Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Bears of Cougar Mountain

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The graveled road to the cabin lay at the end of the broken down road. Jim put on his blinker.

"Really, Jim? No one is on the road," his girlfriend, Cara, said.

"Habit," Jim replied.

"This weekend is going to be fucking awesome," Rick, Jim’s cousin, said from the backseat and already stoned.

"How did you find this place?" Madison asked as she put her hand on Rick’s leg and smiled.

Jim made the turn on the private drive. Thick hemlock and gnarled oak and maple clamored against the road. For 9:00 a.m., it was dark under the tree canopy. It almost had a supernatural feel. Rick was sure Jason would be standing in the middle of the road, wielding a chainsaw.

Jim answered, "it was cheap. Some guy inherited this place from his uncle or whatever. He tried selling it and no one would buy it. If I like it, I am putting in an offer. It might be a great place to take the kids."

"Kids? Cara, you’re having a baby?" Madison squealed.

Jim met Madison’s gaze in the rearview mirror and winked.

"We weren’t going to say anything until the first trimester was over. But, I guess good news couldn’t wait," Cara answered.

"That’s what I am talking about. You can Cara have been together for how long and you are still getting ass," Rick said and let out a loud whoop.

The gravel road gave way to dirt and the trees were more dense. At the end of the road, there was a weathered wood fence. Jim got out and opened the gate. Cara scooted over and moved the car through the opening. Jim closed the gate again. The massive cabin was just ahead. Trees were cleared just enough around the cabin. It had dark wood siding with large pane windows. There was a covered porch with sweet Adirondack chairs. Cara parked the car.

"Wow, this doesn’t look like a cabin at all," Madison said.

"The guy told me that his relative used to bring his buddies up here or whatever. Wait until you see the inside. The guy said everything is included, even the furniture."

Jim grabbed Cara’s hand and Madison and Rick followed behind them. Jim unlocked the door and turned on the light. The main room was massive with several couches to the right of the front door with a large stone fire place against the wall. A wood coffee table sat in the middle of the seating area. The floors were covered with orient area rugs. To the left was the staircase and behind the living room was an equally large kitchen.

Jim led them through the living room, "there is a bathroom down here and there are two upstairs." There was a back door which led to a large deck and came with a grill and more chairs.

Jim went upstairs, "there are four bedrooms. You can pick which one you want, except for this one, this is mine and Cara’s."

Jim opened the door to the master bedroom and there was a log bed frame with a large mattress. There were two large windows against the wall and opposite the door. There was a bathroom in the corner. Rick grabbed Madison’s hand and found a room down the hall. Madison squealed as the bed squeaked under their joint weight.

"Give us a minute, Jimbo. I got to get to me some of this sweet pussy," Rick yelled from his bedroom.

"Rick," Madison giggled.

Jim looked at Cara and moved the hair away from her eyes, "I love you, Cara."

"I love you, Jim."

"Any second thoughts?" Jim asked her.

Cara searched his eyes, "none what so ever. Will it work?"

"You’ve seen it, Cara, it will work." Rick kissed her.

They left the door open and went downstairs to empty the car.

It was noon, Cara was in the kitchen making the hamburgers while Jim was out on the deck starting the grill. She had the radio on. Rick came down and slapped her ass.

"Damn Rick, you are such a dick," she said half annoyed. She used to find him funny and charming but that was in college. Now was different.

"Cara, you grew up to be such a tight wad. I would say tight ass, but you already had that," he whispered in her ear.

"And you never grew up," Cara said.

"When you and Jimbo start popping out them kids and making a nice little home, you will want me again. And as long as you look as you good as you do now, I will be more than happy to make you wild in my bed."

Madison came down the stairs and kissed Rick on the neck, "aren’t you supposed to be at the grill?"

Rick grabbed a beer and went outside. Madison pulled up a stool, "you want me to do anything?"

"No, I am almost done," Cara said.

"So you and Jim getting married?" Madison asked.

"We’ve talked about it. We just didn’t make it official."

Madison threw her arms around her, "I love you Cara and I am so happy for you."

"Mads, I want you to know that when we get married, you will be my maid of honor," Cara said.

She smiled and hugged her harder, "really, Care? So you forgive me?"

"You are my best friend, of course I forgive you," Cara said.

"I wish you knew how sorry I am about everything. We make a great team."

