Flash Fiction Challenge: “Three Sentences For Bear71”

Here’s your challenge.

Choose one of the following wild animals:







Bighorn Sheep


Now, write a three-sentence story from the perspective — first person POV — of that animal.

You are encouraged to anthropomorphize the animal — meaning, the animal acts and thinks as a human would. It’s okay to write about the animal as an animal, or the animal in the animal’s expected spaces, but it’s also fine to think outside of the box (a spy story featuring a cougar, a science-fiction story starring a wolf, a morality tale starring a mouse, etc.).

Any genre will do.

The stories should be PG-13. No sex or gore or strong profanity.

I know. Unusual for this site.

And here’s why:

Bear71 is a documentary and installation about the life and death of a tagged grizzly bear and the surveillance that surrounds this bear. The experience will present at Sundance New Frontier this year — information here — and the best stories of this bunch will become a part of the overall installation (they may, for instance, show up at the installation itself or be included as a part of the Bear71 social media outreach).

Why submit a story? It’s for a good cause and a poignant storytelling experience.

(Also, you retain all rights to your story and can do with it as you wish.)

You’ve got one week — till January 20th, noon EST, to get your stories in.

To submit: please post your three-sentence story in the comments below. Make sure to include a name to receive credit and/or a Twitter handle where appropriate.

Go forth and write.

120 responses to “Flash Fiction Challenge: “Three Sentences For Bear71””

  1. Smack!

    Herbert, my favorite son from last week’s hatching, is now crushed on the palm of the hand of yet another human too stupid to know that male mosquitoes can’t bite.

    Brace yourself for some Intravenous West Nile Special, wicked little girl.

  2. When I saw the bits and pieces – the fur, the bones, the soulless eyes staring up from inside a box, I knew I had stumbled far too close to a place no wolf should come upon in life.

    The door had been left wide open and the smells emanating from that shack were sickening and peculiarly human, as no animal could create such dense and toxic odors.

    And then I saw my sister and my brother (who had been missing for weeks), standing there, stiff, staring into space unmoving, with those soulless glass eyes.

    T. Reed – Composer, Writer, Creative @TAOXproductions

  3. And one more:

    Dance, they say, and I do, lifting my scarred paws in memory of the hot iron plates they trained me with, the rope jerking painfully through the raw wound in my nose.

    But I do not dance for you — I follow the steps of an older dance known only to my kind, for renewal and rebirth, making an offering of my pain to the Bear Mother in hopes that one day, if enough of us dance it, the concrete and buildings, metal and glass, will be sloughed away like a shed winter coat, and the land beneath will be as it was before you came.

    One paw in front of the other, no matter how much it hurts: dance, dance, dance.

  4. Chuffing, I step where you stepped, so close, yet you’re unaware. Your young follow you, frolicking behind as you forge smellblnd ahead through the snow. Almost purring, my long tail twitching, I ready myself to pounce.

  5. LOL- spelled my own name wrong! Disregard Begu, she’s my evil twin…

    Chuffing, I step where you stepped, so close, yet you’re unaware. Your young follow you, frolicking behind as you forge smellblnd ahead through the snow. Almost purring, my long tail twitching, I ready myself to pounce.

  6. I perch along the sunny ridge studying the unsuspecting humans marching like a parade of ants. They don’t see my paw as big as one of their puny heads; but they hear my mountain lion growl. Watching them scatter is more entertaining than batting around a three-legged rabbit.



  7. My meal is surprisingly sedentary. It makes slurred, unintelligible sounds of protest, but I drink my fill, waiting for the swat of a fleshy appendage that would mean my end, but never comes. It’s only after I’ve taken wing, the weight of the drugged, heady blood sloshing about in my gut, that I realize that flying home is going to be more difficult than expected.

  8. From the depths of a watery grave, I emerge. Hunger wracks my shivering frame and I stand naked on the riverbank, tenuously testing my wings in the cool night air. I can smell warm flesh on the wind, and take flight in search for blood. ~@wryson

  9. [OMG, BEARS! Two summers ago, my daughter and her boyfriend set out on an epic driving/camping/hiking journey through the Western Wilderness. Where there were BEARS. And yes, they visited Banff. They took SUCH gorgeous pictures and shared some amazing stories. Mostly about BEARS. I aged ten years, that summer. It pains me now, to imagine myself in the place of the BEAR, but how could I resist the challenge?]

    I’m a mother bear and I worry about my cubs, because that’s my job, worrying and defending and feeding my babies. I smell the threat before I see it, hear it as it comes panting and laughing through the thin cold clean air, climbing the winding trail without invitation to my home on the mountain. This pair of humans seems content to drink from the lake, to watch the lowering sun paint the clouds even as I watch them, to nuzzle each other before heading back the way they came, leaving me to worry another day.


