate his food in silence and I did the same. I appreciated the fact that he didn't bombard me with questions and respected my silence. It made me respect him even more in turn.
"I was thinking about home," I said eventually, when the last of the chili was gone. I emptied my beer can and set it next to the plate. "It's been a while since I left. Been on the run ever since."
"You said you killed a man," Matt said, glancing briefly at the gun that was still slung through my belt.
"I did," I confessed. "The one who shot my grandfather."
"Oh. You talk a lot about your grandfather," Matt told me. "He seems important in your life."
"He was," I said, looking thoughtfully out the window. Rain had begun to fall again, but lightly this time. The patter of the raindrops on the roof could barely be heard. "He raised me, along with my mother--his daughter. We lived on his farm, came back there after my father left us. I must have been four or five at the time. My mother went back to the farm, and my grandparents opened their home to us. My grandfather ended up being my dad in all but name. He taught me how to run the farm, how to hunt, even how to gamble. He was a good man, respected in his community. He had no enemies that I knew of. That's why I still can't understand why those men came that night. Why they killed him."
"Were they burglars?" Matt asked me.
"No. I don't think so. They didn't take anything--all they did was go in and shoot my grandfather." I grabbed the empty beer can and crushed it in my hand, remembering the moment. "Those cowardly sons of bitches just came in the night one day, no explanation, no warning. Probably thought they'd get away with it, too, but I heard the shot. I rushed back inside the house and found them."
"And your mother?"
I shook my head. "She passed away a couple of years back. My grandmother a few years earlier. Me and my grandfather were the only ones living at the farm by then.
"There were three men. I took out two of them; the last one got away. I shot the one who'd killed my grandfather with this gun. Then I ran."
"When was that?"
"Three months ago, more or less. I've been on the run ever since. Thought I'd be safe here, thought nobody would come looking for me. Turns out I was wrong."
Matt was thoughtful. "You could go back, explain what happened."
"No. I thought about it, but it's too late. It's bad enough I killed a man, maybe two, and left the farm with all the cash my grandfather kept. They'll frame me for everything somehow and I'll rot in jail for avenging his murder."
"You don't know that."
I shrugged. "Maybe. But like I said, it's too late now. I ran when I should have probably stayed. Now this is where I am."
Matt looked at me long and hard. It felt like he was analyzing me somehow.
"I guess I've got to change all my impressions about you," he told me.
"You're more than you seem, Sven. At first I took you for a drunken idiot. Then for a petty criminal. Then for a serial killer--but now I see you're just a guy. I'm sorry for what happened to your grandfather."
"If something like that had happened here, I don't know what I would have done. No; wait. I do know. I would have hunted the son of a bitch down and killed him."
I nodded. "You get me," I told him.
He shot a look at the gun rack by the fireplace. "Better than you think."
Something cracked loudly outside the house. It sounded like wood splintering.
"What was that?" I asked.
Matt stood up quickly. "I don't know."
The sound of more wood being broken reached us over the rain. It came from beyond the kitchen, outside, on the other side of the house. There was a brief scree of something made of metal being scraped by something sharp, and then a loud, distinctive growl.
Matt rushed to the gun rack so fast he was halfway to the door before I could properly react.
"He's here!" Matt said, his voice vicious, angry, totally unlike him.
He didn't answer. He just ran out the door, a shotgun in hand.
I followed, quickly. I caught sight of Matt running in the rain down the length of the house, trying to come around to the far side, where the noises were coming from. I followed, getting thoroughly soaked in seconds, my feet slipping on the wet rocks by the house, and was just in time to see Matt stop, take aim, and fire.
"Fuck!" he swore. "I missed!"
Something large and black made a sort of loud whine, followed by a growl, and there were sudden sounds of garbage being tossed around as the animal escaped, loping away with a deceivingly rolling, loping gait. Matt shot once more, but by then the bear was too far away. It ran away faster than a man at full speed and was soon lost in the forest back on the mainland. The dark shape was gone, and Matt swore.
"Son of a bitch! It came back! And I fucking missed!"
He kicked the side of the house savagely. I saw that the bear had gotten into the garbage disposal bin; the sounds we'd heard had been of it looking around for something to eat.
Matt made as if to follow the bear, but I grabbed him by the shoulder.
"Let go!" he yelled, yanking his shoulder away.
"It's raining. We need to get back inside."
Matt looked at me, then at the place where the bear had disappeared. He nodded, wearily. "You're right. It will be gone by now. No way to track it in the rain."
I led him back in. I took off my wet shirt and set it by the fireplace. I wondered if I should light it. Matt was doing nothing, though; he was just standing in the middle of the room, looking out the window, a steel edge to his gaze.
"That was the same bear," he said, mostly to himself. "I'd know him anywhere."
"The fucking bear that killed my father," Matt said, gripping the shotgun's barrel so tightly that his knuckles went white. "The bear I'm going to kill."
"He killed your father? When?"
"Three weeks ago," Matt said, not looking at me. His voice choked up with emotion. "They found his body with a search party. The bear had mauled him, and left him in the forest to bleed to death. They said my father had tried to crawl his way back home, but his leg had been broken. He didn't make it. And it was that same fucking bear! My father spent his entire life trying to help those things, and one of them ended his life. I won't rest until that animal is dead."
Matt looked out the window, through the rain, as if he could conjure up the hated bear with his mind. He stood like that for a long time, lost in his anger.
"I'll help you kill it," I said suddenly.
Matt looked at me, surprised. "You don't have to help me. It's none of your business."
"I'm helping you just the same."
He seemed to consider it. Finally, he nodded. "Okay. We leave as soon as the rain lets up. You ever hunt a black bear before?"
"No, but I can learn."
"Fine. Let's get the gear ready, then. Today we go hunting."
The next chapter will come out next Tuesday!
If you like this story, make sure to check out my other Nifty story, `Learning with a Man' at: