Friday, March 25, 2011

Cathy Webster's Week - On The River Side - #FridayFlash

Understand why the fuss, HERE.
Picture credits on this post.
In continuation to Cathy Webster's week, I present you a story featuring no one less than Cathy herself!

For a better enjoyment, I suggest you also read her interview here at Randomities, and her answers to the Bernard Pivot Blogfest.  


On The River Side

The chilly wind blew on Cathy’s hair, making it shine bright against the reflection of late winter’s snow. Where she stood, the river was quiet and inviting, its water gurgling softly in her ears. Further ahead it grew in speed and strength, the waterfalls composing another spectacle.

Picture credits
But she wanted the quiet now. A tiny bird flew past her and landed on a pine tree at her right. She smiled broadly, recognizing the Chickadee, and waited for it to settle down. It sang as if it had arrived specially for a private concert. She couldn’t feel merrier, except that now she missed someone to share this moment with. Strong arms embraced her from behind. She hadn’t heard Dave arriving, but she recognized him instantly by his touch, his scent, and his smile buried in her neck. She leaned back to increase the contact and they stood there, enjoying the moment.

All of the sudden, the bird stopped chipping and flew away. Both Cathy and Dave frowned and looked around, unable to identify the source of its agitation. As their breathing calmed down, they heard before seeing the loud group of teenagers on the other side of the river. They were about ten, she counted roughly, and they were chatting, shouting and listening to some music that sounded like garbage being dumped. Brats, she thought, releasing herself from Dave’s embrace.

They both went upriver to their one-day camp, being horrified at the view of the turbulent group right on the other margin. They were setting the tents under the supervision of one single adult. He was a robust man, she could tell, but from that distance there wasn’t much else to see. She thanked all gods for not having brought the kids, or they’d be crossing the freezing water to discuss the latest game or Lady Gaga’s concert. She snorted out loud, giving Dave a good chuckle.

An abrupt silence spread across the river bank. Everyone turned their back to them. She could feel them squinting to see between the ancient trees. There was a small commotion, which the adult in charge was trying to control. She saw him waving at the kids to pack their things up again as silently as possible. There were whines and restrained sobs but they managed to gather up with a certain order.

Cathy and Dave looked at each other. He went to their tent to pick up his binoculars, while she watched the group reach the irregular stone path they had used to cross the river in the morning. She sighed. The loud kids were coming their way.

Dave poked her in the shoulder. “Uh, I think I know why they gave up their camp.” To her inquiring look, he continued, “I’m not completely sure, but I think I saw movement between the trees. Something big.”

Not a bear, is it?” she asked, her voice pitching high with panic. “They should be hibernating; it’s still winter!”

Well, it seems that this one is an early waker.” She grabbed his arm with such force that Dave had to take a deep breath not to groan. “It’s okay honey, the bear was going in the opposite direction. They must be crossing the river just for precaution,” he finished nodding to the waving adult with thirty kids behind him.

Cathy froze in place as the man reached her view field. Dave watched worriedly her face lose all its color. “Are you ok?”

Yeah,” she babbled, staring at the smiling man who introduced himself as Carlos.

While Dave and Carlos chatted amicably, Cathy noticed that the group was heavily packed. “Are you planning a long stay?” asked David, while Cathy twitched her hands surreptitiously.

Only a few days,” said Carlos. The kids wanted some adventure, so I’m giving them.” He grinned.

After taking a deep breath, Cathy finally managed to muster some words, “Gee, I can’t imagine spending the night in this cold.” She shuddered under her thick sweater.

An hour later, Cathy and Dave had packed up to leave and Carlos approached to say goodbye. A boy that seemed very uncomfortable with his limbs’ length was close behind. 

If you’re crossing back the river, I’d suggest you leave all your food behind,” Carlos said at some point. “That bear must be very hungry and it can smell food from miles away. We were very lucky that it went away.”

What about you? We're going home, but the bear might turn back for your food,” asked Dave, concerned about the kids' safety.

I don't think it will turn around,” replied Carlos, “but if it does, I'm prepared to deal with it.” He finished patting his right side. Cathy didn't seem very happy about his intentions, and seeing her closed face he added, “The gun is my last resource, of course, but I won't hesitate to use it if it comes to that. The kids are my priority.”

His concern about her opinion made a new light shine in her eyes. Feeling her face heat up, she knelled down harshly to remove all her food from her backpack. Dave did the same, although grudgingly. When he put the chocolate bars and homemade sandwiches on the boy’s had, he let out a “nomnom”. Cathy showed him her cringed teeth, which prompted the boy to step back as if she were the bear itself.

They said their final goodbyes and headed separate ways. Cathy and Dave walked in silence for two good hours, afraid to make too much noise and call the bear’s attention. It was only when the spotted the parking lot Dave said, “Don’t you think Carlos looks just like Tony Soprano?”

Ah, you think so?” replied a flushed Cathy. She looked away to prevent her husband to notice, so she didn’t see his amused smile.

That fecking bear almost ruined our day,” she added to change subject. “If it weren’t for it, those obnoxious kids wouldn’t have seen us and come our way.”

Honey,” said Dave, cupping her cheek with his hand, “it’s hard not to notice you in this pink sweater.” 


Cathy Webster lives on the sunshiny banks of the Muskoka River near Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada. She shares her rustic, 131-year-old log cabin with her new husband, Dave, two good-looking sons, two cats, one smallish dog and some squirrels in the attic. When she's not blogging at Life on the Muskoka River or coveting her new Kindle, she's designing magazines, camping at one of Ontario's gorgeous provincial parks, or fishing on the riverbank. Some day she thinks she might try writing a novel. Some day ... but you're not holding your breath, are you?


  1. Haha! Cathy's wearing a pink sweater around a bear in the woods?

  2. --Laura: It's more like the bear is around her. :P

  3. The best part of this story was Cathy's sort of crush on Carlos. I'd have liked to have seen more focus on this. Also, I'm really glad you didn't make an awkward 'oh the kids are actually special needs' moment or anything like that - not sure if it even occurred to you but if it did - good choice not to go there.

    Good slice of life.

  4. --Carrie: Glad you had a good chuckle. :)

    --Louise: Thanks for the thoughtful feedback. I appreciate it very, very much!

    As for your Cathy's crush and my approach on the kids, they have a reason to be. I am bound to Cathy's interview to write this story.

    Finally, on a regular story, I don't think I'd go for the "special needs" thing either. ;)

  5. Does a bear shit in the woods? Maybe, but I certainly would if I ran into one! Funny story, Mizz Mari! Thanks ever so much for writing and all youse writer folks for commenting! oxoxoxo

  6. Very cute, Mari. I'm not surprised to find Cathy likes it.

    Go bear hugs!

  7. Mari, I can so easily see Cathy in this situation, and you described (what I believe would be) her reaction perfectly! Great fun story!

    Minor crit - where you say "loose" I believe you mean "lose".

  8. --Cathy: I'm so glad you liked the story! *whew* I was so nervous. O.o

    --John: Thanks! It was meant to include as many information I had gathered as possible. :)

    --Deanna: Thanks! :D

    I always type an extra "o" when writing that verb. Gah! Thanks for the tip.

  9. I bet Cathy could take on that bear. Fun story Mari. A great spotlight on Cathy this week.

  10. Love it! Such a great story and a great character. *waves to Mari and Cathy* :)

  11. Mari, are you sure you didn't just transcribe a story Cathy told you about herself? :-D I'd be bugging out too!

  12. Oh, this gave me a good laugh. I want a picture of Cathy in that pink sweater! Nice work, Mari.

  13. Good story! That was a lot of fun to read.

  14. There's a bear in there and a pink sweater as well.
    Lovely and a bit of fun.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  15. --Laurita: Hm, I don't think Cathy would like to take the risk. Neither would I, if I were in her place. ;P

    --Sam: Thanks! *waves back* :D

    --Gineveve (G.P.): Ohhhhh! That's an awesome idea!

    Hey Cathy, would you send out a pic of you in a pink sweater? It doesn't even need to have a bear around you. ;D

    --Eric and Adam: Thanks!

  16. Love the ending line, brough the whole predicatment into prespective. Noticed one small typo in 5th paragrpah. "She could feel they squinting" -I think they is suppose to be them.

  17. --Laura: I'm glad that you liked the story, and that you noticed my intention. :)

    Thanks for pointing out the typo. Fixed!

  18. Hee! Adorable. It's a fun Cathy week. ;-)

  19. --Jodi: Thanks! I had much fun too. :)

  20. You know what? I don't think I even own a pink sweater. (I'll have to remedy that.) I DO, however, have a prom-like dress I like to call "the big pink nightmare." Strapless, slinky, exactly the kind of dress someone my age and my shape should avoid at all costs. Worse, I wore it to a wedding from my husband's ex-wife's family (they still love him - who can blame them?) This sounds like something very blog-worthy... because doesn't everybody have a big pink nightmare?

  21. --Cathy: You do have to remedy that!;P In the meantime, please do blog about your pink nightmare, I'd love to see it, and I have the feeling that everyone else would love too. *grinz*

    As for my own, ahem, no. *coughs* No pink nightmare for me, thanks. :P

  22. Nice story. So after Cathy and Dave left Carlos called the guy in the bear suit back to camp and they all made S'mores with there new found chocolate bars? Or is that just my sick and twisted mind at work?

  23. --Jon: I wish I had thought of that! bwahahah! Love your twisted mind. :D

  24. No, no, no... Cathy would NOT have abandoned perfectly good chocolate bars, are you kidding????
    She left him salad and tunafish... the good stuff, she packed out in her pink sweater!

  25. Mari - EVERYONE has a big pink nightmare... it's not always a dress, though...

  26. --Cathy: I had the impression that, in case Jon's version of the story were not true, you'd make an exception... It seems I was mistaken, so I'll correct it the next time. *cue song*

    As for the pink nightmare, I think I can consider all the fluffy, pink, cute awards down there as one, can't I? Especially since this one adds to the count? :P


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