A story told from the perspective of a mother polar bear that is about to drown.


A Chance to Drown


by Matthew Bissonnette








When the majestic sun began to rise above the Eastern horizon, its magnificent rays making the frigid waters of the arctic ocean shimmer like my cub's eyes; I knew I had been swimming for over a day and a half. Tired, I knew I was about to drown.

The name given to me by my mother was Snow Eyes; she was a bear who had come from a long lineage of bears renowned for being masters at surviving where few other animals could. Our cousins far south with coats of fur in many dark colours enjoyed warmth during the summer. But my lineage, all we knew was cold, ice and snow; and our fur was as white as the snow. We where the largest, fiercest creatures of the arctic; we had no predators and all animals feared us. The only creature that could stand up to us where the walrus; but what few walrus I had encountered feared me for I, Snow Eyes, was a very large, with sharpened teeth and piercing claws. I was also a mother; and since my two cubs where born I quickly realized why growing up I often reflected on the worry in my mothers eyes; I knew my eyes where no different. I worried for my children; a worry informed by devotion and love. Without me; my two cubs would not survive a week.

And now I was about to drown.

The morning before, I left my cubs in the den and wandered out to find prey to feed myself and my young. I looked at them lovingly as they slept; curled into each other in that den I had dug with my own claws. They where my world; they gave me a sense of duty; the duty to protect them fiercely and raise them so they may one day fend for themselves.

I walked across the ice flow; looking down at my reflection in the arctic water as I walked. I saw the same worry in my eyes that I had seen in my mothers. But my reflection on the past was interrupted when I heard a strange talking; and I knew it was the language of the man beast.

Further down the icy shoreline where several vague silhouettes; surreal spectres haunting the twilight of the morning. They walked on two legs; carried fake elongated claws the man beast called spears; and I got afraid when a shaft of sunlight revealed they where wearing the hides of animals; fake fur stolen from other polar bears.

Damn the man beast; he lusted for all the land of Earth and we animals knew there would come a day where man would steal the Earth from the animals; these men beasts came from a tribe that called themselves Inuits.

When they saw me; I knew my life was in peril. Alone a man beast was weak; in numbers they where a fearsome foe. I would have run back to my den; but I would not lead the man beast to my cubs. So I dove into the frigid water; funny the man beast thought himself strong but the water I had plunged into did not even make me cold; it would have killed any man beast in minutes.

I swam out to sea to lose them but a blizzard had raged for most of the day and I lost my sense of direction. The maelstrom stopped with the fall of night; and now all I saw was endless ocean in every direction. And clouds obscured the stars from me so I could not use them to guide myself. I swam all night, when morning came my strength was spent.

I looked at the rising sun for a moment; closed my eyes and ceased swimming because I could not tread water any longer. Then I felt myself sink beneath the arctic water. I prepared to die as I felt water fill my lungs. In my panic; I thought only of my cubs; I grieved not my my own death but for the death of my children that I loved.

But then a voice screamed out somewhere in my mind; the voice of my mother. More vivid then a memory; more real then a thought.

“Snow Eyes; I did not raise a coward. I did not raise weakling. Don't give up; you are closer then you think.”

Then from somewhere within myself; I found the strength to tread water. With a mighty effort I emerged from the darkness of the arctic ocean's depths and once my head was above water again I painfully coughed the water out of my lungs. I then swam when I saw it.

A shaft of the dawn's light cascaded from sky and illuminated something in the distance. Instinctively I knew it was my den. And then I heard my young crying out for their mother; sounding scarred. Even though I was exhausted; I swam faster. Then I saw my two cubs; my son Ice Talon and my daughter Night Fur; standing on the edge of the ice and looking out to the arctic sea.

I screamed out; “I'll be right home.”

They must have heard me cause their crying stopped. Almost about to black out; I swam even faster. Seeing my two young getting closer was the most joyous and thankful moment of my life.

I reached the ice; and weakly crawled out of the water. Then I passed out; the last sensation was feeling my young cuddling up against me.

I knew things would be OK; and my lineage would continue.


The End



Submitted: March 08, 2019

© Copyright 2022 Matthew Bissonnette. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:



I'm so glad that you gave this a happy ending.

Fri, March 8th, 2019 9:04pm


You have an affinity to tell good stories through the eyes of those have no voice to tell their own tales.
Thanks' for giving them a voice.

Tue, March 12th, 2019 11:58am

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