"Made a great team, Mads but my life has changed and so has yours," Cara said.

"I know but it was business, Cara, just business. I would never do anything to hurt you."

"I know. That’s why you and Rick are with us this weekend. I don’t think I can have kids and get married without you in my life," Cara said and formed the last hamburger patty.

Madison flashed her a smile and grabbed a beer and went out to join the men. Madison and Cara started a small advertising firm right after college with Madison’s father investing heavily into their venture. After the first year, they started turning profit. Madison’s father gave her the business under one condition, Cara had to go. So Madison swooped in with a couple of boxes and started throwing Cara’s stuff in the boxes. She said, "Daddy, said you’re out. It’s just business." Cara and Madison’s father were friendly with each other but Cara couldn’t understand why this was happening. Then as Cara drank herself into oblivion, Jim told her that he and Madison had an affair. He wanted to end it and Madison wanted him to end with Cara. Cara knew they had a thing, it bothered her but they always had a thing. That’s how they all started hanging out.

In college, Rick and Cara were together fucking each other like crazy. Then Cara met Jim and something changed. The air around them changed. Within a month, Jim and Cara were seeing each other in secret then they broke it off with Rick and Madison. They switched partners and Cara found her soul mate and she knew Jim felt the same but Madison was his weakness as she was his first love and his first sexual girlfriend. Madison was someone Cara never met and it was easy to be friends with her. She and Rick were big personalities, lived big and took chances. Both were a force to be reckoned with. Cara and Madison were well matched as friends. And for the rest of college, it was always the four of them. Even after college, they were so close until the bad year. Madison called Cara every day but she didn’t give in, until recent. This weekend was Jim’s idea and Cara jumped on board after she heard the plan and saw the plan in action.

"Cara, the grill’s ready," Jim yelled. She washed her hands and grabbed a coke from the fridge and came out with the burgers. Rick and Madison smoked a joint and drank. 

"You know that shit will kill you," Cara said and gave Jim the plate.

"Shit Care, it’s called having a good time," Rick said.

"Well one day your going to wake up stupid," Cara said.

Madison laughed, "wake up stupid. Cara that is the stupidest thing you ever said."

After lunch they went to the small creek that moseyed behind the cabin. The ladies sat in inner tubes as the guys splashed around the water. Cara got out and sat in the sun. Her skin exploded with goose bumps. Madison jumped into the water when Rick came behind her and ripped off her bikini top. She laughed and splashed at both Rick and Jim. She came up on shore without her top and flopped on the towel.

"You should take your top off, too, Cara. You know how good it feels to be naked."

Cara undid her top and it fell between her legs. The men hooted from the water.

"Just think, your boobs are going to be huge," Madison said.

"Cheaper than a boob job," Cara said.

"Then you will have everything, Cara," Madison said.

Not everything Cara thought.

"You have a good life, Mads," Cara said.

"Yeah it’s okay," she replied and laid down.

Rick and Jim came up from the water. Jim grabbed a towel and wrapped it around him and then embraced Cara. She snuggled deep into his chest. Rick pounced on Madison.

"Not now, Rick," she said and shoved him off.

The sun started to set but it was already mostly dark in the woods as they made their way up to the house. Jim and Madison sat on the deck smoking cigarettes and drinking beer. Cara prepared the shrimp for the grill. Jim winked at her, went into the basement and brought up a wooden box that had an old book and a bunch of wooden bears inside. Cara saw the box and her heart skipped a beat. Jim placed the book and the bears on the table and started a fire in the stone fireplace.

Cara came out and placed the grill basket on the grill. Jim came out, "you would not believe what I found in the basement. It looks like some kind of game; we will have to check it out after dinner."

"What kind of game?" Rick asked.

"I don’t know it looks old," Jim answered. "But it looks fucking awesome."

Jim got up and lit the Tiki torches on the deck as Cara put out the dinner.

"So you want to hear the story the guy told me about this place?" Jim said in between mouthfuls of shrimp.

"Is it haunted?" Madison asked.

"Not exactly, Jackson is the name of the guy who wants to sell this place. Anyway, Jackson told me one of the reasons he couldn’t sell this place was because this place was supposed to be the site an ancient Indian ritual ground."

"Half this country is some kind of Indian burial ground or spiritual place, it is all bull shit," Rick said.

