Ursula wakes up late. Her parents have already caught breakfast and are sitting next to each other, their shiny coats sparkling with drops of water. She sits down, takes a piece of salmon. After eating, she daintily licks her claws.
Her mother helps zip Ursula into her human suit. Her legs and arms, tucked in, become long and graceful, her dark ursine eyes peek out beneath golden lashes. Ursula flips her hair, feels it cascade down the back of her red dress.
As she is leaving, her mother says, “Mind your claws.” Ursula holds up pink hands, wiggles her fingers in response. Her mother laughs.
“Watch for hunters,” her father says. She smiles, nods her head, and does a twirl down the blackberry-lined lane. She knows her parents aren’t yet used to the woman version of their little bear.
Ursula walks out of the pines and into sunlight that reflects off her blonde head. Three bears splash in the nearby lake, tumbling the surface of the water.
“Hey,” they call.
She doesn’t recognize them, keeps walking.
“Rude,” says one.
“Didn’t even smile,” says the second.
“Let’s teach her a lesson,” says the third.
“Yeah,” they snarl.
The first bear leaps out in a roar of water. He growls, squats down on all fours in front of her. The other two amble up behind her until she is encircled by large bear bodies. They all grab her at once.
It is early evening as the bears arrive at their truck.
Here, the bears unzip their suits, revealing pink skin. Human hands pass out cans of beer, which they gulp greedily, tossing empties to litter the road as they speed away.
Later they will return, with guns, to hunt the bears that killed a young girl.
Molly Fuller is a Teaching Fellow in the Literature program at Kent State University. You can find her prose and poetry in NANO Fiction, Union Station Magazine, Potomac, and 100 word story. Her flash sequence “Hold Your Breath” is in the Marie Alexander flash sequence anthology, Nothing to Declare. She is also the author of three chapbooks: The Neighborhood Psycho Dreams of Love, Tender the Body, and All My Loves (forthcoming). She lives in Ohio.