All of her life, Kaitlin is drawn to wounded animals that need her help. Yet, when she follows an injured turtledove, and its mate, into the woods near her remote cabin in Alaska, she finds out the bird really doesn’t need her help. The only question she has now is why did the two birds lead her away from her home to a place where a polar bear waited to attack her. The thing that bothers her the most is, why is she so drawn to the two Scotsmen who rescued her from it?
After an hour or so, she saw the birds light on the branch of a tree close to the far edge of the forest. Beyond the woods was the vast tundra leading to what she thought was the ocean, or perhaps it was the Bering Straits. She had no idea. Just as she reached the tree, the wounded bird flew up to the uppermost branch of the tree, showing off the fact that there wasn’t anything wrong with it, after all.
“What the heck?” Kat said with a frown. The only reason she’d followed the stinking birds out here was that one had flown the entire way dipping and fluttering around as though it was wounded. Was there a nest all the way up there? If that was the case, she wasn’t about to climb up there and get it. It had to be at least ninety feet up. If she fell from that height, she would break something and never make it back to the cabin.
The animals in the forest grew quiet as the sound of crunching snow reverberated through the woods. Someone was coming and whoever it was wasn’t even trying to be quiet. Rounding the tree to look out over the tundra, Kaitin gasped when she saw a huge polar bear headed her way, and he wasn’t taking his time.
Looking around, she found a tree with low branches and scrambled up until she was relatively certain she was too high for the bear to reach. Great. Now, not only was she at least twenty minutes from the cabin, but she was also treed. Kaitlin closed her eyes.
“What else can go wrong?” she whispered to herself.
Kaitlin immediately got the answer to her question. The bear looked up, saw her perched on the branch and growled low. With a strange chuffing noise, the bear rubbed itself up against the tree, rocking it as though he wanted to shake her out of it.
Pulling the air horn from her pocket, Kaitlin aimed down toward the bear and squeezed. The bear looked up and growled. It must be hungry if the loud noise didn’t do a thing to deter it. If anything, it caused the bear to shake the tree even harder. It was almost as though the thing liked the sound of the horn.
Reaching into her other pocket, Kaitlin pulled out the gun. Aiming into the air, she squeezed the trigger. Still nothing. The huge bear looked up at her and growled just before it rammed its shoulder into the tree.
Standing on its hind legs, it reached toward her, swatting at the lower branches with its paw. If Kat had been even one branch lower, the bear would have clawed her feet. With that thought in mind, she noticed that the bear wasn’t reaching quite as high as it could. If it stretched to its full height, it just might catch her foot with those deadly-looking claws.
She set the safety, jammed the gun back into her pocket and grasped the next branch up. Standing carefully, she climbed up to the next branch. She realized she’d made a mistake just before her foot slipped on the ice-covered branch and she fell on top of the bear.
Stunned for a moment, the large animal just shook its head and stared at her for a minute. Kaitlin screamed and scrambled back, hoping she would have enough time to make it to another tree. It didn’t take long for the polar bear to regain its senses. With another low chuff, it lowered its head and charged.