Madison pushed him slightly, "tell the story Jim."

"Well anyway, it was said when the shamans could do this magic where the bears would listen to his every command. The white people covered this stuff up, it couldn’t get out that some shaman would use bears to kill people but Jackson said this place has been in his family since the time of the Indians. Sometimes, people would come here and they wouldn’t come back because a bear would kill him. Jackson told me he knew of four deaths that happened up here because of bear attacks. He believes that old shaman’s spirt lives in these woods and he takes blood when he sees fit," Jim said and guzzled his beer.

Rick burst out laughing, "wow, that is so fucking hilarious. Shaman spirits, killer bears. What probably happens is that a drunk ass dip shit went outside and fucked with a bear and then the bear attacked him."

"Well that’s why he can’t sell it. It has history you know how some people get when they hear that stuff. If I buy this place, I get 25 acres around the cabin and part of the creek. He said he would sell it to me for ten thousand dollars, which is dirt cheap."

"So you brought us up here to make sure it was safe?" Madison asked half joking.

"Come on it is bull shit. I don’t plan on roaming the woods in the night that is just plain stupid," Rick said and lit another joint.

"What about you Cara, what do you think?" Madison asked.

"You know me, I don’t believe anything until I see it with my own eyes."

The foursome settled in the living room around the wooden table. Jim added more wood and the fire blazed. Jim opened the box and took out the bears and set them in a circle on the table.

Rick picked up a bear and made growling noises then he put back in the circle.

"You know this reminds me of the Evil Dead," Rick said as he groped Madison’s breast.

Jim pulled out the book, "I thought it was a game. There also is an Ouija board and Monopoly. I brought them up and put them in the kitchen. I just thought this would be a cool game."

"So is it a game?" Madison asked.

Jim opened the book, "let me see. I can’t read the words."

"Maybe it is some magic book, maybe it’s that shaman’s book," Madison said. "Read it Jim!"

Jim looked at Cara and she smiled, "yes Jim, read it."

He cleared his throat and muddled through the pronunciations, "Bears nan Cougar Mountain tande vwa mwen. Vini jwenn mwen aswè a epi pran pwi san ou. Ou pral pran Madison McDonald ak Rick Anderson epi kite nanm yo rete nan Woods yo. Kado sa a se pou ou, pou forè a. Pran nanm yo ak san yo. Mwen di ou mèsi pou sa ou bay. Pran yo kounye a."

Madison laughed, "What the hell was that?"

"Obviously mumbo jumbo, who wants to play Monopoly?" Jim asked. He knew what he said. Jackson helped him with the translation. He said bears of Cougar Mountain hear my voice. Come to me tonight and take your blood prize. You will take Madison McDonald and Rick Anderson and let their souls remain in the woods. This gift is for you, for the forest. Take their souls and their blood. I thank you for what you provide. Take them now.
"Monopoly? Come on buddy leave that for the kiddies. Poker," Rick said.

Cara grabbed the cards and brought in bottles of whiskey. Jim shuffled the cards. They played two hands of poker, when deep and thunderous roars resounded off the walls. Madison dropped her glass on the floor.

"What was that?" Madison asked and quivered.

"I don’t know," Jim said. He stood up and looked out the window. He saw dark shapes creep to the edge of the property. The bears had come.

"You guys are not going to believe this," Jim said. The others came to the window. And they saw dozens of black bears walking in circles around the cabin. They stood on their legs at the same time and roared. Madison screamed.

"Fuck Jim that was real. What the fuck are we going to do?" Madison screamed.

"No, baby, it’s bad weed," Rick reasoned with her.

"I’m not smoking and I see them, Rick. What are we going to do, Jim?" Cara said.

"Just wait until morning. They should be gone, right?" he answered.

"There’s no way this is possible," Cara said. "We have to get out of here. If they are doing this then who is to say they won’t attack us?"

Jim came over and hugged Cara and then kissed her head, "you’re right. We got to go. We just need someone to open the gate."

"We can just drive right through the gate. You can fix your fucking car," Rick yelled as the bears roared again.

"Are there any guns, Jim?" Madison asked.

"No, I didn’t see any," Jim said.

The bear circle moved closer to the house. Madison and Rick quivered on the couch. Cara sat opposite them. Jim stayed at the window. The bears roared and roared they were moving closer.

