Bear and Fish

the whole scene from DoA- Chap­ter 15 NOBLE SAVAGES:

Best make a fire while there’s light enough to strike a flint,” he said. “Ye’ll fetch the wee fish?”I left him to deal with flints and kin­dling while I went down the lit­tle hill to the stream, where we had left the fresh-caught trout dan­gling from stringers in the icy cur­rent. As I came back up the hill it had grown dark enough that I could see him only in out­line, crouched over a tiny pile of smol­der­ing kin­dling. A wisp of smoke rose up like incense, pale between his hands.I set the gut­ted fish down in the long grass and sat back on my heels beside him, watch­ing as he laid fresh sticks on the fire, build­ing it patient­ly, a bar­ri­cade against the com­ing night.“What do you think it will be like?” I asked sud­den­ly. “To die.”He stared into the fire, think­ing. A burn­ing twig snapped with heat, spurt­ing sparks into the air, which drift­ed down, blink­ing out before they touched the ground.“ ‘Man is like the grass that with­ers and is thrown into the fire; he is like the sparks that fly upward…and his place will know him no more,’ ” I quot­ed soft­ly. “Is there noth­ing after, do you think?”He shook his head, look­ing into the fire. I saw his eyes shift beyond it, to where the cool bright sparks of the fire­flies blinked in and out among the dark stems.“I can­na say,” he said at last, soft­ly. His shoul­der touched mine and I leaned my head toward him. “There’s what the Church says, but—” His eyes were still fixed on the fire­flies, wink­ing through the grass stems, their light unquench­able. “No, I can­na say. But I think it will maybe be all right.”He tilt­ed his head, press­ing his cheek against my hair for a moment, then stood up, reach­ing for his dirk.“The fire’s well start­ed now.”The heavy air of the after­noon had lift­ed with the com­ing of twi­light, and a soft evening breeze blew the damp ten­drils of hair off my face. I sat with my face lift­ed, eyes closed, enjoy­ing the cool­ness after the sweaty heat of the day.I could hear Jamie rustling around the fire, and the quick, soft whisht of his knife as he skinned green oak twigs for broil­ing the fish.I think it will maybe be all right. I thought so, too. There was no telling what lay on the oth­er side of life, but I had sat many times through an hour where time stops, emp­ty of thought, soothed of soul, look­ing into…what? Into some­thing that had nei­ther name nor face, but which seemed good to me, and full of peace. If death lay there…Jamie’s hand touched my shoul­der light­ly in pass­ing, and I smiled, not open­ing my eyes.“Ouch!” he mut­tered, on the oth­er side of the fire. “Nicked myself, clum­sy clot.”I opened my eyes. He was a good eight feet away, head bent as he sucked a small cut on the knuck­le of his thumb. A rip­ple of goose­flesh rose straight up my back.“Jamie,” I said. My voice sound­ed pecu­liar, even to me. I felt a small round cold spot, cen­tered like a tar­get on the back of my neck.“Aye?”“Is there—” I swal­lowed, feel­ing the hair rise on my fore­arms. “Jamie, is there…someone…behind me?”His eyes shift­ed to the shad­ows over my shoul­der, and sprang wide. I didn’t wait to look round, but flung myself flat on the ground, an action that like­ly saved my life.There was a loud whuff! and a sud­den strong smell of ammo­nia and fish. Some­thing struck me in the back with an impact that knocked the breath out of me, and then stepped heav­i­ly on my head, dri­ving my face into the ground.I jerked up, gasp­ing for breath, shak­ing leaf mold out of my eyes. A large black bear, squalling like a cat, was lurch­ing round the clear­ing, its feet scat­ter­ing burn­ing sticks.For a moment, half blind­ed by dirt, I couldn’t see Jamie at all. Then I spot­ted him. He was under the bear, one arm locked around its neck, his head tucked into the joint of the shoul­der just under the drool­ing jaws.One foot shot out from under the bear, kick­ing fran­ti­cal­ly, stab­bing at the ground for trac­tion. He had tak­en his boots and stock­ings off when we made camp; I gasped as one bare foot slewed through the rem­nants of the fire, rais­ing show­ers of sparks.His fore­arm was ridged with effort, half buried in thick fur. His free arm thrust and jabbed; he had kept hold of his dirk, at least. At the same time, he hauled with all his strength on the bear’s neck, pulling it down.The bear was lung­ing, bat­ting with one paw, try­ing to shake off the cling­ing weight around its neck. It seemed to lose its bal­ance, and fell heav­i­ly for­ward, with a loud squall of rage. I heard a muf­fled whoof! that didn’t seem to come from the bear, and looked fran­ti­cal­ly around for some­thing to use as a weapon.The bear strug­gled back to its feet, shak­ing itself violently.I caught a brief glimpse of Jamie’s face, con­tort­ed with effort. One bulging eye widened at sight of me, and he shook his mouth clear of the bristling fur.