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The Student Art & Literary Site of Community College of Allegheny County

The Phoenix

The Student Art & Literary Site of Community College of Allegheny County

The Phoenix

The Student Art & Literary Site of Community College of Allegheny County

The Phoenix

Bearing Through

The night sky was pitch black like squid ink and full of thick heavy clouds. The darkness was broken only by the small pale silvery light of the half moon. Far below the cloud line spreads the huge luscious green forest of Asia full of birch, pine, elm, fir, spruce and oak. At the base a large pine tree in the middle of a clearing huddled under its branches sat a bear cub and a girl of about 9 with long wavey unkept straight deep red hair, wild sunken intense eagle like amber eyes and scarred chocolate brown skin. A slender but weak figure and hollow features. Her name is Meiying and she is wearing a battered orange t-shirt underneath a tattered sky-blue denim jacket, faded purple pants with gray worn out sneakers. Suddenly the clouds burst dumping sheets of freezing cold rain that slashed through the sky like tiny daggers piercing the ground. Making a long twisting trail of paw prints appear leading out of the clearing and into the gloomy distance.

Meiying tried to peer through the thick curtain like downpour to consider the trail. She didn’t know where it would lead but she wasn’t afraid the forest was her home. It had been her home ever since she was 3 years old and a black Momma bear found her and took her onto her back and to her den. She brushed the soft fur of the bear cub at her side deciding that they would wait a little while before exploring. Meiying shivered from the cold as she and the bear moved deeper into the lowest brambles of the tree for warmth and waited for the rain to stop. Half an hour later the rain stopped and the clouds faded from view.

She tapped the ground and cocked her head asking the bear cub a silent question “Ready to explore?”

The bear affectionately nuzzled her side in a silent answer “yes.”

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She got down on her hands and knees as they carefully crawled out from the safety of the brambles. Meiying soundlessly led the way over to the paw prints, the bear following close behind. She stopped to trace the first paw and sniff the air just as a cool breeze swirled through the trees like soft music. Meiying got to her feet and led the way down the trail.

For the next hour Meiying quietly and cautiously walked down the trail while the bear bounded right alongside her. They ducked under over hanging branches, leaped over large, coiled tree roots and crawled through dense undergrowth. Meiying moved aside some sharp brambles as they reached the opening at the end of the trail and held up a hand to stop. She peered into the open and her eyes widened in shock to see two more people pasted out and sprawled on the ground next to a babbling bubbling brook of crystal-clear clean water. Meiying was just about to walk into the open to get a better look at the other people when an Earth rattling growl split the silence and hit her ears as a big white tiger appeared. The tiger took one look at the people on the ground and for no reason at all attacked.

Meiying knew that she had to do something to help but she couldn’t move. What could she do against a tiger? She was okay in a fight the bear’s had taught her everything that they knew. Sadly, all of those fights had just been for fun or practice. She’d never been in a real fight before and wasn’t sure if she would be any good. Meiying wanted to disappear into the brambles and run back home to their den. A wave of absolute fear rolled through her whole body as if she’d been bathed in ice water. Sensing her fear the bear moved closer and gave her a reassuring smile. Meiying let the brambles fall before the tiger could see them. She took a deep quiet calming breath and shoved down her fear. It wasn’t important and it wouldn’t help her right now. She moved into a crouching position preparing to spring into action but then thought better of it. Her eyes sent the bear a silent message.

“Cheng go get Momma hurry! I’ll keep the tiger busy for as long as I can. Now go!” Cheng gave Meiying a small nod to show that he understood before darting of into the gloom.

