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    Grumpy Bear
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Worlds Apart - 17. News of the World

Siku woke to the sound of his phone ringing on the nightstand.  He felt the empty space in the bed next to him where Shivay had occupied until last night and frowned unhappily.  He reached across the bed and picked up his phone.  It was Gunnar.

“Hello,” he said after tapping the screen to answer.

“Hey Siku,” Gunnar said. “I hope it’s not too early there on the West coast, I wanted to check in with you to see how things were going there at the house and with the new job.”

“The house is fantastic, Gunnar,” Siku replied, “And the job is perfect. I’ve already settled in as one of the crew, and Charlie comes along with me as the official Ship’s Cat where she sits in the wheelhouse with the Captain all day when she isn’t catching rodents.”

“Well, for someone who seems to have it made in San Francisco, I can’t help but notice that you don’t sound very happy,” Gunnar said. “Any luck on the dating front and finding a mate.”

Siku wept openly, not trying to hide it from his friend.

“Oh Gunnar,” Siku said, “I found my Mate.  I was the happiest I’d ever been in my life for an entire week, and in one night I managed to fuck it all up and I think I lost him forever.”

“Siku…” Gunnar replied, “Take a breath and tell me what happened.”

Over the next half-hour, Siku told Gunnar the story of meeting his weretiger, their first date and the aftermath with Shivay’s mother, meeting Nameer, and the happiness he felt at their first week together.

He also told the story of Colt, their night together, his first night in the city, and the subsequent party that Siku hosted with the pretense that it was to be a meet-and-greet with the other San Francisco bears.

He told Gunnar of the party, and how Colt was the de-facto leader of the bears in the city.  He detailed that Colt was running a prostitution ring, pressuring all Weres in his circle into service, and that he had charged the other party-goers money for the opportunity to rape a weretiger against his will.

He finished his tale with the description of finding Shivay bound and bleeding on the pool table and Charlie locked in a storage closet, and how Shivay had fled in the night, most likely back to his family home and his domineering mother.

“Oh Siku,” Gunnar said, “That’s horrible on two fronts.  As your friend, I’m devastated that Colt’s actions have caused this rift between you and your mate, and I want to do anything I can to help you mend the relationship.

“But, as your Council representative, if a werebear is running an illegal prostitution ring in the San Francisco area, that is a potential threat to the safety and security of were-kind.  The Council must step in to cease the illegal activity immediately and find an employment solution to the bears in the area that will raise them out of the vicious cycle that has been imposed upon them by Colt.”

“We also need to prosecute the dozen or so bears who attacked and raped Shivay,” Siku replied. “I want justice for the way that he and I were treated.”

“You will have it,” Gunnar said, “I will contact Supreme Alpha Taylor today to form a response plan for this latest crisis.”

Latest crisis?” Siku repeated.  “So, you can’t just send me Axel to come and bust some skulls?”

“Unfortunately, Axel and Adam are back at the colony in the Arctic, along with Apollo and Susie and a limited strike-team.”

“Shit,” Siku said, “With everything that’s happened to me in the last couple of weeks, I nearly forgot about the Atikokan newcomers and the way they treat the polar bears.  When we last spoke, Axel was going to have a few of our transplanted friends keep an eye out for any suspicious activity.”

“That’s right,” Gunnar replied, “And the reality of the situation turned out to be worse than we expected.  You must know Hank and Glenn from Atikokan.  They are the pair that Axel entrusted to be his eyes and ears there, and he’s been in communication with them via satellite phone.  Well, last week, Hank and Glenn decided to go on an extended hike to the northern regions of Ellesmere Island. When they proposed the excursion to the colony elder, Corbett, they did not expect the reaction they received…

****

“Absolutely not!” Corbett exclaimed to the grizzly pair who were in the midst of packing for a long hiking excursion, “I forbid you to enter the northern territory of this island.”