  10. Clinging on for dear life, I wrap my antennas around thick coils, matted fur, blood splattered gums that sag with stinking saliva as I buzz my protests. The violent turn of the sow’s head spins me in every direction as I stab and stab at mile-high flesh and fur. I am a mosquito in crisis and should have been born a bee.

  11. Here’s my second, Wolf. More to come…

    They used to call me a ghost, preying on humans, hunting their herds – I supplied their nightmares, struggling to avoid their wrath.

    Then they called me a menace, called me vermin, hounding my footsteps – gunfire and fear filled my dreams.

    Now they call me endangered, at risk, protected – and now I take their sheep without the fear of retribution.

  12. The youngest carefully sniffed at the little box, his nose touched the screen and it bloomed to life.

    “Look, mom! It’s Yogi Bear!”

    “Thank gods.” The weary bear lumbered away, mumbling, “I need a drink.”

    Astrea Baldwin
    astrea at mindspring dot com

  13. Cougar

    I didn’t waste time as I tore through the forest’s underbrush, sights and scents flying past while I searched frantically for what I’d lost. A growl came from deep in my chest as I thought of the two toddlers that decided to sneak off with each other that night, my own little cub, Toby and his companion, the little furless human, Kiri. As I rounded the trail leading to the meadow deep in the woods, the tightness in my chest relaxed suddenly, the toddlers both frowning at me as I dared intrude on their little late night adventure.

  14. The other mages told me this type of magic was against Mother Nature’s will, that it would curse me forever more. I didn’t want to listen, for the humans had much more powerful magic than us mice-the power to control great, metal beasts! As my squeaks grew to human screams, I suddenly regretted my decision to defy Mother.

  15. Oh, god-oh, god-oh, god-oh, god-oh, god-oh, god-run-run-run-run-run-run-run-cat-cat-cat-cat-cat-cat-run-run-run-run-run oh, god-oh, god-oh, god-oh, god!
    Hey, cheese-cheese-cheese-cheese-cheese-cheese-cheese–

  16. those are great, guys!
    i’ve got two…

    Who needs a pack anyway. And I’m leaving with my head and tail high. I’ll lick my wounds later.

    Rabbit at two o’ clock, calculating trajectory. Diving, he’s spotted me and heading for the thicket, faster than anticipated. Abort, abort!

  17. When Kat cornered me in the pantry clutching armloads of seeds to my chest, she screeched for help. Thoughts of my wife and hungry children at home drove me and, unable to see better odds for escape, I darted between Kat’s legs as fast as–THUNK! Seeds flew from my cheeks as I felt something tear and then pain rising up from my back foot, but I didn’t stop running until I reached the comforting darkness of home.

    Eden Mabee

  18. 10 years and twice as many hearings later, my whiskers are grizzled, my fur is going gray, and I’ve become the kind of big bad scapegoat (scapewolf?) the press loves to hate. Law enforcement was my dream, my whole life — what will I do now? Whose idea was it to send a wolf undercover to check out the Pig Mafia, anyway?

  19. Bear 16

    I first learned of people three years ago when I discovered grain near the road that ran through my woods and back then they used to stop to watch me. Then, they called me a pest and brought me here, where I watch them through glass and wander an area from which there is no escape. They tell me I’m one of the lucky ones, but my cage tells me otherwise.

  20. Feeding time on Orbit One was always an ordeal, even when the gravity worked properly. Slava worked the the controls with an enormous shaggy paw directing food to his charges. The humans scratched and bit each other in their rush for the food, utterly ignoring the bear above them.

  21. “This really isn’t how I imagined things,” thought the bear as he stared, sadly, past the bars at the parading crowd of ever-changing children’s faces.

    “I thought it would all be honey and adventures.”

    He rolled his eyes heavenward and slumped back against the wall, “Bother.”

  22. I know he is there from the smell and the actions of the other animals. I pretend to eat and wait for him to make his move — click. Darn photographer scaring me like that.

  23. This block of Swiss cheese is infinitely larger than it first appeared from the outside. I’ve been chewing for days and the holes I’ve made are indistinguishable from the ones that already existed. I’m going to die here, surrounded by an unsolvable maze of dairy.

  24. This one is about the most humble of mother nature’s creatures, the grizzly bear.

    The musty scent of sawdust, made more familiar to me now than the smells of my childhood – the sweet smell of raindrops, the crushing scent of pine-needles at my feet. The smell of the mountains long since replaced with the stagnent, heavy stench of excitement and anticipation. The blue, never-ending sky replaced with flapping canvas; my freedom removed for this life, inprisoned.


  25. I felt more than I saw my two companions on either side of me as we closed in on it, trapping it against the white rotting hulk of a fallen tree. It was trembling, its eyes focusing on each of us in turn as it registered the fact that we had all the angles covered and there was no escape. Hunger gnawed at the base of my skull as I imagined the way it would taste when we finally closed the gap and ended the chase.

  26. A gentle, sweet smelling wind lifts my body higher into the cool spring air, the sun guiding me to the bright sheen of a fuzzy, supple arm.

    I land upon its wrist, the sharp scent of bug spray tickling my nose, but I pay no mind to it and nuzzle up between the long stalks of amber fur that sprout in sparse places across the expanse of human skin.

    Slowly, I suck and suck and suck and suck until my abdomen is filled to the bursting, and then I flap my gossamer wings hard and drift back up towards the sun.

  27. Mosquito

    It follows me everywhere I go, near constant and deafening, affording me only the briefest and most temporary respite. That buzzing, whining echo filling every moment of my existence. It’s probably just a nuerosis, psychosomatically conjured forth to plague my short days on this earth; but I’m just a mosquito, what would I know?


  28. The stupid, thick collar chafes the scruff of my neck, and my enormous, ridiculously manicured paws rest by my head, unable to help the situation.
    The children crawl over my solid, unmoving frame, tumbling to the carpet in front of the fire when they lose their balance, too stupid to hold onto my fur.
    Then again, their mother chose a giant wild animal for a household pet, so maybe it’s hereditary.

  29. Here’s my entry called: Golden Eagles that Ride Brown Bears

    It’s not really much of a fight because we know where to latch on, at the neck where with one thrust of our beak we can deal a deadly blow.

    Just to keep them scared, every once in a baby blue moon we make off with one of their cubs.

    We rule with an iron talon and they obey, our furry chauffeurs.

  30. This is one of those mornings, when foraging and looking for some breakfast, that the antlers feel particularly heavy.

    It’s going to be cold this year, colder than it has been before, and my doe and I need to be ready for that’s coming.

    I just want to make sure our fawns are going to be all ri-

  31. At the age of one, farmers attacked my den, taking the lives of my mother, brothers and sisters, leaving me, wolf an orphan, disconnected from my pack and home; like loneliness I roamed. Although weakened, left scarred by the extinguishment of my pack and all that I had come to know I was left with enough teachings to one day aggressively reclaim my dignity. My story is of recovery from forced removal, killing, dislocation, exile, displacement and callous disregard; however, I am free of paralyzing emotions and I am once again a part of a pack preserving nature’s delicate balance.


    Joyce Ann

  32. Mosquito

    The approaching light – blue, violet, so tantalizing – takes up the whole of my vision. It is more beautiful than the moon. As I incinerate myself upon it, I wonder: is this what being a firefly feels like?

    Twitter handle: @cvasilevski

  33. Bighorn sheep:

    Fine, let that other guy take the ewe. I might as well let Darwin have the last word. Besides, the fighting isn’t worth the headache afterwards at all.

  34. Unfortunately, the frozen traffic honking all the way down this mountain can’t see that I’m immobile too, that right now all I’m capable of doing is staring at gravel while my lady paces around me and shrieks at my back.

    I tell my lady this is just how it works, you know—one ram challenges another, a violent battle for dominance inevitably ensues—so please stop crying because, come on, I’m not even bleeding that much.

    My lady’s missing the real point here, which is that I’m the indisputable victor, and as soon as this guy helps me unhook my forehead from the front of his Dodge she and I are going to be very happy together.

  35. All righ, I’ll bite. I’m Liz Schroeder, @danzierlea on the tweets. Two submissions.

    Subject: the eagle.

    Eyesight isn’t everything. To get the big picture, I must distance myself from it; I climb for the stratosphere. Oh look, I can see my aerie from here!

    Subject: the cougar

    When that funny-lookin’ deer walks past this rock, I’m gonna jump on him. Wait…wait…now! Aww–this isn’t a–hey, let me out of here!

  36. Bear 71

    We were the finest of all creatures, loving the mountains, streams and forests deep.

    I thought that we had time enough to cross the iron rails, but I was wrong.

    Mournful, my child and I, who were not finished being bears.

  37. I’m not afraid of those creatures Ma calls ‘human’, “Be aware and remember they have guns.” she’s always sayin’ this to me. Well, when I grow up – I’m gonna scare every last one of them and when I’m done, Ma can pick any garden she wants to.

  38. Mosquito

    I fed today but it was strange and left me feeling empty and a dull ache started within me. The man was moving and seemed to be like any other but his smell was off and before I left he began eating one of the other humans. He seemed to be enjoying it so maybe I’ll give them another try but closer to the city this time.

  39. With the night beginning and my hunger growing stronger, I swoop and dive, riding the air currents, smelling the smoke of the grill and human sweat, looking for my meal.

    A giant of a man is standing nearby in a grease covered apron, completely unaware of me as I move closer, listening to the promising sound
    of blood pumping through his veins.

    Closing the distance between us, a nearby blue light grabs my attention and as curiosity gets the better of me, I fly closer and closer…BZZZ!

Leave a Reply to oldestgenxer Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: