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This is the Chase

  

This is the Chase
By Gabrielle Roselynn Dina

Her first thought is not of you. As the miasma of darkness recedes from her eyes and mind, pain usurps its place, a pulsing slick of heat down the side of her cranium and a thousand lesser abrasions on every limb. She raises herself to hands and knees, and the moss-mottled tree trunks shake from the effort. The forest floor shivers and contracts.

Fractal lightning races down her neck when she cranes her head to look up to the trail she came from. It’s a long way between here and there, filled with great leaning tree trunks and the odd stranded boulder, but a slash in the undergrowth marks the way she came down – too steep to climb back up. How long has it been since she fell? A few hours, most likely, judging by what she can see of the sun. A day at most, she decides, which leads her to wonder if she’s been reported as missing yet – that is, if anyone has thought to look.

This is when she thinks of you. Your smile darts through her memory, a sure-footed, fleeting creature: a stoat, perhaps, silky and svelte, and nimble enough that it could vanish itself away into secret burrows. The trees surrounding her are riddled with such burrows at their roots, and for a wild moment of eclipsing headache, she wonders if you aren’t in one of them right now, peering out through the pachysandra, keeping watch as she stumbles along. She speaks your name into the arboreal air, and it slurs off of her tongue. She tries again, louder, and this time the word rings true – but you are not a familiar spirit that can be summoned at the call of its name. She is alone, with only the unfamiliar. She may never see you again.

This last thought is banished as soon as it draws form. Her feet leap into action, body following along behind in a white mist of instinct. Your name is the heartbeat of every footfall. If she can find a way back to the trail – but the ground bucks and weaves beneath her. Every tree looks like the last, and the direction she goes in bends side-to-side with each step. A wayward root catches her foot; she stumbles, and smothers a hysterical laugh. If only her step-mother could see her now. A poisonous voice hisses in her ear in mockery of maternal concern: Just like your mother, now aren’t you. But as cruel as it is, it is also the truth, because her mother, too, went into the woods one day, and never came out. Hot liquid courses down her cheek at the thought. Tears, she assumes, but when she dabs it away, her hand comes back red. A searching touch to her skull finds the culprit as her fingers trace a long stretch of canyon cut into her flesh. It oozes under the pressure of her fingertips, and her sight distorts further: white flashes, followed by multi-colored dots, and a shadow in the undergrowth shifts into a greater shape – but this last vision is not a lie.

This is when she meets the bear.

He manifests into the open from whatever greener, wilder place he came – a great brown bear, snout to the wind, and through the gape of his mouth, she can see the white shine of sharp teeth. She stops. So does the bear. A breeze picks up a curl of her hair, which sets his nose into a spasm of twitches, and her mother’s voice comes to her on the wind saying never try to outrun a bear, Ula. Make yourself big, keep eye contact, back away slowly – but above all, you must remember – do not run. But she is very, very scared.

She flies through the underbrush, and the bear thunders after her in pursuit, his claws catching at her heels. He stays just behind her, though she knows he could easily surpass her or fell her with one swipe of a mighty paw, a capricious child playing with his food. She wants to laugh, but her lungs have been swallowed up with terror. Her breath comes in rasps, and blood flows freely from her temple, joining rivers of sweat. The trees twist. Shadows scurry up the trunks. Time fractures and her eyesight is spliced with black, each moment a snapshot of terror. A moss-eaten boulder. A fallen tree. A hut.

It ambushes her path of escape, a ramshackle structure made of dilapidated timber, squatting in a grove of ferns and framed by two ancient towering oaks. The black maw of the hut’s interior is revealed by the crooked door, blown open by a wind that rustles through the branches above, and the voice returns to her. If no crime your conscience stain –

“Mother?” she croaks.

– in this hut tonight remain.

The rusted bolt to the door is thrown home before she can think twice. Reaching out through the dark, her hands brush against a solid wooden chest, and she throws herself against it until it braces the door. Then she flattens herself against the wall and listens. The night greets her ears with the hoot of an owl, the Morse code of crickets, but no sign of a larger animal. No bear. She racks her memory for when it disappeared, in which direction it went. Nothing comes. Her head pulses in time with her heart.

“Please, Mother,” she whispers, “if it’s really you…” but then her legs give out, and all coherence follows. 

Inside the hut, it is mildewed and cold, but there’s a dry, dusty corner that she finds by touch. This is where she sleeps, in a cradle of burlap sacks and fibrous rope. The night passes outside, baleful and silent, like a great beast skulking at the door.

* * *

The rumble of the wild man wakes her when he enters the hut. His shadow blots out the doorway – a massive figure, brawny and dirt-ridden. His dark hair and beard make a mane of tangled snarls, and his hand spans the entire circumference of her throat when he lifts her from the floor and pins her against the wall. Her toes graze the floor; she flops and gasps, a boneless creature under the pressure of his fingers and the ferocity of his gaze. He is going to squeeze and squeeze until her lungs collapse inwards. With one large hand, he will snap her neck.

But his eyes flicker down, and he stops. His other hand comes up to her throat. She flinches, but he only reaches out and pets her necklace, which dangles out from under the hand threatening to crush her throat. His thumb brushes the amber pendant, rough, calloused pad rubbing over the cold stone. Her fear of strangulation is replaced with the irrational terror that he will rip it from her neck.

“Please – it’s my mother’s,” she whispers, “It’s all I have left of her.”

He cocks his head to one side and continues to pet the stone. An idea forms out of her panic.

“But if you want it, I can give it to you,” she says, “…as a gift.”

The fingers at her throat relax incrementally.

“A gift?” His voice is deep and rough with disuse. She nods, offering a tentative smile.

“A gift for you,” she says, “because friends give each other gifts. We can be friends, right?”

He watches her twitch in his grasp, expression indecipherable, and for a moment, she is absolutely certain that he will kill her. But then the soles of her feet touch ground. His hand drops from the necklace, and he releases her, stalking for the door. He looks back just once.

“Stay here.” Then he is gone, swallowed up by the wider world.

She is left alone in the dark cabin, with its dirt-encrusted windows. In one corner, a wooden table is nestled amongst several squat three-legged stools and a rickety old chair. In another, a pile of musty pelts and faded quilts. The floor is strewn with rocks twice the size of her fist. Bones, too, liter the floor. Everywhere, cobwebs reign unchallenged, except for at the very back of the cabin where a monstrous black iron stove imposes itself upon the back wall. Split logs are piled up around it on both sides, but the belly of the beast is dead and cold. She stays where she fell, too weak and nauseous to move, and her glazed eyes track the progress of the shadows thrown by feeble window light as they creep across the water-rotten floorboards.

When the shadows have shifted several feet, he returns, brandishing a bundle of fabric that is thrown into her lap. Men’s clothing, a pair of torn trousers and a button-down flannel shirt, stained dark with mud. 

“Clean these,” the man grunts, and stalks out of the cabin.

She finds an old rusty pump out behind the hut and a metal basin under the table. Taking it outside only causes the pulse in her skull to beat harder. She sits down for a moment once she’s managed to drag it to the pump, but the strain must fragment her memory further because when she next looks, the basin is full, though she cannot remember pumping any water. She drags it back inside.

On closer inspection of the clothes, she can no longer trick herself into calling the stains mud. She holds them under the water, scratching at the discoloration with her nails, but it’s a fruitless battle. The heat of profound failure and midday sun converge upon her suddenly within the little hut, so she wrenches a window open. A breeze sweeps through the cabin, a soft hush of the old green world. She thinks of her mother.

“I’m very scared,” she whispers, leaning her head against the windowsill, “and if you can help me in any way…” but then she must pass out, for between one blink of her eyes and the next the sun is lower in the sky. The clothing hangs over the side of the empty basin, perfectly laundered.

She hangs the garments up to dry on a line outside. Just in time, too, for the man arrives home again with a large burlap sack over his shoulder. He throws it at her feet.

“Cook this,” he says, and leaves once more. She peers into the sack, and then immediately rushes for the basin when a surge of sickness and horror overtakes her.

“Stew,” she mutters to herself once the heaving has abated, “perhaps I can make stew.”

Cast iron pots and pans are hung upon one of the walls, the only form of Spartan decoration in the entire hut. While she studies them with apprehension, the man re-enters with a bundle of firewood, which he adds to the stacks of lumber. He then builds a fire in the monstrous wood-burning stove that squats in the back of the cabin, while she watches at arm’s length in equal parts fear and fascination. Once he’s finished, he steps back with a sweeping gesture of his forearm and an up-twitch of his lip – it’s her turn now.

The table is commandeered for carving, and a pot goes on the flat of the stovetop. She works as efficiently as she can manage as he watches from his throne of furs, but her body is taut with his presence, a prey animal caught in the gaze of a predator. A hair’s breadth is all that separates her from spiraling into primordial terror, a land of no return – but a soft squeaking brings her back. She looks up from the carnage in front of her and into two beady black eyes.

This is when she meets the mouse. It sits on its hindquarters, nose raised up to her.

“Food, please.”

She blinks, then squints at the mouse. It doesn’t disappear. When she’s sure the man isn’t paying attention, she bends down closer.

“…did you just speak?” she whispers to it. The mouse stares up at her, whiskers twitching. Its nose wiggles in time with its ears. Just an ordinary little mouse – and she has a severe head wound. But even so – she slips it a few stringy pieces of meat. It scampers back to its hidey-hole and escapes unseen. And she thinks of you.

You would say that feeding a mouse is foolish; a talking mouse is even more so. But she is also sure you would have attempted an escape by now. Even if you lost your path to the dark, bleeding throughout the woods, even if it killed you – you would try. She stirs the pot and wishes, not for the first time today, to be more like you.

They eat at the wooden table, perched upon three-legged stools that wobble with each shift of weight. He devours the stew with a snuffling sound, mouth open, a man possessed. She forces herself to slurp at the liquid in her bowl, watching him from under dark lashes.

“What’s your name?”

The eyes of the wilderness meet her gaze as he consumes his meal.

“I’m Ula,” she offers.

He gnaws at a bone and says nothing. When he’s done, he shoves his bowl at her. She takes both of them and stands with only a slight sway.

“You’re welcome,” she tells him and turns to go to the pump.

“Artur.”

The bowls drop from her hands. She spins back to face him.

“Is that your name?” she says, “Artur?”

He sits there, impassive, as though he never said a word. But she’s certain this time it was not the head-wound.

* * *

Evening brings a cloak of shadow upon the inside of the hut, and he gives her a set of keys attached to an iron ring.

“Take these,” he says, “and jingle them all night long.”

No further explanation is given. He stalks off to his makeshift nest and throws himself down upon it in a shameless sprawl. Soon his snores rumble throughout the hut.

The night hours lurch by. She paces the floor, rattling the keys as she walks. The futility of the task leaves her disconcerted, but she perseveres, even as anxiety surrenders to exhaustion, for fear of what should happen if she stopped. Hours into her vigil, a high squeal interrupts the hush – the mouse is back. She approaches it with caution, but it sits on its haunches and holds its forepaws out to her.

“I don’t have any more food,” she tells it. It shakes its head, paws reaching further out to her hand that clutches the key ring.

“Do you want these?”

The mouse nods eagerly.

This is worse than foolishness, you would say, this isn’t one of your mother’s stories – but you are not present to whisper into her ear. She gives the ring of keys to the mouse, and it grasps them in its tiny paws, then twitches its nose toward the stove at the back of the cabin.

“Hide,” it squeals. She does not question the wisdom of the mouse.

The space between the stove and wall is tight, but she manages to fold herself into its shape, pressed between arctic metal and splintered wood. The mouse jingles the keys, keeping the time of the night, and she begins to drift.

The crash of stone on wood pulls her back, followed by an earth-shaking roar. The man is awake and stomping about the cabin; when she peeks out from her hiding place, the breeze of an object hurled at full strength sends her scuttling back, but now she knows what his collection of stones and bones is for. He tosses them about the room with skull-shattering force, in a fit of rage, as though possessed by a spirit of madness. She cowers further behind the stove as the cabin shakes under each impact, the metal of the stove reverberating into her flesh when it absorbs the force of a direct hit. The rattle of iron on iron approaches, and she looks to see the mouse running over to her. It drops the keys at her feet before disappearing through a gap in the wall, and she snatches them up.

The crashing stops. The roars of a man are now the huurr huurr of a beast. Heavy footfall, the scrape of claws on wood – the snuffling of an animal is just on the other side of the stove. Her muscles petrify. Her thoughts stutter. Her fingers constrict around the keys, but she almost drops them when, out of the corner of her eye, she sees a bear. It towers over her, standing on its hind legs, a mass of fur and flesh. The bear snorts as it looks down at her, then to the keys in her hand. Another snort, and it turns away onto all fours; the door crashes open, and the creature is gone into the night.

* * *

Days turn over into nights, and back into days. She remains in the hut, held captive by the perilous, preternatural habits of her host – but she has learned many things in this time.

She learns that as long as she doesn’t look, the pump will fill the basin unassisted. As long as a window is left open for the breeze to blow through, the clothing will clean itself. As long as she hides behind it, the stove will shelter her from the projectiles that go flying about in the dark. The mouse never reappears, but occasionally, in the late hours on the cusp of dawn, she hears the light patter of little feet and the whisper of an impossible voice. She leaves a tiny portion of food out for it every night, just in case, and every morning it is gone.

She knows the ritual of the keys by heart and can predict down to the hour when the time comes to brace for his nightly rages. Each rattle of iron is a crunch within his bones, and within hers. She listens to his transformative fury as the trance carries them both away, but she grips the keys as though they are a talisman, and the bear does not attack.

One lesson, however, is not so easy to swallow. Most nights, of course, they dine on whatever wild animal he hunted that day, be it rabbit, deer or elk. But not every night. On those nights, she clutches at justifications as she prepares their food, phrases like eat or be eaten, and all life feeds on death, and while her stomach does learn to agree with these sentiments, the heart holds out.

On these nights, to distract herself from her meal, she asks him questions; sometimes, he even answers them. This night, as they sit quietly together, appears to be one such blue moon: a time of luminous mysteries, when flowers bloom into fire, when well water turns to wine, and even animals can speak.

“What are you?”

He shrugs into his bowl. “The King of Bears.”

“Are there others like you?”

A pause. “Maybe,” he says, after a good long while. “Maybe not.”

She thinks of the bear that chased her right to the cabin door.

“If I wanted to,” she asks, “could I leave?”

Wild green eyes look up from his food and into hers. “Where would you go?”

She doesn’t know how to answer that question. But she thinks of you.

* * *

I only want to help you. This is a lie, but one she holds onto, repeating it over and over when she fears she might forget how much it hurt. A lie is only a story, after all, and stories are the easiest truths to change.

Her mother used to tell her stories every night before she disappeared, and after the disappearance, she told them to herself. She does this still, to pass the time, chanted in a whisper as she works: once upon a time as she washes the floors and scrubs the windows. There was a handsome prince as she splits logs for firewood. Who was cursed to change into a bear as new muscle forms under sun-kissed skin and the scabs in her hairline shift to scars.   

But there’s a part she stumbles over every time: and sometimes the bear was very hungry. She’s tried to broach the topic; she tries again when he gifts her a set of women’s clothing to replace her own. She takes the bundle of cloth and thanks him, but over dinner, she can ignore it no longer.

“It’s wrong to eat people, you know.”

“Why?”

“It just…is.”

“Bears hunt,” he says. No malice in his words – just the cruel impartiality of nature. He is a noble beast, after all.

She thinks of you, tries to imagine what you would say in her place. You would argue the point, for you are more daring than she is – but then, you are also ruthless.

But she quickly realizes speculation is a pointless endeavor; you wouldn’t have survived the first night. She saved the mouse some food, and in turn, it saved her life. You would sooner chase it from the kitchen than stoop to feed vermin.

The truth is this: she is here, and she is alive. She feeds the little creatures and tends the house of a beast. She has grown used to the flavor of human flesh. For once, she has you beat.

* * *

Nights turn back over into days again, and outside, their world remains unchanged; inside, she reclaims the cabin inch by inch. She rearranges his nest into a bed better fit for a king. She collects the more fragile bones from where he scatters them and strings them into alabaster wind chimes that spiral down from the interior ceiling and the eaves of the hut’s roof. The cobwebs are banished from the corners, and the thin windowpanes scrubbed clean. One night, he even allows her to take a comb through the wild tangles of his hair.

“Why did you come here?” he asks as they sit together on a spotless quilt. “Was it by free will or compulsion?”

“Compulsion,” she says, and tells him of the bear she met in the woods.

“Was it you?” she asks, when her tale is finished.

He is silent. She hums and continues to unpick knots. “But of course the bear is only the half of it. It was my step-sister first.”

A quiet grunt betrays his interest.

“My mother used to walk through the woods every day, until one day she never returned. Some people think she ran off with a handsome lumberjack,” she says, “but I know that’s a lie. So every year, on the day she disappeared, I retrace her path. I always hope I’ll learn something new.” Her hands pause in their work, and she reaches to unclasp her necklace. She shows it to him, a bright drop of blood in the cradle of her palm. “She had matching earrings that she wore every day. Perhaps I’ll find one, or a scrap of fabric. Anything would help.”