The elder bear was flanked by two of the other members of his tribe.  His brow was furrowed, and his brown streaked with gray beard framed lips twisted into a scowl.

“Why not?” Hank asked with concern. “Surely there could be no harm in it.”

“It is forbidden,” Corbett replied, still scowling, “You newcomers are here to learn our ways, and this is one rule that we all must abide.  There will be no travel beyond the southern border of Quttinirpaaq National Park.  Are we clear?”

“Yes, elder,” Hank replied, but he gave his Cub Glenn a sideways glance.  Glenn knew that this would not be the end of the discussion.

Night comes early in the fall in the Arctic, and under cover of darkness Hank and Glenn left the tribe’s compound heading north.  They were in their bear forms as insulation from the cold and wore the specialized packs that Corbett had developed which were convertible to be worn in either bear or human form.

“I don’t know what elder Corbett is hiding in the Quttinirpaaq National Park,” Hank told Glenn as they ran north, making good time in their bear forms, “But I intend to find out.  Axel has told me of the suspicious behavior of some of the bears from Corbett’s tribe who have gone to Atikokan, and I can’t just let this go without a proper investigation.

“Forbidden territory or not.”

They were three days north of the southern border into the forbidden zone when Hank sensed that they were being watched from the surrounding forest.

“I don’t like this, Cub,” Hank whispered to Glenn in the bear-language.  “There’s something hiding out there in the trees, keeping just out of sight.  This may be the reason why Corbett has declared the area off-limits.”

“Whatever it is,” Glenn whisper-growled back, “It could be our bear forms that are keeping them from approaching us.  Do you think it’s safe to shift back to our human forms?”

“Whatever is out there,” Hank replied, “It isn’t human. I think that shifting back is our best chance at making first contact.”

Glenn nodded and they both began their shift, releasing their packs to the ground and transforming back into nude, albeit hairy, men once again. They had just begun to put their base-layers of clothing and their boots back on to protect from the harsh temperatures and snow when an incomprehensible shout emanated from the trees not far away, followed by the sounds of many voices yelling and feet stomping through the snow and underbrush.

The bears suddenly found themselves surrounded by large men covered head-to-toe in furs and animal skins, brandishing spears, bows and arrows, and crude knives.  They shouted at the pair in a language they didn’t understand.

“Is that Inuit?” Glenn whispered to Hank as they dropped their packs and raised their hands indicating that they weren’t armed, “I’m not getting a human scent from them.”

“Me either,” Hank whispered back.  Each of the men surrounding them was between 6 ½ and 7 feet tall, and the only things visible on them were their icy blue eyes.

The captors bound Hank and Glenn around their wrists and began marching them through the forest.  The bears had only enough time to put on their long underwear and boots, and they soon began shivering in the cold dressed so skimpily in the frigid temperatures.

Hank saw two of the men off to the side of the ranks forcing them to march carrying their packs, and he attempted to ask them to stop for a minute to allow them to put on their warmer layers of clothing, but the captors either couldn’t understand their words, or chose to ignore them.

After an hour of this forced trek through the frozen wilderness, they suddenly came upon a clearing, populated with many dome-shaped tents made of the same animal skins worn by the men.  The bears were herded toward one of the tents and pushed roughly inside.

There was a fire in the middle of the tent with a small hole in the center of the roof to vent the smoke, and the shivering pair of bears huddled together in front of it for warmth.  Six of the men entered the tent behind them and stood staring at the pair with hatred in their eyes.  The leader of the group, the one who had been giving orders to the rest in their strange language reached up with one hand to remove his hat and mask, and the other five followed suit.

“Odin’s balls,” Hank mumbled, “They all look just like Erik, Max and Siku!”

It was true.  All six men stood seven feet tall with broad shoulders and obvious musculature underneath their animal skins, and all had snow-white heads of hair and beards framing a pair of icy-blue eyes.

“They must be polar werebears,” Glenn said, “Papa, do you realize what this means? Corbett and the rest of the tribe have been lying to us from the beginning.  But why?”

