A while ago I found this writing challenge website called Typetrigger. Every day there is a new prompt, you have a week, and all submissions must be under 300 words. I love challenges like this. Even though I’m not in the Typetrigger community I have some prompts stashed away, and for an even more arbitrary challenge, I’ve decided that the prompt must appear in the first line of the story.

Here’s the first one I wrote:

I went for a walk in the woods, and there was a bear with me.

I’m not sure how old he was, but he wasn’t a cub, or an adult. I asked him where his mama was, but he didn’t reply. He never said a word over the whole weekend.

I’m not sure how I ended up out here, with this bear. I just started walking. I think I might have been asleep. I woke up in a forest glade, face buried in the bear’s soft brown fur. Just like Snow White.

He was good at keeping me warm. And he would offer me fish, which was kind, but I’m a vegan. I had some apples and gluten-free sandwiches in my satchel, which was almost empty. I had a bottle of iced tea, my sandwiches and a notebook. No phone, no cameras, no wallet.

The sun was streaming through the firs as we padded along in comfortable silence. It was freeing, not needing to speak. The bear was patient as I stopped to sketch or jot down a paragraph or two.

I think I was out there for a weekend. Three days maybe. Not really sure, they blurred somewhat. On the last night, as I bunked down in his fur, he licked my face. As first I was momentarily afraid, but in my heart I knew he would never hurt me. This was, I discovered later, his way of saying goodbye.

I woke up in my city again the next morning, near my house. I turned to see a soft brown flash disappear behind garbage bins. I searched my satchel and the notebook was gone. I’m not entirely sure if I dreamed this or not.

But one day I want to walk again in the woods, a bear with me.

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