Beep, beep, beep.
"What the...?" Maggie fumbled in the dark for her cell phone lying on the nightstand. Her husband stirred slightly, but did not appear to have been woken by the text alert from Maggie's phone.
Maggie's eyes darted to the illuminated digital clock. 12:15. Oh God, now what? A text message in the middle of the night was most probably from their teenage son, and he likely was not texting to say "hey mom, love you."
Maggie warily opened her phone to retrieve the message.
Josh was supposed to be in the mountains with his cousin and uncle, staying up all night to watch the August meteor showers. His cryptic message was perplexing.
Maggie hit the reply key, typed in "What?" and waited anxiously for Josh's response.
Having forgotten to mute her phone, the second beep, beep, beep of the night woke her husband.
"It's Josh." Maggie flipped open the phone to read Josh's second message.
I spotted a bear. 25 yds away. :(
"Oh, dear. Look." Maggie handed the phone to her husband. "Ask him if he's sure it's a bear."
John methodically began pressing keys, using only his index finger.
Exasperated with the slowness of John's typing, Maggie snatched the phone away and, with agile thumbs like a teenage texter, typed in "Maybe it's a large raccoon."
It's a bear. It growls. :o
John leaned his head close to Maggie's to read the screen.
"John, this sounds scary. Will the bear attack?"
"Nah. Our mountains have black bear...they only attack if they feel threatened. Or if you come between a mama and her cubs. Ask him what he means by growling."
Maggie's fingers flew across the keypad.
What type of growling?
Bear growling Mom! Grrrrr. What other kind of growling is there?
"Bear growling, John. Grrrrr. What other kind of growling is there?"
"Hmmm. That's interesting." John's lack of a reassuring comment did not go unnoticed by an already anxious Maggie. "Tell him to make noise and back away slowly. If they're close to the car they should get in and leave. Where's your brother, anyway?"
Make noise and back away slowly. Get in the car. Where’s Uncle Dave?
Good. Let us know what happens.
"See? Your baby will be fine...he's with your brother. What could go wrong?" John finished his sentence with a slight guffaw...Maggie's brother was notorious for getting himself, and others, into semi-dangerous situations. He liked to refer to those times as adventurous.
John's right. Dave's there and he's an experienced camper/hiker/outdoorsy guy. They'll be fine. Maggie settled back down on the pillow but kept her phone in hand.
Ten minutes and no reply later, Maggie tried to rationalize away the severity of the situation. If they had to drive away, they could be in an area that has no cell coverage. I'll ask Josh to let me know when they're safe.
Maggie sent another text and tried to pray her way back to sleep. At 1:20, however, she was jolted awake by nothing but a mother's panic instinct.
Are you guys safe yet?
At 1:35 Maggie abandoned the texting and tried calling Josh's phone. Receiving no answer, she punched in her brother's number.
"Hey. I'm busy. Leave a message."
"It's Mags. I hear you guys were fighting off a bear. Please call and let me know you're okay." Maggie's urgent-whisper voice woke her husband.
"What are you doing now?"
"Neither Josh nor Dave are answering. I'm scared."
"They're probably where they can't get coverage." John pulled his wife into his arms. "Think about it. What, really, could have happened?"
"They could have been attacked by that bear! We have to drive up there."
"Relax, Maggie, black bears don't attack...at least not usually. Besides, there are three of them. Chances are at least one of them would have gotten away." John tried not to laugh out loud at his wife's wild imagination.
"Please pray, John."
"Dear Lord, I pray that Josh and Dave and Sam did not get eaten by a bear. Amen."
"Stop making light of this...the bear was growling at them. My baby got eaten by a bear." As Maggie broke into hysterical sobs, her phone started playing the theme from the NFL.
"It's Dave. We weren't attacked by a bear, but it freaked Josh out a little. Wonder where he gets that from? After we scared the bear off, Josh fell asleep texting. It says 'hey mom, love you.'"
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