Friday Fiction - "The Big Rock"

Each week, I look forward to sharing fun stories with my writing friends. To read more writing, skip over to my wonderful friend, Peej's blog Patterings for a great treat!

Today, I'm posting a favorite scene in A Home for Phoebe. I saw a giant rock, like the one in this scene. My camp leader said it was left by the glaciers that once covered the state of New York. Thinking Biblically, that must have happened soon after the Flood. Enjoy exploring the woods with Phoebe!


One afternoon, Phoebe followed a deer trail on the other side of the stream, and Butch snuffled along with his nose to the ground. He crashed away into the bushes. She knew he’d come find her again when he tired of chasing squirrels and chipmunks. The trail led higher and higher. The path was so steep that in some places she had to use her hands to scramble over rocky ledges.

The top of the hill was crowned with a giant rock. It had to be as tall as Granny’s barn, at least! Phoebe walked around it, in awe of its immense size. One edge had cracks and ledges covered with dried lichen. Phoebe gripped a ledge with her fingers and curled her bare toes in the crevices. Hugging the rough surface, she managed to slither one leg and arm and her belly on to the top.

Standing up, she could see for miles down the valley. The wind blew her hair and made her eyes water. She could see hill after hill and a winding river threading its way through more hills, until they blended into the haze of the horizon. She raised her arms and imagined soaring above the world like an eagle. The cold wind made her shiver. She sat down and hugged her knees to her chest, still gazing off to the land of Rip Van Winkle and his little men.

Suddenly, she heard some grunting and scuffling. She thought it might be Butch, but two black bear cubs tumbled into view. Phoebe crept close to the edge and lay on her belly. Maseppa warned her about baby animals. No matter how cunning they appeared, she should keep her distance. Mother animals were the most dangerous things in the forest. She looked about in worry for Butch. “I hope that silly pup doesn’t find me now!”

She giggled as she watched the cubs play. They yelped and tackled each other. One tried to climb a sapling, but didn’t get too far. The other bit his brother’s paw and pulled him to the ground for another wrestling match.

A low bellow stopped the game. Phoebe jumped in fear! Both cubs froze and looked back down the hill. They galumphed through the bracken back to their mother. Phoebe lay still and listened, not even breathing. She could feel her heart pounding. She listened for a long time until the forest was silent again.

She closed her eyes and basked in the warm sun. She must have dozed for the chill of a tree’s shadow made her shiver. The sun hung low to the west, and the valley already lay in a gloom. She slid tummy-down and feet-first from the boulder. Listening for the sound of the stream, she turned her feet toward the camp. It was hard to see the path in the twilight, but with the stream before her and the hill behind her, she couldn't lose her way.

Phoebe loved the world of twilight. The birds’ songs became softer, and the woods closed around her. By the time she could see the beckoning campfire, the night had hidden the trail, and a sliver of the moon was climbing above the trees.


Lynda S. said...

Makes me long for a walk in the bush—bears included!

Patty Wysong said...

Mother bears. *shiver* I agree with Lynda about wanting to go for a long walk in the woods, though. =]

Catrina Bradley... said...

What a lovely day! I felt like I was there with Phoebe.

Cal said...

Morning, Yvonne,
I enjoyed the bear story and plan to use some of your stories with my grandchildren when I teach in their home school this next year. I especially like your use of active voice and the descriptive verbs. The vocabulary will stretch theirs! And the pictures! Great. As a mother, I remembered that children are children whether they be bears cubs or humans!


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