A Dandy Rug

A Dandy Rug

Azure James

Joshua didn’t even know the bear was there. He sat on the disgusting worn red pattered rug in the living room, fussing with the radio dial and trying to get the best possible sound quality. No matter how precisely he moved the ridged brown dial, however, he could not get a static-free sound. Still, it was worth a try.

There was a quiet clicking sound outside. Joshua turned his head somewhat, like a curious dog. He turned the volume down, listening intently.

Another sound, some strange, rough breathing. Joshua felt more nervous than he would admit. He dug his pocketknife out and grasped it tightly in his hand. Carefully, he made his way through the kitchen to the front door. As he opened it, there stood the bear. A huge, daunting black bear with eyes staring right into his soul.

Joshua instinctively slammed the door and retreated speedily back into the living room, breathing heavily. The extremely quiet sound of the AM station playing actually made things even more tense. He waited, hoping the bear would somehow forget about him. Hearing another noise outside, he guessed it hadn’t.

Please get out of here,” he thought. “I can’t deal with a bear without my parents being here. If they could just get back soon, maybe they could scare it away.”

The boy felt paralyzed. Why had his parents left him home alone in such a dangerous situation? What sort of normal parents would just leave their kid in an area with so much dangerous wildlife?

I wish we lived in the town. There’s barely anything dangerous there, except those roughnecks I see back in the alleyway once in a while…”

As time went on, Joshua finally relaxed slightly. The blood that was flowing quickly through him had slowed down to a tolerable pace.

Maybe the bear isn’t even here anymore. But if I check, he could get me. Dear Lord, please help me somehow!”

To be on the safe side, Joshua waited there for about five more minutes. He eventually got bored enough to turn the radio up a little higher, hoping it would drown out his anxiety.

I know what I’ll do,” thought Joshua. He quietly tiptoed into his parents’ room. In the corner to the right of the door sat their old double-barrel shotgun. Joshua gazed at it with a mixture of fearful contempt and awed wonder. He had rarely touched it before, and never by himself.

dbs

Not knowing exactly how it worked, Joshua tried to open the action up. It was stuck. He walked over to the foot of the bed, lugging the heavy firearm, and rested it on the wooden bed frame. After some heavy exertion, the action snapped quickly open.

Whew,” thought Joshua. He grabbed the two red shells off the floor and tried sliding them in. They didn’t fit.

Hmm.”

He flipped them around and they slid in the barrels smoothly. Joshua closed the gun up, which was slightly easier than opening it. He avoided pointing it at himself and the radio, but didn’t care about whatever else it might point at.

Feeling slightly less nervous but still jittery, the boy went back to the door and stood there for a second, considering his options. With great hesitancy, he opened the door a crack and peeked out at the driveway.

There it was, barely thirty feet away. Joshua’s stomach dropped. The bear was in a large depression to the side of the driveway, rummaging around in the leaves. Joshua heard a motor in the distance, getting closer. He saw the family car crest the hill in front of their driveway. The boy took a step outside.

Stop! There’s a bear! Stay in the car!” he yelled. His dad and mom looked caught up in themselves. They didn’t hear him. Joshua’s parents opened the doors and stepped out of their car.

No! Get back in the car!” said Joshua, panicking even more.

What?” asked his dad, confused. The bear noticed Joshua’s mom standing there, eying her like a fresh steak. After nodding to itself the bear started to charge her and bellow voraciously. The woman screamed loudly, jumping back against the car mirror. Joshua took careful aim at the running bear and pulled both the triggers just before it reached his mother. The recoil from the shot knocked him right over, and with a loud slam, he blacked out.

Joshua! Are you alright?”

The boy opened his eyes, delirious. He could just make out two people standing above him.

Joshua!”

He mumbled something quietly. Slowly, his vision returned. He could see his parents. Gradually, everything came back to him.

You hit your head on the side of the door frame,” explained his dad. “Does it hurt?”

Not that much,” replied Joshua.

You saved my life!” consoled his mother, giving him an awkward hug.

I’m proud of ya, boy” said his dad, smiling. “That bear will make a dandy rug in the living room. We’ll have to get a new rear tire, though. It’s got about a thousand holes in it.”

Short Stories Section

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