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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Crime and Punishment (not about the book) (07/21/11)

TITLE: Achilles' Heel
By marcella franseen


The great black bear paused for a moment and lifted his head high, nostrils flaring. His keen sense of smell was on heightened alert as he sniffed vigorously at the air. His brain did not want to lose the trail that would lead him to his drug of choice: honey. He stood on his hind legs and turned his head to the side, sniffing once more. There were many scents wafting through the air that morning- bear grass, pine, arnica-but one called to him with ferocity. Catching its sweet fragrance, he fell onto all fours-his body jarring as he landed-and took off in the direction of his prize.
It was a beautiful morning in Northwest Montana. A male pileated woodpecker hammered away at an ant-infested log-his drumming a back-drop for the songs of the robin and thrush. The great black bear moved his heavy form through trees and brush, never losing his focus-the draw of the honey like the Sirenís song. Overhead, two sparrows took turns diving at a hawk who had inadvertently perched on a branch close to their nest. But the great brown bear took no notice of the drama, intent on his mission. He was close. The scent he had been following so strong now, it was almost intoxicating. Big drops of saliva fell from his mouth as he anticipated the treat that awaited him.
He raised himself up onto his hind legs again, stretching his body out tall and lean. He hardly moved his massive brown form. Erect and stout, he resembled the trees he stood with. His eyes darted to and fro as he searched for the hive that had been beckoning him. A small breeze ruffled through his thick fur and brought to his nose that last piece of information he needed. He turned his head sharp, fell on all fours, and took off for a tree 50 feet to his right.
A little more than half-way up, in a cavity in the tree, was the hive. The great black bear wrapped his arms around the trunk of the tree as if to give it a hug, but instead, drove his claws into the bark-heaving his massive frame up off the ground. His muscles rippled with the effort as he moved further and further up the tree-the buzz of the hive growing louder until he could almost feel the vibration under his skin. Finally, he reached his mark. Steadying himself against a large branch, he reached one enormous paw into the treeís cavity and pulled out a large chunk of comb dripping with honey.
The bees flew at him from every direction in a desperate attempt to protect what was theirs. Again and again the enormous paw seized another piece of their home-stealing the fruit of their labor and destroying their young larvae. Increasingly furious, the bees wielded the only weapon allotted them by God-the bee sting-but their efforts were futile against the bears thick fur and tough skin. All hope seemed lost that there would be justice this day, until one bee-half-crazed with fury- found his mark. Landing on the bearís nose, he thrust his weapon into the soft, tender tissue. The great black bear opened his mouth wide and let out a cry. Rubbing his nose with his sticky paw, he began his descent down the tree. He had satisfied his craving and was now ready to search out water for his wounded nose.
The bees still buzzed around the remnant of their hive, confused and angry. With no one left to castigate, they violently beat their wings in the air as if the atmosphere itself were guilty of the crime. At the base of the tree lay one dead bee, having given his life for the blow that counted; his tiny body evidence that the crime had not gone unpunished.

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This article has been read 494 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Rachel Stone07/28/11
A fun, creative take on the topic and very descriptive. I enjoyed the read.
C D Swanson 07/29/11
Being an "animal lover" I was sorry the bear got stung, and sorry the bee died. LOL.

But, other than that - it was an ejoyable read and on target with the theme.

I don't know if it was a mistake without the paragraphs, (that happened to me on one of my articles it posted without breaks) it is just easier to read with paragraph breaks...If it was as error, sorry for the comment.

Good job, keep writing. God Bless~
Virgil Youngblood 07/29/11
A different "take" on the topic, but right on target. An enjoyable read. Well done.
Allison Egley 07/29/11
I like this. I too felt a bit sorry for both the bee and the bear. :) I suppose nature has it's very own justice system, probably better than the human version in some ways. ;)
Catrina Bradley 07/31/11
I really liked your descriptions! It seemed like your found your flow after the first paragraph, and it got better the more I read. Nice job!
Jim McWhinnie 08/03/11
Lush and vivid description that truly brought into the scene.

I loved the contrast between the giant bear and the tiny bee.

Good job!
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/03/11
This was a very well done story. One suggestion to make it easier to read; skip a line between paragraphs.
diana kay08/04/11
wow! you got under the skin of the bear that is for sure... loved the bears eye view for sure..... i was hoping that the honey was not a hunters trap. you have a wonderful skill for story telling from natures wonderful storehouse. I understand the reason for the title but i dont think it really "fits" to the story, just my oion but i love thinking up better titles for other peoples stories :-)
could well be a winner!
diana kay08/04/11
great story great placing congrats :-)