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treecoug

11:11 – Chapter 29Posted: June 20, 2012

Dec. 14, 2011

My notes tell me I spent this day as I did the day before – languishing in complete idle. The snowstorm subsided in the midmorning and we spent another restless day pacing about the resort, watching movies and getting wasted. Andy disappeared for a ramble around downtown Bend and returned to report that he believed the town was completely empty of people.

My notes… my journals… they seem so inane at times. But life in the middle of nowhere on a dying planet with a small troop of neo-gothic crazies, led by some dude with almost vampirian charms, was far from inane.

This wasn’t nine-to-five clusterfuckia, gridlock stress-induced, pay the bills or drown in the sweaty juices of your consumerism and same-ole-ness. This was the end of the world. The death days; a time of angels preparing for the transference of saints and all souls.

These notes are scrawled on an infinitely interconnected consciousness.

When I first read part of a journal, a while back now, I decided to tell this story.

There is no point in it or nothing to be gained. It’s just electric. It’s what I once did — what I do. I am a student of history and a chronicler of time and its relentless passage. So… why stop now? Besides, when one doesn’t have the distractions that one had pre-disappearance, such as television and the Internet, it is bloody amazing how much more time one has to fuck about on other equally unimportant tasks.

I craved my music collection like a heroin junkie loaded with spoons, fire and needles but no smack. I visualized the several thousand LPs in our condo in Cranbrook, sitting in a cold, dark room – likely remnants of a bygone age that sound-tracked the coming of the end, the start of the beginning; the renewal. King Crimson would have sufficed right then – or Hawkwind or Guru Guru – or a good dose of dark, snarling metal.

West Yellowstone received three or four times as much snow as Bend, and Carrie also spent a day idling inside her shelter, avoiding Kenneth as much as possible.

Stacy tried to encourage her to go for a hike with her, but Carrie was now firmly in the grip of a deep depression — of the like she had not yet experienced since the beginning of the disappearance. Stacy didn’t want to go alone, so she gathered reading material and curled up beside the fire with Carrie. She said nothing. Carrie’s eyes told her everything.

Kenneth steered clear of the women. He understood Carrie’s misery but she needed to be with it on her own terms and he couldn’t help but pour the acidic reality of the big picture over her wound. It is the here and now.

Snow continued to pile down outside, where a starving female cougar waited.

She and her yearling cub entered West Yellowstone several days after the disappearance. The complete silence that had befallen her territory, which was approximately a 20-square-mile area south of the town, inside the park and out, coincided with a loss in food.

Their acute ears, always tuned to the sounds of food and usually assaulted by the sounds of man, could not locate a single vole beneath the snow, let alone a deer tuckered out from foraging for meager returns.

Having to widen her territory, the mama cougar found the courage to push into West Yellowstone and she found rewards — skinny cats. She and her cub cleaned the village out of their smaller cousins in a week. They even managed to snag a few crow, themselves crazed enough by desperate starvation to think they could peck a morsel from them as they crunched the small meals down.

After the kitty-cat feast, the cougars had to start expanding their territory again, but the lack of food weakened them and they remained close to the village, growing weaker. A week before Carrie and company arrived on the scene, mama cougar killed her cub and savoured her flesh and bones for nourishment. In fairness to mama cougar, the cub went at her first. It was self-defense, which is also self-preservation. Oh the marvels of nature.

And that marvel was growing hungrier and more desperate by the hour as she inhaled the occasional drifting scent of food and heard movement inside the bed and breakfast.

Secure in her hunter’s confidence that a meal was nearby, and nestled on a branch in a snow-smothered pine tree, mama cougar drifted to sleep.

Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

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