We drove north towards the fires in the northern territories and silently turned up the gravel road to the oil rig where the grizzly ate the woman. She opened the blue plastic door to the porta potty and found the bear. It attacked. Before she could close the door or run away she was on the ground with a mouth of bear teeth rending her arm. Her screams drew us like a pump draws oil. We said we beat the bear with tools and hands. We said we yelled and pulled at fur and stuck fingers in beady black eyes while teeth ripped her arm off and claws tore open her chest. That’s our story because dried blood in the oil sands can’t talk. The smoke from fires and the fog of memory stung my eyes to tears and I could still see her from where we really were, behind the porta potty. We yelled. I threw my boot but the bear growled and that was the end. It was big and wild and real. Her last breaths bubbled through the blood in her throat and the bear made off with the arm no one ever found.
Blood in the Oil Sands
Flash Fiction by Parker McIntosh
Published in Spring 2017