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Mama Bear

Elizabeth George, Writer

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The floor was white and the sky was gray. Henry looked through the muted colors in search of his brother, Levi. He glanced to his left, towards the Henderson’s basketball hoop, and saw an orange orb make contact with a crochet net. Levi was playing basketball.

“Get out of their yard, Idiot!” Levi continued to run about the Henderson’s driveway. He quickly covered his mouth in regret after seeing their mailman make slow hesitant strides down their sidewalk.

“Hi Mr. Bradley!” Shouted Levi.

“Are you listening to your brother Kiddo?” Levi shied away. “I suspected.” Mr. Bradley took off his cap and ran his hands through his dark colored hair.

“Can I touch your hair?” asked Levi, who was currently concerned with wiping his glasses.

“Be quiet!” Henry scolded him. Both of our cheeks became hot.

“Give this to your mother for me.” The boys giggled out of anticipation. He handed them a package of medium proportion.

“It’s from Aunt Vivian!” Henry shouted. Levi didn’t mind him though; he was focused on Mr. Bradley’s continuous flow and movement of hair. “I bet it’s a Lego Star Wars set, she said she was gonna send us one last Thanksgiving!”  He was becoming increasingly excited. The mailman’s hair looked so soft. “Or maybe it’s a Kitchen set, you wanted one right?” The younger boy bended his knees and jumped up soon after. He reached for Mr. Bradley’s head and missed by a ‘hair’. On his descend back to the snow, he fell into Mr. Bradley’s side but thankfully he only stumbled on his feet and quickly regained balance.

Levi fell onto the carpet of snow: “I’m sorry I’m sorry!” he started wailing. The mailman was slightly disoriented but understood that the he was upset.

“It’s okay, no sweat off my back.” He patted Levi on the back. “I should probably get going, anyway. I expect to hear about what’s in that package tomorrow.”

“Are you gonna… stop by Mister… Bradley?” Levi asked in between sobs.

“Of course he is, he has to.” Henry criticized Levi causing him to choke back his cries and sniffle.

“Goodbye Boys.” He walked towards the Ortiz’s mailbox with a single white letter and placed it inside. He continued this with the Jenkins’s, the Brown’s and the Tao’s homes until he was no longer on Hunter lane.

“I just wanted to feel his hair.” Levi was coy.

“You can’t do things like that!” Levi blew his nose into his shirt. “Ew! That’s disgusting!”

“I didn’t have a tissue!”

Henry sighed and rolled his eyes. “C’mon… let’s go inside.” Levi wiped his hands on his jeans and took three small steps before the sound of a loud clash of metal erupted. He had fallen.

“What was that sound?” Henry’s expression shifted to one side. “Are you okay?”

He tried to get back up but one leg was caught on something silver and tong-like. “My leg is stuck!” Henry walked around Levi to inspect his foot. He cleared some snow and beneath it was a rusty silver contraption with thick separated teeth; the teeth had a grasp on the edge of his pants. Henry tried to pull his leg out but it wouldn’t budge.

“Hold still, I’m gonna go get mom!” Levi started crying again. Henry ran up to the front porch carefully placing his feet as to avoid another accident. He swung open his front door and ran straight to the kitchen; their mother routinely gets started on dinner early in the evening after picking the boys up from school.

“Mommy!” His mother’s back was facing him while she was washing potatoes at the kitchen sink.

“What Sweetheart?” She grabbed the peeler.

“We found something outside and Levi is stuck!”

She turned around looking only mildly concerned. “What did you find?”

“I don’t know but its pointy.” Angela Stuart’s typically dull face sharpened. She didn’t say anything and just ran towards the front door.

Levi was on his bottom with his arms wrapped around his knees; his face was red.

Their mother was at Levi’s feet with four large strides. “Are you okay Honey?” She seemed relieved at the sight of him; probably happy he wasn’t bleeding. She met his face with hers. They had the same dark pin straight hair and freckled noses. “Oh my God!”

“You’re not supposed to say the lord’s name in vain Mommy.” Levi uttered. Ms. Stuart ignored him.

“Henry sweetie go get me some scissors.” He did. She spoke in a slow manner as to soothe her frustrations. She didn’t want to scare the boys in light of the evidently horrific presence of a bear trap on her front lawn where her children play.

They lived near the Oregon coast where bear sightings aren’t one in a million. Ms. Stuart wondered if the trap’s location was a matter of mere irresponsible disposal or malicious in nature. This didn’t make sense: she had not had any run-ins with enemies during her time in the neighborhood.

“Here Mom!” Henry placed scissors in her hand, sharp side down, like she had taught him. She cut the bottom half of Levi’s pants and freed his leg. She thanked God how lucky she was that his pants were the only fatality. She quickly grabbed the trap and ushered the boys in side; Henry didn’t forget the package.

Once inside she threw the trap in here bedroom closet to get it as far away from her children as she could manage without tampering potential evidence. “Go play in the living room, I’ve gotta make some calls”. They cooperated while Ms. Stuart pulled out a relatively old phone book from her ottoman storage, hoping she might find their constable’s number.

“I wanna open the package…” Henry’s tongue danced on the roof of his mouth.

“Mr. Bradley said to give it to Mommy.”

“It’s from Aunt Vivian, she always sends us toys. Mom won’t care.” Henry used the same scissors that freed Levi to cut the taped brown box.

Meanwhile, Ms. Stuart was dialing. She would tune out the boy’s ever so often but she listened in on their discussion of a package:

“Give it to me, you get the smaller one!”

“Why do I get the smaller one?” Levi protested.

“Because you’re a baby…”

“I am not a baby!”

“Then stop crying!”

“Shutup!”

They have been told countless times not to use hateful language like ‘shutup’: “Hey! I heard that!”

“Sorry Mom” Levi and Henry shouted in unison.

“I want the big gun Henry!” Angela quickly got on her feet at the sound of that. They were playing with Nerf Guns. She exhaled thankful for the sight of orange plastic. She was on nerve.

“I’m not a bad mom” she cooed quietly. That night she dreamt horrific dreams: images of Henry and Levi shooting each other bloody. She woke up in a sweat on the line “I love you Brother.” from Levi. She couldn’t fall back asleep. Not with her questions unanswered.

She grabbed her stationery from her side table and wrote:

“If my son’s are hurt, you will be sorry. Tuesday evening my boys, Henry and Levi, at the young ages of 6 and 3, were playing. Levi stepped on a bear trap and miraculously wasn’t subjected to even a scratch. I’m not sure why the trap was in my yard or if there were any malicious intentions behind it. The constable’s have already been informed. Just know, you are lucky. If my son’s lives are put in danger again, I will do what I have to do to protect my cubs.”

She was a journalist who worked for the local newspaper. She hoped that her publisher would let her post her “announcement”.

This didn’t make her feel better. She knew from that point forward she would have to keep an eye on everything her son’s did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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