The Stranger: Stepping Out

In the third story about the Stranger, a series of personal tragedies have devastated the Stranger. His own mate has left him. This he will not accept and so must undertake a perilous journey to get her back. On the way, he will be challenged by by many situation, some ugly and violent, There was also be major changes made to his life. This will cause much personal hurt and sorrow.

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11. Epilogue

 

He climbed the hill quickly, keeping his nose in the air in case there were unexpected guests. He smelled none. It was getting toward day, and the crisp cool air of the morning only hinted at the cold weather to come. The Man caves were empty, and the Men had vanished just before his rack fell off. The forest was at peace and would remain that way for now. Stena had wanted to come with him, but Balo in a rare show of authority told her no. If she was carrying Balo's child she would not visit an animal that could kill her in an instant.

“I thought I smelled you,” the bear called him from the side. He looked and saw the black shape among some berry bushes, no doubt getting in a last meal before his winter sleep. “I have not seen you since spring. I see you made it back from the other forest. I am glad to see you are still alive." The bear looked genuinely happy at his survival.

"Thank you," he said with a smile. “I have been away and busy,” he told the bear and walked over toward him. "It has been a long summer." With that he told the bear what had happened minus the problem with Claris having children. When he got to the part about his fight with Tarro, the bear seemed surprised.

“Funny, I normally do not think of you deer as being violent creatures, yet you and Bambi managed to kill three of your own kind. Wish I had been there to take care of the remains.”

"Sorry, but there were others who were there to do it quickly," he said. “I do not like to think of ourselves as violent, and we are not unless we are forced to be. Other than the fact we do not eat our kills, I suppose we are not much different than you bears in some respects.”

“True, we are all animals, just like Man,” the bear said.

“No,” he said empathically. “Your kind kills for food to live, I killed to protect my friends and their families, Man kill for sheer pleasure. There is a difference."

“In the end, the others are just as dead no matter what the reason,” the bear countered. “Did you ever think that Man needs this pleasure in the same way I need to feed and you need to protect your family?”

That comment took him back for a moment. He thought about it and shook his head. “I do not see why or how,” he answered. “Man does not need to feed on us to live, since he already has all the food he needs. With their killing sticks, neither of us are threats to Man or his families. The horse once told me it was because we are of no use to Man that he treats us this way. Those animals that serve him he takes care of. I am sorry, but I do not see how we can be of use to Man, and I do not see why we should be of use to Man. Would you and your kind serve Man?”

"My kind have never served anyone," the bear growled. "We live in the forest and the hills as we please. The idea of me eating a Man has come to me, but I have never had the chance."

"Well that is certainly something we deer cannot do," he said. "I just do not understands Man's need to kill us."

“Perhaps there are other needs we are not aware of,” the bear suggested to him and started walking up the hill toward his den.

“Then I wish I understood what they were,” he said walking with the bear.

“So what will you do now?” the bear asked.

“I am going to see Stabo, again” he told him. “I will try and talk to him some more. Balo and Stena now accept Carie as my mate. I need to convince him of the same.”

“Good luck on that,” the bear said. “He strikes me as being as about as stubborn as his father.”

He chuckled, ”Yes father and son are alike in many ways."

“What of Claris?” the bear asked. “Will you keep her?”

There was no hesitation with that answer. “Yes, because I still care for her, and I think I always will. Carie will make my children, but I will always feel on the inside for Claris.”

“That is the one thing I do envy about you deer,” the bear said. “You can feel strongly toward your mates. We do not and mostly live our lives alone.”

“Did you mate with the same female this year?” he wanted to know.

“No,” the bear said flatly. “I could not find her, her cubs, nor could I find one of the younger males in the forest over this hill. I do not know where they went. Man was not in our forest, so I do not think they were killed. I did find a younger female and after I drove off a young male, I mated with her. Funny, I do not even remember her name.”

In a way he was sorry for the bear. How could you mate and make children with someone and not even know their name? Even the doe he bred before coming to this forest he knew and he knew they did not want anything to do with them after The Season. When he thought about it, what was really the difference. Both he and the bear obeyed the feelings of their Seasons and then went on with their lives. He decided to change the subject.

 “I suppose you will be going into your den for your long sleep?” he said.

“Yes, I feed the urge to sleep,” the bear said. “I will be back in the spring. By then your new mate should have her fawn. “

“I hope it is a son,” he said.

“To follow you in case something happens to you and Balo?” the bear say eying him.

“Of course,” he said with a shrug. “It can be anyone of us lying dead in that meadow next time. Someone has to carry on after we are gone.”

“All the more reason to enjoy life while we can,” the bear added.

“For as long as it lasts,” he said.

The End

For Now

 

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