Fear will consume you.
| Victoria comes into the kitchen and tells her husband, "There's a black bear and two cubs living under the front porch."
"What?" Buck replies, dropping the bread from his hands.
It was a dark, dark afternoon. The rain was pouring heavily, the winds were screaming, and the moon hid its face behind the gray. Buck went out the front door, wearing his coat and held an oil lantern in his hand. Buck was an old man, and he spent his days at home. Sometimes he would imagine things that weren't really there. Buck stared straight unto the forest, but the rain made it hard to see very well. He walked carefully and quietly, refuting the wooden floor to squeak. He made his way gently down the porch stairs and stretched his arm to illuminate the dark crevice under the front porch. He stretched his wet hand farther to illuminate them, the rain and wind swaying his vision. He could barely make out the outlines but he was sure he saw them. There were three of them as his wife said: one mother and two cubs.
Indeed, he could see them. And fear started to well up inside him. But--something was off. They weren't moving at all, not a muscle to signal they were breathing. Buck was suspicious, so he jerked forward and illuminated the whole crevice.
The bears were dead. They were dead for about two to three days, he figured. Yet even though the bears weren't a threat anymore, Buck had never been more afraid. The bears had deep and large scratches across their backs, even the little ones.
"Dear god . . . he exclaimed. "Something--there must have been something that did this. Something big."
Suddenly, Buck heard something snap. He turned to look; he glanced at all directions. But with this downpour, he couldn't tell where it came from. Buck started to feel paranoid and glanced everywhere. And there--he saw it. In the midst of the nearby forest, a shadow lurked. Even with the rain and wind, Buck couldn't take his eyes off of it. It seemed to stare back at him, clutching his very soul as if to steal it. Buck's heart raced. He felt true terror.
Victoria patiently waited. She watched as the fire sparkled and cracked, dancing over the wood. She heard the door open, the wind cried with it.
"Buck . . ." she started. "Did you see them?"
Buck's expression was of a blank face, with a firm stare.
"Buck? What's wrong?" she asked.
Buck couldn't utter anything. His voice couldn't find the words. Victoria took a dry towel and wrapped it around the freezing husband. After a few minutes, she asked him again softly, "Buck? What happened? And what of the bears?"
Then, in surprise, he opened his mouth, "The bears---the bears--- dead."
"The bears are dead? My god, this downpour is merciless."
"No---no. Not the rain." He explained.
'Not the rain? Then what could have killed them?" she asked, her expression starting to slowly turn identical to his.
"Something--something big. . . S--saw something--in the woods." he shivered each word out as if it was the hardest thing to do. Victoria leaned closer and embraced him in his arms, her eyes looked into his.
"Buck. . . what did you see?"
His expression went dark. He felt as if the shadow was hiding somewhere, watching him from afar. He glanced at his side, then behind, then down to his feet. He placed his hands upon his mouth and breathed unto them. He was incredibly afraid. He was so afraid. Victoria just clasped onto him and tried to comfort him from his fears. The warmth all around had calmed him, soothed him. And a few minutes later, he began to drift off.
Buck jolted up as he heard a loud thud upon the door. He panicked, and hurried for his rifle mounted on the wall.
"Victoria!" he shouted, but the reply came there none. He was starting to get worried and repeated the same line over and over. But the only reply that came was an even louder thud. He loaded his rounds and primed the bolt. His heart was beating fast. He aimed directly at the door, and shouted, "God damn it, you fiend! Where have you taken her?"
Buck wasn't thinking straight. His fear and anxiety were controlling him.
"Damn you! Don't dare show your face lest I puncture your skull!" he cried. His hands were shaking terribly, his grip was tight yet fluctuating. Then a series of loud thuds could be heard as if the house itself was haunting him. It echoed through the humble home along with the thunderclap and the crying of the rain. The noises cornered Buck's senses to a snap decision, a reflex of his body. A single hole on the door, and the end of the gun was smoking. The thuds had stopped.
He slowly approached the door, fearing what he might behold. He primed the bolt, readying for a second shot. He nervously held the knob and twisted. And he opened the door. And he wept . . .
Three days had passed. The rain had surrendered, and the skies were clear. There were no bears under the porch anymore. All that was left was a house, and a man. No, it is more appropriate to say that only his shell was left. He lies slumped upon the chair. A rifle within his hands pointing towards his throat. No more than four hours later did he pull the trigger, ending his life. Finally, can he be together with his loving wife.
Thus, the home laid in sleep, in creeping silence. Yet oddly, the front door slowly opened, the cracking sound resonating the entire home. And there, on the front of the door were deep and large scratches . . .