His touch is gentle against the precious stone. “And your sister?”

Step-sister,” she murmurs. “This year she asked to join me, said she wanted to help. It was very unlike her, but I thought perhaps she was trying to change.” Memories rise to the surface unbidden, and she blinks rapidly to ensure that none escape. “Well, she was trying to change something – so I suppose I learned a new thing after all.”

They sit in silence, her palm within his paw. The comb lays forgotten on her lap.

“I am glad you are here,” he says finally. “It is good your sister did not kill you.”

She scoffs. “Even better that the bear did not eat me.”

“Perhaps it wasn’t hungry,” he offers.

“Bears are always hungry.”

His giant hand covers her own, and he encloses her fingers around the stone. The other drifts up to her temple, fingers brushing over the scar.

“I will tell all the bears of the forest to never chase you or harm you again,” he says, “and they will listen and obey.”

She is already reaching for the keys. “Won’t you need to…,” but he stops her with a shake of his head.

“I can speak and understand the language of all creatures, even as a man,” he tells her, and walks out into the night with no fear.

* * *

The hut becomes her domain, tamed under her persistent hand, but the wider world – that is still his. She’s become wary of the woods in a way she never was before the incident with the cliff-side. The chase is still too vivid, her injuries too freshly won. The terror of that night has faded, but its pale ghost haunts her from the gaps in-between the trees when she’s alone. And perhaps he notices, for he begins to join her more and more outside while she works or naps in the shelter of the fern grove. It isn’t too long before they start venturing out together, farther and farther afield, as he teaches her the ways of the wild.

He shows her that to steal the skin of a rabbit, she must hold it by its back legs and start at the ankle. He knows the secret paths of the forest and guides her down them as he teaches her to track prey by snapped twig, by muddy hoof-print and tuft of fur. He tells her that while many creatures of the woods, bears included, can hunt their prey by nose and by ear, only man can track by sight.

The hidden dells of the forest are not left out from their lessons. He knows the flowers by name, and instructs her on which plants are restorative and which are baneful. They take to wandering through the meadows until it is yet another ritual they perform.

Today, they end up in a meadow filled with seas of cornflowers, each flower a burst of royal blue within the verdant field. No lessons for today;  instead, she rests in a patch of soft grasses while he alternates between chasing the voles and field mice, and stretching himself out next to her to laze in the sun. He sleeps like a bear, she realizes, on his back, belly exposed to the sky, arms and legs curled up into his torso. And what would it be like, she wonders idly, if he were lying beside her in that other form right now? She imagines how his sun-warm fur would feel against her fingertips. There are dandelion puffs all around them; she could pluck one up and use it to tickle his snout and whiskers in his sleep. Perhaps he would even let her ride on his back as they ambled through the tall, swaying grass.

This scenario could never happen, of course. She rarely sees him in his bear-skin. He dashes into the night as soon as the transformation is complete, and in the morning, he walks back into the cabin as a man. He’s never offered; she’s never asked. But the dream of that idyllic existence dogs her as they walk back to the hut, and while her hands prepare their food, her mind is enraptured by a world of possibility.

She mulls over her dilemma throughout dinner. By the time they are bedding down for the night, she is decided.

She knows him almost as well as she knows herself; only the stove remains a barrier between them. She has never dared to peek during the stamping and crashing. She has only seen man or beast – never both. But this night, the evening air is sharp with expectation, and she is ripe for change.

She begins the journeying as she always does, with the rattle of the keys, but this time she stands just outside the safety of the stove. The night wears on. She counts minutes by the metronome of cicadas, and when the last of them fall silent, by the movement of the moon. She begins to wonder if this night, of all nights, he will not change, but then – in the stillest moment of the most silent hour, he wakes with a roar and throws himself from the bed. Claws rip at clothing, and when the fabric is beyond repair, he stomps his feet until the roof trembles, threatening to give in on them both. She grips the keys tight and steps out to meet him. The first flying rock almost clips her, but she has grown fast and strong, and avoiding it is easy. He scoops up more stones in his furious trance, hurling them with each roar. Her eyes track the missiles in the dark, and they do not touch her.

The crashing stops. He continues to stamp his feet, but now convulsions join the furious dance, overtaking his entire body. The keys ring faster. In the flicker of firelight, the trappings of flesh fall away and he is bear, man, bear, man, bear. And then man again. The keys fall to the floor. He stares at her, as though she is an impossible vision, standing before him untouched in the center of the room. He takes a hesitant step towards her.