“Good question, Cub,” Hank replied, “I don’t think we’re getting out of here until we’ve uncovered the answer.”

The leader of the polar werebears pointed at Hank and Glenn menacingly with his knife and uttered many words that they couldn’t understand before turning and leaving the tent.  The door was tied closed behind them, and the bears could hear that two of their captors were left standing outside their door as guards.

“How are we going to get ourselves out of this mess if we can’t even talk to them, Papa?” Glenn asked as they warmed themselves by the fire and their core temperatures began to return to normal.

“We have to figure out something, Cub,” Hank replied. “We have to find out what has happened between this group of polar werebears and Corbett’s tribe of brown werebears that has caused this rift.”

It wasn’t long before the bears found their window of opportunity to open communication with their captors.  The two polar werebears who had been standing guard outside their tent had continued a quiet conversation between themselves while on duty, and after a while, they must have decided to shift into their bear forms for better insulation against the cold.  After shifting, their conversation continued, and Hank and Glenn could make out the distinct grunts and growls of the bear-language.

“Is the bear-language universal, Papa?” Glenn asked.

“I don’t know, Cub,” Hank replied.  “Everyone I know speaks English in their human form, so I don’t know if there’s a bear-language equivalent of Inuit.  There’s only one way to find out.”

They nodded to each other silently, and then removed their boots and long underwear before shifting into their grizzly bear forms and turning their ears to the pair of polar bears outside their tent door.

“What I don’t understand,” one of the polar bears said, “Is why Corbett would risk sending spies that far north of their border in the first place.  We all know that any of our kind who dare to venture into his territory to look for food never return.”

“Don’t sugar coat it,” the second polar bear replied, “Those brothers who ventured into Corbett’s territory were exterminated like ‘vermin’ as he so charmingly calls us.

“The brown bears have all of the resources for themselves, as it has been for the last thousand years.  Why he would send these two into our midst so brazenly, not even trying to hide their presence. It makes no sense strategically.”

“Brother bears,” Hank called to the polar bear pair through the tent door, “I think there has been a misunderstanding.  We are from a community of bears much farther south within Canada, where all bears live in peaceful cooperation.  Brown, black, and polar bears alike!”

The tent door was suddenly pulled back and two polar bear heads appeared in the opening, looking at the brown bears in amazement.

“You understand the bear-language?” the first polar bear asked.

“Yes,” Hank replied.  “We do not know the language you were speaking in your human forms, but the bear-language seems to be universal across all of our species.”

“You say that you are from a community far to the south,” the second polar bear inquired cautiously, “But surely you must have encountered Corbett and his brown bear tribe when passing through his territory.”

“Yes,” Hank said, “We have been living with Corbett’s bears for a little over a month now, but he has not mentioned the existence of a polar werebear tribe to the north.  In fact, he has stated that the only polar bears to be found are non-werebear wild and dangerous animals who should be exterminated.  This seemed wrong to us, and to our polar werebear brothers at home, so we defied Corbett’s rules and ventured into the forbidden zone to try to discover the truth.”

“We must alert Nukilik,” the first polar bear said to the second, “He is in deliberations with the other elders as to the fate of these two, but he will want to hear their story and decide if they tell the truth!”

One polar bear left quickly while the second remained at the door of the tent continuing to stand guard, scrutinizing the grizzly bears with curious blue eyes.  Soon, the tall man who was the leader of the group who had spoken to the bears harshly, brandishing his knife at them returned through the tent door, followed be several others who waited just outside.  The man removed his clothing and once nude, transformed into a mighty polar bear, larger than even Siku himself in his bear form.

“My friends tell me that you two understand the bear-language,” the great bear said, “If that is true, tell me your names.”

“I am Hank, and this is my Cub, Glenn,” Hand said, gesturing with his paw to the bear sitting to his right. “We mean you no harm.  We are from a large community of bears of many different breeds far to the south, and we were suspicious of Corbett’s laws against traveling into your territory, which he calls ‘The Forbidden Zone.’”

