A woman with yellow hair enters a house owned by three bears. She eats their porridge.
“This porridge,” she says, “tastes like bear food.”
She sits on their couches.
“These couches,” she says, “feel like something only a bear would find comfortable.”
The woman hears a noise from another room that can only be likened to three bears having a raging orgy.
She turns the knob. The door squeaks. The room goes silent and the woman, in a rare moment of clarity, seriously questions whether this is a good idea.
Inside the room, three bears are having a raging orgy. One bear is on its knees. One bear is on its back. One bear looms over them.
There is a moment of profound silence. There is no fear in the bear’s eyes. Imagine a stray kitten walking in on a human orgy—you could imagine the humans being curious; but afraid? No.
It’s interesting to note, at this point, that the woman isn’t afraid either. You’d think interrupting a top predator’s unconventional mating ritual would induce panic. But the woman is like that kitten—curiously staring, probably not quite grasping the danger.
The smallest bear, the one on its knees, speaks:
“You came back.”
That night, at dinner, the bears are absolutely ravaging the corpse of a deer. The woman is nibbling on a few ribs.
“We want you to know,” says the biggest bear, “that what you saw earlier isn’t what it looked like.” Blood was caked to the fur around his snout.
“We want you to know,” says the middle-sized bear, “that this isn’t your fault.”
The smallest bear places his paw on the woman’s hand and smiles. “Is there anything you’d like to say?”
“This whole situation,” the woman says, “feels like I’m having dinner with a family of bears.”
The bears glance at each other uneasily, deer carcass dripping from their claws.
Geoff Pevlin is from St. John’s, Newfoundland and has an MFA in writing. His work appears or is forthcoming in a smattering of literary journals: Riddle Fence, Arc, The Fiddlehead, untethered, antilang, The Newfoundland Quarterly, Galleon, and Qwerty. He runs Applebeard Editions (applebeardeditions.ca)—a small press specializing in flash fiction and short prose. Check out his writing and visual art at www.geoffpevlin.com.