Flash Fiction Challenge: The Three Little Bears

bear cub ear grooming SD 1995
Three bear cubs grooming
photo by K.S. Brooks

The little blonde-haired girl watched as the bear cubs groomed each other.

Disgusting, she thought. But they were occupied, and that would give her the chance she’d been waiting for to sneak into their house and steal back the basket of goodies she was going to take to her grandmother.

What she didn’t know was that someone else was watching her, and he meant to get that basket of goodies. Just the thought of it made him wag his tail in anticipation…

In 250 words or less, tell us a story incorporating the elements in the picture. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until Tuesday at 5:00 PM Pacific Time.

On Wednesday afternoon, we will open voting to the public with an online poll for the best writing entry accompanying the photo. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.

On Friday afternoon, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature. Then, at year end, the winners will be featured in an anthology like this one. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

Entries only in the comment section. Other comments will be deleted. See HERE for additional information and terms.

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6 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: The Three Little Bears”

  1. In the woods, far from her mother’s eagle eye, Goldie sadly loosens her coiled braid and allows the golden sheaf to ripple down her back—when she glimpses the three bears doing that revolting grooming thing…

    Here are the thieves who stole the goodies meant for her ailing grandmother! Carpe diem, Goldie murmurs as the door of their quaint cottage swings open….she could dash in and out, with her basket…she knows to move lightly as breeze…what she does not know is that wicked eyes are watching…

    Wolf moves lightning-quick; in a flash he’s inside the cottage, basket clutched in greedy paws. Girl and Wolf collide at the door. Goldie’s scream brings the bears rushing back into the cottage. The five stare at each other…if it were just the girl, Wolf thinks, he’d strike her unconscious and escape with the goodies….damn all bears!

    Father Bear consults the Akashic Records and quickly gets the picture. “We are not thieves,” he addresses the girl in a gentle growl. “If we’d known that basket was meant for your Granny, we’d have left it right there by the riverbank.” He turns to Wolf. “And you! If I ever catch you skulking around…” He gestures for Wolf to split; Wolf skulks out, relieved.

    Goldie’s terror melts the heart of Baby Bear. “Hey pa, what say we escort her to her Granny’s house? After we share our porridge with her? And then let’s walk her back home, shall we? Just in case that creepy Wolf’s still hangin’ around…”

  2. Dream Keeper, Medicine Keeper and Suthyra Keeper, the Three Bears heard a warrior’s prayer asking to become the most powerful, most feared of all warriors with but the touch of his hands. They decided to teach this prideful warrior a lesson.

    “You have the power to do all you ask, use it wisely,” they said.

    The warrior won all battles. He was powerful. Enemies feared him. However, not two moon passed before he became miserable. All his ponies, blankets and robes were golden stone. He couldn’t eat unless someone fed him like a baby. His wife and children became golden statues when he reached to hold them. He couldn’t build a fire to make his prayer. All he could do was fall to his knees pleading, “Creator, take this curse from me.”

    The Three Bears appeared telling him to wash three times in the first river he found. The third time he washed himself the curse lifted and all returned to the way it had been before.

    The Three Bears scattered the gold in the mountains. Redmen know the curse and the evil this yellow rock brings. This curse is why Redmen wear silver and avoid the yellow stone.

    The Three Bears decided to make summoning them difficult. Dream Keeper and Medicine Keeper became the star patterns Big Bear and Little Bear where are found the Big and Little Dippers. Suthyra Keeper became the Spirit Keeper of the North and remains the totem of Medicine People.

  3. She slipped through the back door, away from the three bears. The unfamiliar house challenged her speed and silence but their attention focused on the grooming chore gave her some freedom. A quick snatch and grab and she creeped out the way she entered the house. She peered around the corner of the house to check on the bears, still occupied. Without a thought she turned the other way and skipped into the woods.

    The blonde-haired girl whistled a jaunty tune as she skipped down the path through the woods. Well, until she heard an echoing whistle that matched her tune. It stopped her cold.

    A quick look around revealed nothing so she started her song again. The echo returned, as well as a large wolf. He stepped onto the path in front of her.

    “Nice basket,” he said. “Gimmie the goods.”

    She smiled but said nothing. Ready to continue on her path, she whistled again. The wolf unable to resist the tune joined her. When he stood fast on the path to block her she stepped to the side to go around.

    “The basket,” he said. “Pass it over. Pay the toll.”
    “This basket?” she asked. “Granny said to never give it up to strangers. But maybe just this once.” She reached inside and pulled out a .38. “You were saying?”

    She whistled her song again to the percussion of gun blasts. The wolf didn’t echo a reply.

  4. The goodies, baked fresh that morning had been through many different paws that day and she was determined to get them back, no matter the cost.

    Sugar, flour and fruit were in short supply and it would be another week before she could afford more ingredients. If she did not get them back and deliver them to her grandmother, the sales at ‘Grannies Cafe’ would plummet and they would most likely not make the rent.

    Those bears were really getting into grooming, obsessively and compulsively so. What triggered in their brains for them to continue this behavior, she had no idea. But, it was her best chance to grab the goods and make a run for it.

    She leaped into action and in one continuous swoop, retrieved the basket and dove through the same window she had used to enter the cabin. Like a ninja in the night, she was gone in an instant. Not one bear noticed her stealthy departure and they all continued grooming.

    That was too easy, she thought to herself as she scurried down the path to grandmother’s house.

    “Whoa!” the wolf barked as he stepped onto the path in front of her, the basket falling to the ground and the contents scattering.

    “What the heck …” she stammered as she tried to understand what had just happened.

    The bears looked on from their front porch, each eating a fresh blueberry muffin and wondering why the little blond girl had stolen their basket of pine cones.

  5. Enthusiastic but clumsy, they were all over each other. They made a big show of it, licking and scratching with occasional squeals, snarls, roars and faux biting and clawing.

    If you observed closely, you would have seen that one of the cubs was not quite into the grooming and the horsing around. His efforts were casual and unfocused, his attention elsewhere as he constantly scanned the surrounding terrain. You would have felt strongly that this particular cub was waiting for something.

    Every now and then, he would stiffen, stand on his hind feet and look around and up into the skies.

    Suddenly, he left his siblings and dashed off towards the mouth of a cave a few hundred feet away. He ran hard, squealing. His confused siblings stopped their activities and watched him in brief confusion, then went after him. He spun around and seemed to harangue them about something. They reluctantly backed away and stood up on their hind legs, watching him as he resumed his rush to the cave.

    A second or two after he disappeared into the cave, the earthquake hit hard. It was a monster that tossed the earth around like it was balanced on a tuning fork bounced off a wall. There was a loud rumbling, and the air started to fill with dust as the rock slide above the cave gathered momentum. The two cubs outside caught a brief glimpse of their mother and their sibling before the rocks obliterated them.

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