The massive polar bear snorted in frustration.

“Forbidden Zone indeed!  More like we are the ones forbidden from entering Corbett’s territory in search of resources lest we be exterminated like pests!”

“We understand now that Corbett has been deceiving us, and the rest of our brothers to the south,” Glenn responded. “Believe me, finding an entire thriving community of polar werebears is exciting news which will be celebrated among were-kind throughout all of North America!”

The big bear dropped his head and let out a growling sigh.

“Thriving?” he said, “It is difficult to thrive when faced with oppression and death from the brown bear tribe to our south.  A thousand years ago, we were twice the number of today.  But that was before Corbett came with his tribe across the Arctic.  He has been picking us off one by one since his arrival, and I fear that in another thousand years, there will be no polar werebears left on Earth!

“But forgive me,” he continued, “I am being rude.  You have told me your names and I have not introduced myself. I am Nukilik, leader of our clan.  Although I am not the eldest, I was chosen to lead our people millennia ago.   Today, I wonder if we made the right choice.  I have chosen a path without hostility toward the brown bear tribe, choosing to give them the space that they seem to demand.  Another leader may have chosen a path of war and aggression, and perhaps we could have forced our control upon Corbett much sooner and have saved the lives of many of our bear brothers.”

Hank and Glenn took time to explain the community at Atikokan and the North American Lycan Council.  They explained the recent representation of bears on the Council, and the desire to find the ones referred to as the Ancients and reconnect them with modern society.  They talked about the missions of Axel and Adam to find these Ancients, the recent discovery of Corbett’s tribe and the exchange program with Atikokan which brought several pairs of Papas and Cubs and mated pairs to this region.

“Tell me,” Nukilik said, “In this exchange program of yours, does one of the bears who relocated to Atikokan go by the name of Frode?”

“Yes!” Hank replied, “He was considered to be the leader of the ten single bears to went to our Atikokan in exchange for us.”

“Then,” Nukilik said with a look of concern darkening his white-furred face, “Your polar bear friends back in your home village are in great danger.  Frode’s hatred of polar bears runs deep, and he has personally killed more of my brothers than any other in Corbett’s tribe.  It is said that he has a habit of skinning us alive while in our bear forms before we succumb to his torture and revert back to human upon death, just so that he may fashion clothing for himself and wear our white fur as a kind of trophy.”

Glenn thought of the extravagant suit of white fur that Frode donned before leaving on the trip to Atikokan and shuddered, realizing now that it had been made from the skin of werebear brothers and not wild polar bears he claimed.

“Nukilik,” Hank said, “I know you have no real reason to trust us, but please believe me when I tell you that we can help to end this situation once and for all.  We must contact our home in Atikokan and alert them of the danger of Frode and have them alert the Lycan Council.  It will be too dangerous for us to return to Corbett’s tribe, which means that the other Atikokan bears from our exchange program may be in peril.  We must call on the Council’s Peacekeeping forces to intervene and end the bloodshed.

“All we need is the device in my pack to communicate with the bears at home to put the operation into motion.”

Nukilik glanced back at one of the bears watching from outside the door.

“Did you find any weapons in either of their packs?”

“No sir,” a polar bear replied, “Just clothing, food, and some strange-looking devices that couldn’t be effective weapons.”

“It’s that device we need,” Hank said, “It allows us to communicate and talk to our friends far away.  But we’ll have to shift into our human forms to use it and you won’t be able to understand what we’re saying.  Do you trust us?”

Nukilik stared at the pair of brown bears with his ice-blue eyes and finally closed them gently and nodded his head.

“For the good of my people, I must take this risk and trust you, grizzly bears. Bring them their packs so that they may have their clothing and communication device.”

****

“And so,” Gunnar said, finishing the story to update Siku on the situation, “Hank and Glenn were able to call Axel, and after Adam was able to get him calmed down just a bit, he immediately rounded up all the newcomer bears including Frode, and put them under house arrest in a secure cabin.

“Not a moment too soon, I might add,” Gunnar continued, “Because he found evidence in Frode’s cabin that they were planning to murder Erik and Max and dispose of their bodies in a way that would not implicate any of them.”

Siku was sitting up straight on the edge of the bed as he listened to Gunnar’s news, and his bout of self-pity was broken by a fresh wave of anger toward Frode and the newcomer bears.

“Fuck my personal problems, Gunnar,” Siku said, with Charlie awake and alert at his side sensing his tension and anger, “I’m going back to Atikokan to help!”

“No!” Gunnar replied sternly but calmly, “You’re not. What you are dealing with in San Francisco is no less of a crime and an emergency for were-kind as the situation in Atikokan and the Arctic.  However, Axel and Adam have taken most of their big warrior bears with them back to Corbett’s village along with Erik and Max and Apollo and Susie’s 1st Peacekeeping Infantry.

“So, for once, we’ll have to handle a bear problem as bears, without the aid or assistance from the wolves.”

“What do you suggest we do?” Siku asked, “We have to deal with Colt’s werebear prostitution ring and punish Shivay’s rapists, as well as find Shivay and convince him to give me another chance.”

“And, you have Shivay’s mother to deal with as well,” Gunnar added, “Don’t forget that important detail.  Something tells me that she isn’t going to give him up quite as easily a second time.”

“It sounds like I’m on my own for this one,” Siku said sadly.

“Bullshit!” Gunnar replied.  “Just because Axel and the commando wolves are busy doesn’t mean that there isn’t any help available!  The Sturgeon Bay bears are still on our mandatory fishing break for another week.  I’m going to assemble the bears here who are up for some excitement and a challenge and we’re going to be in San Francisco tomorrow.  If I remember correctly, your house there has about four or five spare bedrooms and a whole lot of bathrooms and couches, so get ready to be invaded, because help is on the way!”

“Thank you, Gunnar,” Siku said, “You really are a good friend.  We can devise a plan for how to handle Colt and his gang once you get here, but I need to find a way to reach out to Shivay now!”

“I have a thought, about that as well,” Gunnar replied. “The incident only happened last night, so he probably needs a day to cool off and think things over.  Tomorrow is a workday and he’s not going to want to jeopardize the gains he’s made at work over the last week due to personal issues.  From what you’ve told me it sounds like he ran out of the house without even packing up his work computer or other things that he will need, so he’s going to have to come back to your house bright and early on Monday morning to get them.”

“And when he comes, Ill be here waiting for him!” Siku said with a tone of hope in his voice.

“No!” Gunnar said, “Believe me, he’s not going to want to see you.  He’s going to wait until after he’s sure that you’ve left for work and the house will be empty.  I want you to leave something behind for him to find when you head to work tomorrow morning…”

Copyright © 2021 Grumpy Bear; All Rights Reserved.
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Grumpy Bear's Werebear Tales

Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

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Glad to see Axel is ready to kick some Arctic butt!  I hope Corbett's whole group of bears end up in prison. As for him and Frode get torn apart!  These two are a crazy as Christopher was and deserve the same fate.  

Gunnar and Mike are going to arrive with the whole Sturgeon Bay guys to help clean up San Francisco and remove the evil influence of Colt.  I hope that Nameer will be not only able to help Siku, but also end the reign of Shivay' bigoted mom.  Then both men can be free to be themselves.  What does Gunnar suggest Siku leave for Shivay to find?  Looking forward to finding out.

@Grumpy Bear, I am definitely glad you are getting settled into your new job, and have had the chance to see how much you are missed. 

This is a great chapter of hope and full of energy and life.  Traumatic chapters are extremely difficult to write, but the reward is a story that feels authentic and the reward is the good that happens as a result. I am wishing you all the best in your new job. Thanks for you work to create this great series.

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