Goldie raced up the steps to the front door of the small cabin. She doubled over, catching her breath from running through the woods. As she was bent down, she peeked over her shoulder. Seeing no movement behind her, no one present bursting from the trees into this small clearing, she stepped up to the door and stood on tiptoe to look in the diamond-shaped window in the front door.
The interior was dim, with light coming in from one window, and some light spilling through a doorway off to the side. All was quiet inside: no sign of movement. Goldie looked around again, then tapped lightly on the door with one knuckle.
Looking around once more, Goldie tried the knob. Miraculously, it was open. She was safe.
She eased in and leaned against the door as she closed it with a quiet click. "Hello?" she called. There was no sound of movement, but judging from the light spilling through that doorway, someone might be home. It was not her intention to intrude but she had finally made her escape and this was the safest place she had seen.
As Goldie's eyes adjusted to the dim interior, she saw a cozy living room. The shades were drawn on one window, but the other allowed some slanting rays in and her breath evened as she watched motes of dust dancing in the sunbeams. A few chairs, some shelves, no electronics. Good. Maybe these people were "off the grid".
Turning to her right, Goldie was drawn to the doorway streaming with bright, white light. Okay, not completely off-grid. That could only be flourescent. She crossed to the doorway and saw a table with breakfast still laid out.
Unbidden, Goldie felt the saliva burst into her mouth. She was jonesing for some of those pancakes. Why did these people leave in such a rush they left their breakfast on the table?
There was a serving platter full of pancakes, butter and honey on the table, and she found that the three bowls held some kind of porridge. Maybe Malt-o-meal or Cream of Wheat. It didn't look lumpy like oatmeal always did. She sniffed at the porridge but, finding a plate in a cabinet, piled on pancakes, slathered on the butter.
Goldie paused, looking for syrup, but decided not to raid her unknown hosts' pantry and opted for a smidge of the honey that had been set out. Goldie was so hungry she moaned with pleasure at each bite. Why was she so hungry? "Mmm... Ohh... Hmm..."
Goldie leaned back, her hefty appetite sated. Her head was clearing and she found herself jolted by a noise outside and rushed to peer out the window over the kitchen sink. Nothing.
She had escaped, but they'd be coming for her. Now that she was fed she needed to rest, to be better able to run when they came for her. Sleepy, she was so sleepy.
Back in the living room, she noticed for the first time a crude stairway going to a loft upstairs. Yes. Sleep. Wait, no. If she could grab a catnap down here, she'd have easier exit if needed.
Goldie tried the coziest looking chair - and almost lost herself in the abundance of fluff. No, no-no-no, she leapt out of the chair and stared at it in annoyance. Such a comfy-looking chair had no business being a death trap!
There was a window seat, and a very firm looking wingback chair that she decided to skip. The only other seat available looked comfortable enough, so she gave it a try. Hearing the frame crack, Goldie again leapt out of her seat. She wasn't fat! What the heck! It looked alright from her angle in front of the chair, and she didn't see the clearly broken leg at the back of the chair.
Goldie looked around, suddenly very tired indeed. The window seat? Should she try it? That would mean that if her captors emerged from the forest into this glen, they could quickly see her and drag her back.
Drat. She gave a side-long glance to the rickety stairway. She'd already broken a chair: dare she attempt climbing? Nothing for it but to try.
With a firm grip on the banister, Goldie ascended to the loft, where she saw three beds, a pair of dressers, and another window. Perfect. If she fell asleep near the window, she could see any danger approaching. Maybe. If she woke. It was a chance she had to take. She hadn't slept well in days.
Goldie lay down on the bed nearest the window - which was also the biggest - rolled around a little to find comfort, then gave up and tried the next bed. She was trying not to disturb the bedding, lying on top instead of under the comforter, but the comforter closed in on her like the comfy-looking chair downstairs. "Oh hell no!" She exclaimed, bolting out of the bed and collapsing on the smallest of the three. Not comfortable, not big enough for her, but by now Goldie was so exhausted she didn't care and quickly passed out.
Her dreams were fraught with colorful bears making her dance when she was too tired or stoned to do it. She was moving through clouds of smoke, looking for clean water to drink, and finally running out the door only to be dragged back inside by a green bear grinning maniacally.
She woke up to a blood-curdling scream: "MAAAaaaaa!" and screamed in return "AAAaaaah!" at the bear cub staring at her and screaming for his mother.
As the mama bear's head rose above those rickety stairs, Goldie protested, "Wait, wait-wait!" Mama bear's mouth gaped open, but she drew no nearer.
"Pops? You gotta see this," she called down the stairs.
"Please," Goldie was holding her hands up in a peaceful shrug to show her innocence. "No one - I don't - No one was home. I just wanted -"
"What? You wanted what?" Growled the big bear now joining the others.
"I'm being followed. I'm in danger. I just wanted to rest before..."
"Get out." That big third bear wasn't hearing it.
"But I -" Mama bear came to the bedside and pulled on her arm to get her to stand. "Best you do as he says," she stated. The family watched as she stepped toward the stairway. They watched her begin her descent, then Mama bear followed, motioning for the others to remain aloft for a while.
At the bottom of the stairs, Goldie reiterated, "I'm in danger. I need help. Is there anything you can..."
"Sh..." Mama bear angled her ear to the door and crossed to the window with the closed blinds. She pressed down one of the slats and peered out. "Ugh," came the growl. She whispered. "Here they come," and tapped on the banister a rapid beat. Her husband appeared at the top of the steps and seeing her motion with her head toward the door he and the cub descended.
With Mama bear consulting with the family, Goldie couldn't resist peeking. She bent to the window sill and pinched two slats together at the corner to see what was so distressing. Her heart raced in a panicked pulse as she watched the five brightly colored bears striding toward the cabin. How did they know?
Dropping the blinds, Goldie backed away from the window, tripping over an ottoman and collapsing into the super-soft chair that started to swallow her again until strong, furry paws pulled her out. She hadn't heard the family's whispered conversation, but now Mama bear herded Goldie and the cub into a small doorway hidden in the wood paneling under the stairs. "Sh." She repeated as the three of them crawled into a dark space. "His cousins."
It's FICTION FRIDAY!
Every Friday, a new flash fiction story, inspired by reader comments (if possible). Feel free to leave a prompt for future use in the comments below. I hope you liked that story, based on the prompt "Jerry bears" given by J Lenni Dorner (of Blog of J Lenni Dorner) during my 2019 #AtoZ Challenge.
Playlist in the background while writing this: Psychedelic Rock
If you choose to join in for Fiction Fridays, post a link to your story below in the comments. If there's interest or participation, I may start suggesting prompts here for the following week.