“Are you alive?”

“I am,” she answers, and they meet one another in the dark. His lips are chapped against hers, his palms calloused. His body is an oppressive weight and heat that wraps around her with unyielding force, but she pulls him closer. When they part, he surprises her with his tenderness, great hands cupping the sides of her face. She returns the gentle touches in kind. One hand cradles his cheek while the other reaches up to tuck his thick, wild mane behind his ear. And there, twinkling in the firelight, is her mother’s earring.

Her muscles petrify. Her thoughts stutter. She tries to reach for something she knows, once upon a time –

“What do you see?” he asks her.

A lovely country, with high mountains, deep rivers, impenetrable forests – a kingdom of bears. “Nothing,” she whispers.

He turns his head. “And here? What do you see?” The twin amber stud winks back at her.

A magnificent palace, filled with jewels and rarities, built for noble beasts. “I don’t know what you mean,” she says.

The glow of his eyes hold her in place. “You have a question,” he says. “Ask it, and I will give you an answer.”

“How do I know it won’t be a lie?”

“Lies are for the race of men,” he tells her, “and I am more than that.”

“No,” she spits, “You are nothing less than a man.”

He only waits, a patient predator.

“Did you love her?” she whispers.

“Yes,” he says.

Her anguish takes them both by surprise, clawing its way out of her lungs in a primal scream as her body seizes. She rakes her nails down his chest, lashes out against his restraining arms. An alien strength surges through her as she breaks away, howls changing into roars, and she rounds on him, snatching the keys back up. They rattle in time with her bones as she stamps her feet into the floor, and he does the same. She lunges at him and they roll, body over body, head over tail, her teeth snapping at his neck and his at her heart. The lust for blood consumes her as they clash, and they fight into the small of the night; when they finally break apart, the lust pulls them back together, and they fight again.

* * *

When she wakes, she is covered in blood, and mud, and many other things besides. There’s an ache in every bone and a gaping emptiness in her belly, so new and vital in its hurt. The soft warmth behind her seeps into her flesh, easing the minor pains, the weight of his arm over her hip a comfort, and a sentence. She knows he’s awake when the rumbling of his chest quiets to a purr, and he tugs her closer to his chest. She follows, pliant and willing.

Sunlight streams through the window, covering their bodies in a warm haze as she lies there thinking. Eventually, she squirms enough in his hold so that she can look up into his face.

“You can’t hunt people anymore,” she says, “that’s the one thing I will ask of you.”

He shakes his head. “Need to eat,” he says, and then eyes her, considering. “You do, too.” The ragged gnawing in her abdomen agrees.

“Only bad people, then,” she says. His brow furrows.

“Bad people?”

She’s not sure a man who spends more time as animal will understand, but she tries. “People who are cruel and greedy, who wouldn’t mind hurting someone if it got them what they wanted. People who love only themselves.”

His frown only deepens. She sighs. “Don’t worry,” she says, “this is something I can teach you.”

A gleam in his eye betrays his eagerness. “And where will we hunt these ‘bad’ people?” he asks. She pauses and almost says I don’t know. But that would be a lie, because this –

This is when she thinks of you.

“I have a step-sister,” she tells him. “Just to start us off.”

“The one who hurt you?” The rumble in his voice darkens into a low growl. “She is bad.”

She thinks of the last time she saw you smile, how quick and cruel a grin it was before it vanished itself into its secret den. Too fast a creature for her to catch – when she was wholly a girl.

She pets the bristly pelt of his chest and hums. “Yes,” she agrees, “very, very bad indeed.”

Loosely based on the Polish fairytale
“The Bear in the Forest Hut”

* * *

Gabrielle Roselynn Dina is a writer and actor living in Pennsylvania. She earned a B.A. in Drama at Hofstra University, and is currently working on a full-length play.

Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
For fantastical fiction, I tend to draw from my Polish heritage. There are so many fairy tales and legends from Poland that, while sounding similar to their more well-known western counterparts, have their own unique Slavic twist to them. My family has also passed down some spooky supernatural stories from the old country, as well as beliefs and customs for each season and holiday, so I often reach for those ideas nearest and dearest to my heart before I even realize it.

1 comments:

Marike said...

This is a wonderful. captivating, and gruesome story. I am delighted by it and also a bit horrified. Power, there is power in this story and its telling. Also the language is rich, rich, rich with imagery. Thank you.