Benjamin Percy, "When the Bear Came"

A man pits himself against a bear that terrorizes a small town.

(from American Short Fiction, Summer 2007)

My father taught me how to kill things. How to break apart a rifle and run a brush through its cavities. How to fire a bullet uphill and down. How to rub bitterbrush all over my clothes to camouflage my scent. All sort of hairy information I tucked away in my mind like socks in a drawer.

Hell yes. This is sort of a monster story, except I’m not gonna sit here and villify the bear, it’s just being a bear. No, it’s sort of like the old sci-fi movies: But who is the reeeeal monster in this story? Awesome. This could be some alternate reality Pinckney Benedict story, where the world at first seems to be only as small as a tiny, rural town but turns out to be even smaller, with just a guy and a beast.

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