Bear Hunting by Brekan Blakeslee

FictionIssue 26: Shifting

It had been three weeks since her girlfriend was eaten by a bear and she still couldn’t talk about it without laughing. Her girlfriend hadn’t been eaten so much as chewed, with bites taken out of some vital areas, so saying eaten ensured people knew that her girlfriend was dead, whereas saying mauled could lead to confusion.

She and her girlfriend had argued right before her girlfriend left, and the last things they said to each other were:

“I’m angry at you, but I still love you.”


“I’m angry at you too, but I still want you to have a fun time.”

Then, after her girlfriend shouldered her pack and walked off into the woods, she stopped on the drive home to pick up the kind of beer her girlfriend didn’t like and got day drunk and masturbated. And while she was enjoying the relaxing combination of being mildly buzzed and letting her vibrator do all the work, thinking how easy it was only pleasing herself, her girlfriend was being eaten by a bear that probably wasn’t even particularly hungry.

The funeral would have been closed casket if the family hadn’t chosen cremation. She asked her girlfriend’s mother if she could have some of the ashes, and her girlfriend’s mother said not to be ridiculous, she wasn’t divvying up her daughter’s remains among all her friends. Later, her girlfriend’s brother stopped by with a small box of ashes and told her not to tell his mom. She told him to choose something of his sister’s to remember her by. But when he asked which things were hers and which were his sister’s, she looked around and realized she couldn’t remember.

“That carving,”  she said, “the one on the mantel. That was hers.”

And then she laughed because it was a wooden bear her girlfriend had bought as a joke in a tourist shop in the Adirondacks. She tried to explain why it was so funny, but she couldn’t stop laughing. Her girlfriend’s brother said he’d come back later when the shock had worn off.

She put her girlfriend’s ashes on the mantel next to the bear. She thought it would be nicely symmetrical if she could put the bear’s ashes on the other side of the mantel. The bear that ate her girlfriend, not the wooden bear. That was what she said to her girlfriend’s brother the next time she saw him.

“We should go bear hunting,” she said.

She said it loudly because she was drunk and a guy at the bar gave her a weird look. Her girlfriend’s brother said he thought she should probably call it a night, even though it was still afternoon.

“I’m going to kill that bear,” she said, finishing her beer. “I’m going to kill it, and cremate it, and then I’m going to put its ashes on the mantel and spit into them every day.”

“That’s really intense,” her girlfriend’s brother said.

“I’m intense,” she said, and then she went home.

The next morning she had a hangover, three text messages from her girlfriend’s brother, and a shipping notification for a bearskin rug.

ive been thinking, the first text from her girlfriend’s brother said, ur right we should kill that bear!!!

What I should have said is ‘I’ve been drinking’ lol, said the second text from her girlfriend’s brother.

Please don’t try to kill the bear, ok? said the third text from her girlfriend’s brother.

I like you better when you’re drunk, she texted back.

I’m just afraid of the consequences, he replied.

She considered the possible consequences and decided she wasn’t afraid of any of them.

(This is an extract from “Bear Hunting”. Read the full fiction piece in SAND 26.)

Brekan Blakeslee grew up in the woods of Pennsylvania tending to an animal graveyard and now lives in Seattle tending to broken dolls and old bones. Their debut novel Probably It Will Not Be Okay is available from Publication Studio. Brekan holds an MFA from the University of Washington Bothell in Creative Writing & Poetics.