Rick pulled out his cell phone, "fuck there is no signal. Baby, try yours."

Madison took hers out and shook her head.

"Jim, maybe we should call animal control," Cara suggested.

"How the fuck can you sit there so calm?" Madison snapped.

"What else am I going to do?"

"There should be a phone in the kitchen, I don’t know if it works," Jim said.

Cara stood up and walked to the kitchen. There were bears on the deck looking at her. Her legs rattled but she had to keep it together. The bears let a mighty roar and started to paw the windows and the door on the back porch. They were pawing the sides of the cabin and clawing at the windows. Madison and Rick screamed and ran upstairs. The door slammed. Cara picked up the phone and set it back down. She went over to Jim,

"Now what?" she whispered.

"I have a plan," Jim answered. He started muttering the strange language once again.

Jackson Crass was a partner at the firm. And he was one of those people that Jim just clicked with right away. In a way, he was kind of like Rick but he was mature and grown up. Jackson was slowly becoming his new best friend. When Jim failed Cara and started sleeping with Madison once again, he consulted Jackson for advice. Jackson, was a good man with a good wife and family and Jim wanted that with Cara and only Cara. Madison was a stupid mistake. Jackson told him about his family’s cabin and the power that it contained. He said him and Cara could use it make things right. See, Madison never changed her will and if anything were to happen to her, Cara would get the business. It was all legal eagle. Jackson suggested Jim get a policy on Rick because Jim had too much debt from college and law school. And why not, Rick was once his pal but he couldn’t get over Cara. He trusted Cara but not Rick. He always went too far.

Jackson brought Cara and Jim for the weekend with Jackson’s wife. He showed them the bears. Jackson’s wife, already saw the bears and was not impressed. Jackson made the bears dance and put on a show. Jim only told part of the story about the shaman and Jackson’s family to Madison and Rick. The truth was Jackson’s great great grandpa stepped in front of a bullet that was meant to kill the old shaman for his bear trick. The shaman was grateful and not only did he save great great grandpa’s life but gave him the secret of the bears. This secret was passed down through the generations.

Several minutes later, the bears roared once more and retreated into the forest. But Jim knew they were still there. He had to get Madison and Rick outside.

"Maddie, Rick, the bears, they are gone, this our chance to get the fuck out of here," Jim yelled at the top of the stairs."

"Really, Jim?" Madison asked.

"Come on, we better go. The car is about ten feet away and unlocked," Jim said.

He heard their footsteps shuffle upstairs and then down.

Cara went over and kissed Jim, "if we don’t make it through, I just want to tell you how much I love you."

Jim held her chin and looked into her eyes, he smiled with them, "we are all going to make it. If I die honey, you go and get to safety"

Jim swung open the door and the others followed behind him. Once on the porch, Rick broke free from the pack and started to run to the car. Madison followed. Two bears rushed from the right and tackled Rick down. He screamed. Madison shrieked and started back to the porch, but two other bears came from the side of the house and attacked. Other bears came and roared as they pawed at the two former friends. Their muffled screams fell silent as the bears continued to rip at their flesh and eat it. Jim and Cara sat in the chairs and just watched.

Was it minutes or mere seconds? Cara didn’t know and she didn’t care. Jim stood up and spoke them, "thank you, bears of cougar mountain." Slowly the bears turned and looked at Jim and bowed their heads ever so slightly and retreated back into the forest just as day break seeped in overhead.

"I guess we better call someone," Jim said.

Their bodies lay half eaten with blood pooling around them.

"Are you sad?" Jim asked after several moments of silence.

"I am working on it. I am trying to be a wreck. I never thought this would be the hardest part," Cara said and forced herself to cry by thinking of when her grandmother died.

"He was my cousin and he will be missed," Jim said nonchalantly.

More tears sprung from Cara’s eyes, "better make that call before the tears dry up."

Jim grabbed her hand and they went inside and called the sheriff and the ambulance. Their dear friends were attacked by bears. They just wanted to have a little fun. Cara and Jim were in their room when they heard Madison and Rick scream; there was nothing they could do. It was too late. That’s what they told the sheriff in between tears and hysterics, of course. The remains were zipped up and carted away like road kill. The sheriff offered his condolences and said, "God damn bears, hunting season should be extended and this shit wouldn’t happen. There are too many bears around these parts. Such a sad thing to see young people killed this way."

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