“Run!” he shout­ed. Then the bear fell on him again, and he dis­ap­peared under three hun­dred pounds of hair and muscle.With vague thoughts of Mowgli and the Red Flower, I scrab­bled mad­ly over the damp earth in the clear­ing, find­ing noth­ing but small pieces of charred stick and glow­ing embers that blis­tered my fin­gers but were too small to grip.I had always thought that bears roared when annoyed. This one was mak­ing a lot of noise, but it sound­ed more like a very large pig, with pierc­ing squeals and blat­ting nois­es inter­spersed with hair-rais­ing growls. Jamie was mak­ing a lot of noise, too, which was reas­sur­ing under the circumstances.My hand fell on some­thing cold and clam­my; the fish, tossed aside at the edge of the fire clearing.“To hell with the Red Flower,” I mut­tered. I seized one of the trout by the tail, ran for­ward, and belt­ed the bear across the nose with it as hard as I could.The bear shut its mouth and looked sur­prised. Then its head slewed toward me and it lunged, mov­ing faster than I would have thought pos­si­ble. I fell back­ward, land­ing on my bot­tom, and essayed a final, valiant blow with my fish before the bear charged me, Jamie still cling­ing to its neck like grim death.It was like being caught in a meat grinder; a brief moment of total chaos, punc­tu­at­ed by ran­dom hard blows to the body and the sen­sa­tion of being suf­fo­cat­ed in a large, reek­ing hairy blan­ket. Then it was gone, leav­ing me lying bruised in the grass on my back, smelling strong­ly of bear piss and blink­ing up at the evening star, which was shin­ing serene­ly overhead.Things were a good deal less serene on the ground. I rolled onto all fours, shout­ing “Jamie!” at the trees, where a large, amor­phous mass rolled to and fro, smash­ing down the oak saplings and emit­ting a cacoph­o­ny of growls and Gael­ic screeches.It was full dark on the ground by now, but there was enough light from the sky for me to make things out. The bear had fall­en over again, but instead of ris­ing and lung­ing, this time was rolling on its back, hind feet churn­ing in an effort to gain a rip­ping pur­chase. One front paw land­ed in a heavy, rend­ing slap and there was an explo­sive grunt that didn’t sound like the bear’s. The smell of blood was heavy on the air.“Jamie!” I shrieked.There was no answer, but the writhing pile rolled and tilt­ed slow­ly side­ways into the deep­er black shad­ows under the trees. The min­gled nois­es sub­sided to heavy grunts and gasps, punc­tu­at­ed by small whim­per­ing moans.“JAMIE!”The thrash­ing and branch-crack­ing died away into soft­er rustlings. Some­thing was mov­ing under the branch­es, sway­ing heav­i­ly from side to side, on all fours.Very slow­ly, breath­ing in gasps with a catch and a groan, Jamie crawled out into the clearing.Disregarding my own bruis­es, I ran to him, and dropped to my knees beside him.“God, Jamie! Are you all right?”“No,” he said short­ly, and col­lapsed on the ground, wheez­ing gently.His face was no more than a pale blotch in the starlight; the rest of his body was so dark as to be near­ly invis­i­ble. I found out why as I ran my hands swift­ly over him. His clothes were so soaked with blood that they stuck to his body, his hunt­ing shirt com­ing away from his chest with a nasty lit­tle suck­ing sound as I pulled at it.“You smell like a slaugh­ter­house,” I said, feel­ing under his chin for a pulse. It was fast—no great surprise—but strong, and a wave of relief washed over me. “Is that your blood, or the bear’s?”“If it was mine, Sasse­nach, I’d be dead,” he said testi­ly, open­ing his eyes. “No cred­it to you that I’m not, mind.” He rolled painful­ly onto his side and slow­ly got to his hands and knees, groan­ing. “What pos­sessed ye, woman, to hit me in the heid wi’ a fish whilst I was fight­ing for my life?”“Hold still, for heaven’s sake!” He couldn’t be too bad­ly hurt if he was try­ing to get away. I clutched him by the hips to stop him, and kneel­ing behind him, felt my way gin­ger­ly up his sides. “Bro­ken ribs?” I said.“No. But if ye tick­le me, Sasse­nach, I will­na like it a bit,” he said, gasp­ing between words.

All rights for the Pic­ture from Outlander go to the right­ful owner Starz/Sony
Quo­te and Excerpt by Diana Gabaldon from “DoA”
I own not­hing but the editing
Heike Ginger Ba Written by:

|Human|Woman|Mother|Wife|Friend| Photographer| Blogger| |TV-Junkie|Photoshop-Beginner|Art-Lover|Cologne-based|Outlander-addict |Sherlockian |TWD-devoted

4 Comments

  1. Pamela Allum
    January 25
    Reply

    One of my favourite scenes, espe­cial­ly the com­ment about Claire hit­ting him on the head with the fish. i laughed out loud when I read that the first time and still chuck­le every time I read it.

    • Heike Ginger Ba
      January 27
      Reply

      Hi Pamela,

      thanks again for your vis­it on my lit­tle Blog..
      you are right it was a ver­ra fun­ny Moment.
      LG Heike

  2. Illona Cardona
    March 20
    Reply

    these posts are just won­der­ful! i love it!

    • Heike Ginger Ba
      March 21
      Reply

      Thank you once mor­rrre

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *