“Going to California”
“I may not believe in myself, but I believe in what I am doing” – Jimmy Page
He woke to the sound of the wake beating rhythmically against a rocky coastline Oregon shore. He lay on His side until He oriented Himself in space and time: He was travelling alone, as He had been for weeks, due South down the American West Coast, determined to find His love somewhere in far-off territory of California.
He blinked the sand from His lashes and shook the dreams from His hair. Standing barefoot in sharp sands, He greeted the rising sun, stepping backwards until His heels passed the precipice and crossed into the rolling tide. He waded backwards deeper into the water, holding His hands up to the sky and framing the brilliant daylight star with His fingertips.
He spent quite some time holding Himself in various poses knee to waist deep in water before trudging back in to shore. He sat atop a massive stone, drying His skin in the morning sun as He pulled a bunched-up pair of socks from His worn hiking boots and gently worked them right-side out, taking special care not to tear at the many loose threads and tatters.
He stood atop the Hill of the rocky cliff-line overlooking His transient’s port, His one-day home bay. He slipped the seven-shot revolver from its side holster and checked the chamber for ammunition: there was only one bullet left to His name. He had traded every last paper Canadian bill He had to a passerby on a trail coming out of Victoria for a bottle of Jack Daniels two months prior. He kept a small bundle of Euros in His pack and carried three loonies in His pocket for good luck. He used His American bills for tinder on wet nights. He had been nursing the bottle for months as He made his way down South from British Columbia, tracing the Western coastline of the massive continent. He checked His latitude by the stars each night to approximate His current territory. He was not worried about overshooting His target: His final destination would make itself quite obvious to Him, and He had miles and miles to go before He could sleep soundly once more.
He rested on a log in a clearing above the coast, sitting with a can of cheese in His hand and a bag of saltine crackers in the other. A coat of morning dew still lay in beads on the forest floor, coating the woods and grass around Him, and the trees echoed with the gentile melody of morning birdsong.
He heard a deep rumble in the pit of His inner ear and felt a low electric hum in the air: He turned His eyes skyward to catch three airplanes flying in formation a mile overhead. He strained His eyes to focus on the jets and not their streams, trying to catch a glimpse of a marking, some symbol of recognition; He knew not all planes were the same. Come on, He thought to Himself — where did you boys come from?
The planes dipped out of sight, obscured by a cloud of aspen trees with fireball leaves and a wall of tall evergreens in the foreground.
The silence was broken by a chirp.
The airplanes faded from His mind like the memories of summer as His eyes fell to the fiery-red thicket before Him. He sat in silence as a gentile wind passed through the circular clearing, and the birds began to sing once more.
He heard a branch snap and saw a rustle in the aspen branches before Him as a large Bear stepped out into the clearing. They caught each other’s eyes in and both froze in place, standing completely still for a split second before the bear broke form and began treading lightly towards Him:
Fuck. He jumped on top of the log, tossing His crackers and canned cheese aside and slowly reached for His revolver. The bear was hefty, but it could not have weighed much more than two hundred and fifty pounds, two hundred and seventy-five tops: it looked more like a black bear than a grizzly — it approached Him like a young and nervous hunter, but it was far too large for a normal-sized bear cub. He drew His bead on the bear when it was about twenty-five meters away from Him. “HEY!” He shouted at the Bear, “You Better BACK the Fuck OFF, I’m Warning You!” The bear hunched down lower to the ground and started running faster at Him.
The last .44 caliber shot went off in His hand, but the bear was already upon Him.
He held His Hands to His face as the bear mauled His core, gouging a hole in His rib cage and abdomen with its piercing teeth and iron jaws. He drove His thumb into the bullet wound on the beast’s shoulder – the Bear roared in pain, lurching it’s head up from His haggard body and clamping down on His left forearm:
He feels the teeth sink through His skin – in an instant His mind starts to drift far away from His body, the Bear, His obligations, and the quiet wooded meadow resting along the coast of the Oregon shore. His eyes drift towards the Heavens and He sees Her face in the clouds above Him – gentile plucks from harp-strings echo through the woods as He hears a soft Voice calling to Him serene from the distance:
“It’s ok – everything is going to be just fine. Don’t worry – you tried your best. Don’t worry, Dear, things would be much worse had you never been born. Believe Me.”
A dull pain in his gut pulls Him back to reality. Suddenly, resistance is not as hard as it seems. He lifted His hands to the face of the bear, placing His palms squarely on each cheekbone of the gorging animal, and drove both of His thumbs deep into the eye sockets of the beast, twisting the nails until He felt the severing of each Optic nerve behind His fingertips.
The bear kicked its head up and moaned in agony:
He fumbled His hands through the grass and gravel, searching for anything He could use as a blunt object. His hand chanced upon the bottle laying lopsided on the ground beside Him — He seized the neck in His right hand and scrambled to His feet. He raised the glass high above His head as the bear the air sniffed the air blindly and brought the bottle down upon it’s brow, then rained multiple blows on it’s dome in rapid succession, striking the cap of it’s skull over and over again:
Finally, He tossed the bottle aside and lifted the large rock next to His feet over His head. The bear was still stunned and sniffing the ground as He leapt from the top of the log, careening the stone in a devastating spike down upon its head:
The bear’s body stiffened as blood squirted out from under the rock. A sickening crack echoed through the trees as the boulder split its cranium, planting the head of the beast deep into the earth beneath the stone. The bear rolled into its left shoulder and the rock tumbled off to the side of its’ head; It was obviously and seriously hurt, barely breathing, and bleeding from the ears profusely.
Thinking quickly, He went for the bottle of whiskey — He picked up the bottle and dumped the contents onto His torn-open abdomen. The liquid burned like fire as it seeped through new wounds. He smashed the empty hull on the bloody stone, still holding it by the neck as the bottom shattered and gave way. He set the shank on the animal’s neck and punched a hole square through the throat of the bear –Blood spilled from the arteries in its’ neck as He severed its windpipe in two places. The bear gave one final shudder, exhaled deeply, and never breathed in again.
He stepped away from the slain animal and sat on the log, His knees still shaking.
His peripherals warned Him not to look down to His core. He reached down to feel His side and sent sharp pains shooting through His body. He pulled His hand back up to His heart – it was stained red with His blood. The leaves rustled in the trees above, and He felt a deep sleep coming on.
His conscience flickered, straining to keep Him awake:
Fuck, No, No: I cant — There is too much to be done,
Miles to go. Miles to go. Miles to go. Miles to go before I sleep.
“Fuck, gotta get up — up, up! Get Up! Come On, Fella, Gotta Get UP!” He stood on His wobbly knees and took a step towards His pack. He pulled his old faithful Bowie knife from the side-sheath and squeezed the hilt until the knuckles on His right hand turned white; “Fuck, Fuck, FUCK! Fuck man, You’re going to be All Right!”
The trees shook behind Him. A massive creature stepped out of the forest and into the clearing; it was much, much bigger than the last bear that walked in.
“Sweet, Mother of Jesus, you’re one big-ass Mother Fucker, aren’t you?! Shit Girl, you look like you’re from the Kodiaks!” She looked to Him, then to Her slain child laying dead in the dirt, then back to Him. Her eyes grew wide as a snarl built to a full roar until she was bellowing at Him with everything she had. He screamed right back at her: “Well Come and FuCKiN’ get me you Big, Ugly Mother-FUCKER! I just Killed your Fuckin’ Kid – what the Fuck are You GONNA DO ABOUT IIT!!!”
He lifted the blade from his side and held the broken bottle in His mangled left hand — The bear dropped down to its’ front legs, pawing it’s pads into the dirt: