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Memories of Lori Part 7: Grizzly Luck

 
Lance Striker's picture
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                                                             10:15 May 13th 2144

                                        Kaibab National Forest



 

Striker woke with the sun blinding him as it broke against the leaves overhead. It was quiet in camp save

for the gentle crackle of a fresh fire and the birdsong. He wondered at the time, though judging from the

damp patch of drool on his chest he figured Lori hadn't long left his side. Rolling out of his hammock, he

dropped to the ground with a groan and stumbled over to the fire.

 

A pan of water was boiling furiously, unattended on a flat stone by the edge of the ashes. He looked around

for any sign of the absent Lori but was found wanting. His thoughts flashed back to the previous night – she'd

been growing more attentive of him over a period of months. Something in his mind was...wrong. He was always

reluctant to speak of his inner demons, but Lori had a knack for persistence and, when all was said and done, she

was his best friend – perhaps the only one he had. Mnemonic immortality was a crushing burden, the collar a

symbolic reflection of his nature. Perhaps not him, but a version of him, would one day see Lori grow old and

disappear along with everything else he had ever known. He began to drown in his fears and memories, an

indescribable sensation of splitting apart washed over him.

 

Water rushed over the lip, pouring down the sides and hissing as it hit the ash. Striker looked up, the boiling

pan pulled him from his thoughts. He rushed over to it, pulled it from the fire and set it down on the forest floor.

Instantly the water had calmed, and so had he, wiping away the tears he didn't remember crying from his eyes.

It wasn't unlike Lori to be forgetful of things, but he began to worry at her absence. He grabbed his rifle, threw

the strap over his shoulder and began searching for her tiny footprints in the soil.


                                                                                  ***

 

Lori was humming happily to herself, gathering edibles in the tall grass by the small pond a few hundred meters

from camp. Rare were the moments when she didn't have at least half a mind on her next meal. Into the pouch

went more mushrooms, awaiting their doom inside the ravenous beast that was Lori. Her next prize was a wild

carrot, a treasure hidden within the roots of the Daucus Carota plant – well loved by Vista for its aid in helping

other species grow. Its method for doing this had Lori transfixed and grinning as a butterfly settled on another

plant nearby. She whispered to it enthusiastically.

 

   “Hi, Mister Butterfly. You hungry too?”

 

   “Oh yes indeed,” She replied to herself in an imitation of a gruff man's voice, “I am always hungry.”

 

   “Me too! Perhaps I am a hungry caterpillar, waiting for my wings.”

 

   “Yes, you should spend more time eating and napping.”

 

   “You are soooooo right, Mister Butterfly, but it's my turn to gather food this morning because Striker needs to nap.”

 

Striker! She'd forgotten about the tea. She popped the muddy root into her pouch, stood up and realised she'd gotten

lost. Stay calm, she said to herself. All she had to do was follow the water back to the spring. The grass made it difficult

to follow the source of the water, she splashed through shallows with absent mind and a childish glee. Eventually she

had found a stream of water moving in the right direction and began to trace a course back. This deep into the forest, she

was not the only one searching for water; the huffing question of a large brown bear stopped her dead in her tracks.

It stared at her, sniffing at the air. Lori backed away slowly but the beast strode confidently towards her. She had left

her rifle in camp and now, in her mind, the only option was diplomacy.

 

   “H-hello, Mister Bear. You really need to not be here.”

 

The bear began to move towards her but stopped when Lori tripped and fell on a tree root.

 

   “Ow! Go away please. Go on, shoo!”

 

She waved her arms, wishing the bear away. In defiance, it rose on its back legs and roared at her. Lori had never been

eaten by a bear before, and despite her eagerness to try new things, she was not much looking forward to it. The bear

came at her again, growling in anticipation of an easy meal. Lori hadn't really had time to adjust to the situation, her only

thoughts were the shame of her hands being muddy from digging up the carrot. In consideration for the bear's

tastebuds, she jammed her hands in her pockets. There, in those now-muddy, receptacles was a beacon of hope – a weapon

with which no living creature, at least in Lori's mind, could stand against. The granola bar Striker had given her. She grinned

confidently, throwing the bar square at the bear's nose. It stopped with a growl, momentarily distracted. Lori quickly rose to

her feet, ready to flee, but to her horror, the bear raced towards her, ready to strike. All she could do was watch and wait for the end.

 

Lori lay back motionless against the nearby tree, blood danced in the air as the bear fell at her feet to the deafening snap

of two bullets. It writhed on the ground, crying out in pain. Lori had gone as white as the ghost she'd resigned herself to

while another burst of bullets sunk into the bear's flesh, ending its misery.

 

   “Lori! Jesus fucking Christ, Lori. Are you all right!?”

 

Striker came sprinting through the trees towards her. She just stood, staring at the bear. He grabbed hold of her, patting

her down looking for any injuries.

 

   “Talk to me, Lori.”

 

She pushed past him, walking calmly over to the granola bar and picked it up, looking at it intensely.

 

   “That was lucky.” She said quietly. Striker let out a heavy sigh of relief.

 

   “You're telling me. What have I told you about wandering off? Where's your gun?”

 

   “Oh...I must've left it in camp...”

 

   “Right...come on. We gotta get outta here, those shots could've been heard for miles around.”

 

Lori nodded, putting the bar back in her pocket with a giggle. The pair ran with pace back to the camp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

Joe Spivey's picture

"Lori had never been eaten by a bear before, and despite her eagerness to try new things, she was not much looking forward to it. " That is a brilliant line!

I have often wondered about the psycological effects of a prolonged life... maybe that's why sanity, or the lack of it, is often part of my characters' make ups.

Stick with me kid and you'll be farting through silk.

Lance Striker's picture

That's definitely what drew me to the game in the first place. So much to explore in that contrast of worlds.

Lonely are the brave...

Canni Belle's picture

((That reminded me of when Canni threw herself into the gaping jaws of an Earthwalker, I somehow feel that was less painful then being eaten by a bear though 

One minute your calm, the next your shooting someone in the face, then your doing your chickendance. If that is not chaos I dont know what is - Aiid



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