Meiying scuttled around the brambles to the left not daring to make a single sound until she was crouching underneath the swaying branches of a towering oak tree right behind the tiger. She leaped out from behind the oak tree branches and onto the tigers back. The tiger let out another much louder Earth quaking growl as its eyes widen in surprise at being tackled by a human. The animal arched it’s back and tried to shake her off. Meiying tried her best to hang on to the slippery striped blinding snow like fur as the tiger shook with more and more intensity. The third time the tiger shook Meiying lost her grip and tumbled to the soft leafy ground. She scrambled to her knees and stayed close to the ground. She stealthily moved in front of the other people and pounced on the tiger nocking it to the ground before punching it between the eyes then rolling away with not so much as a scratch. Suddenly a low loud angry snarl came from the other side of the underbrush. Meiying kept her gaze locked on the animal, but out of the corner of her eye she could see her adopted Momma bear and two of her older brothers, Bolin and Yang, charging toward her. Being a skilled predator, the tiger turned toward the moving prey. Momma and her oldest son, Bolin leaped at the tiger their claws unsheathed slashing across its fur. The pair of bears rolled on the ground slashing and biting the predator in all its sensitive spots, but it was no use. The tiger broke free from the bears grip gnashed its teeth at them and bit the Momma bear’s left leg making her stumble. Meiying surged forward to help but her mother growled low a clear warning to stay back and help the other people.

Meiying ran over to the brook and took a closer look at them. One is a boy with short matted brown hair, cold ice blue wolve like eyes and pale watery skin. The other is a girl with shoulder length black hair, hollow gray cloud like eyes and scratched coppery skin. Meiying dashed to the brook cupped some water in her hands and splashed it on the other people. The water seemed to help the boy woke up immediately and scrambled back. The girl groaned and rolled over but didn’t wake.

The boy was about to ask a question but Meiying held up a hand and said in a calm voice “There isn’t time for questions we need to get out of here right now!”

The boy nodded and gathered the other girl in his arms. “Yang, over here.” Meiying called to the third bear.

As Yang bound over to them Meiying plunged a hand into the brook cupped some more water and gently pulled open the other girl’s mouth before he poured it down her throat.

She sputtered as her eyes opened and let out a shrilling scream. “It’s okay be quiet or the tiger will hear you! By the way who are you?” Meiying said and asked in a soothing tone so as not to scare the newcomers.

The boy looked wary but introduced himself as Suyin and the girl as Jiang. He set Jiang down on her feet just as Yang reached them. Yang instinctively moved to Meiying’s side lowering himself to the leaves.

Then said in a kind but worried voice “We should hurry the others won’t be able to hold the great cat off forever.”

Meiying quickly nodded her agreement before proceeding to help Jiang up onto Yang’s back.

Meiying had just taken Suyin’s arm and was helping him onto Yang when she heard a loud growl of pain. In a flash of speed Meiying let go of Suyin turned around and ran toward the battle. She reached her Momma’s side just in time to see the tiger sink its teeth into Bolin’s side and toss him aside like a rag doll. The cat turned to meet Meiying’s eyes fiery blood dribbling from its mouth. A hot anger seemed to blossom in Meiying’s chest as her eyes hardened with determination. She got to her feet and threw herself at the tiger. She kicked, punched and scratched doing her best to hurt the monster but sadly her efforts were in vain. The monster slashed its talon like claws across her legs and tossed her off. Meiying landed hard on the ground and tried to roll away but couldn’t move as small rivers of blood oozed from the wound. Suddenly, the tiger was obscured from view as Bolin still wounded sprung in front of Meiying crying out one last word “GO!” Just then Meiying noticed Suyin standing next to her lifting her up off the ground with such strength that Meiying didn’t even knew he had. Suyin placed a hand on her Momma bear’s wounded leg healing it instantly. Momma stood up as Suyin dumped Meiying onto the bear’s back before climbing up behind her. Momma bear ran off into the forest towards her den. Meiying looked back to see Yang not far behind with Jiang. A loud horrified sob escaped from Meiying’s mouth as she heard a long cracked crunch ripping sound coming from the brook. Meiying buried her face into her Momma’s smooth fur crying, because she knew that Bolin was dead and it was all her fault.

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