Father Bear


I watch her from afar, this strange and upright thing, this narrow pale child.

She moves through my woods as if she doesn’t have a care, as if she cannot see all that hovers above and in the shadows—black owls that catch my eye when I hunt, grey wolves that know better than to show their faces when I walk the woods.

What it must be like not to sense the fear of the prey, not to smell the fresh blood that follows. Perhaps she does, but doesn’t show it. Either a fool or something to be feared. Not sure yet.

She always comes back. Such a fragile thing, limbs too long and easy to pull apart. Hair tumbling down from atop her head, too long to be useful, not thick enough to be warm. How can something live like this? Certainly so cold, hobbling about on spindly legs. Her belly should be low to the ground, like mine. Then perhaps she’d last longer. But somehow, she always comes back.

V.N. Martin has been writing about dark things since she was a wee girl. Her first story was about poisoning people. She was five at the time. It really hasn't gotten much lighter than that. You wouldn't know by looking at her.