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 cir​cum​s​tan​ces​.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 scree​ches​.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

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