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Mirage has a nightmare..or is it a premonition

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Its Colorado, that much is certain. Mountains with snow caps in the distance, present hills a mix of rolling low grassed mingled with wildflowers and intermittant coniferous forests that dwell more prominently on the leeward side of the hills. Indeed, the crests of the windward side of the hill and the forest abutting against it is like an eternal battle in this part of the world. It leads to diverse flora and fauna. Down hill is a cool Colorado stream, deep perhaps, and dark. The closer one gets the more they realize how crystal clear that water actually is but from a distances, its a dark, turbulant water probably teaming with life.

The purpose here is uncertain perhaps, but the vividity of the color is amazing. Perhaps there is a bow in hand and hunting is being conducted. Whether Dani has heavily participated in hunting in the past doesn't matter it seems to be the objective in this present location. Her own instincts tell she is not after deer or antelope, that sort of hunting is reserved for the forests, hiding, sometimes in trees, othertimes simply along game trails and downwind. This seems to be hunting of another sort. Taking a moment to take in the surroundings and remember what that game was reveals a bear, down by the water. Was she hunting this as game, was this bear sought after for going savage, becoming a man eater. Regardless, it seems like much time has been spent searching this prey.

Spotting her prey in the distance, Dani stops near tree. Her eyes scan the surroundings, searching for a path that will bring her in bow range of her prey, a path that she can take without making any noise or bring attention to herself.

Once the path is found she will move slowly, keeping downwind, toward the bear. As she moves she grips the bow in her hand tightly and feels the comforting prescence of her quiver press into her back.

As Dani creeps forward on the best path, avoiding the wind, using the terrain to her advantage, she keeps a good eye on the bear. There are times when she looses sight just a little, because of the curve of hills or the rise of foilage, but ever the bear is hunting fish in the stream.

Nearing bow range, as the moments grow in length to match the time when hunter and prey become one, there is a pause, the bear looks up and sniffs at the air. It is a tense moment, if the bear runs now, it would mean more time searching and tracking. Or worse, the bear could lead a charge to try to close the bow range, taking down the number of shots Dani might make in taking it down. But, after it takes in a few other scents, it returns back to foraging in the water, searching for rainbow trout or other fish to satiate its present hunger.

Dani releases the breath she was holding as the bear goes back to its fishing. It's taken her quite awhile to get her target in range and she doesn't want that time to end up being wasted. She pulls an arrow from the quiver and sets it into place as she moves forward a few more feet circling some so she has the bear in profile. She wants her first shot to be a clean kill shot. She doesn't want the creature to suffer more than in has to.

The profile of the bear presents as magnificent creature, despite the outcome of this moment. Then as she watches, the head comes up offering that perfect shot. The sort where there will be less suffering - the sort a hunter would be proud of back in the days when animals were stuffed as trophy, even better for the bow hunter as the arrow would be part of that display to show how clean the kill was. Silence folds around the moment, only the beat of a heart and the breath until she holds that breath to steady the arrow and release the string.

As the arrow flies true, there is a moment the bear slightly turns and Dani thinks it is smirking. When the arrow hits, the bear roars mightly, but instead of falling, or running before it finally drops, it stand on hindlegs and turns towards the hunter, its fur growing blacker, its eyes more menacing, something sinister and unnatural in that form. It seems to stalk towards the spot where Dani laid ambush.

There is no cheer of success or triumph grin of a job well done. She takes no pleasure out of this hunt. This was a thing done of necessity, to prevent loss of life in the future. The bow starts to go down as she assumes the bear will. Surprise comes to her face as she bear doesn't fall, but instead moves toward her. Another arrow is nocked as she takes a few steps back and she fires it quickly aiming for the chest.

The chest is hit with dead accuracy, some of the darkness growing on the animals fur consumes the arrow, it seems to grow. The average grizzly runs 8 feet or so in height as an adult, this one now seems to be standing 13 feet. This would truly be the worlds largest grizzly. Then, as the arrows in its chest sinks into that darkness, its probably assumed this isn't a normal grizzly to begin with. Though it only continues to move foward, the maul on its face a grimace now - something humerously menacing from its own perspective perhaps. It roars again, seeming to shake the foundations of earth itself.

Terror takes over and the bow falls from limp fingers as realzation dawns. She continues to take steps backwards, retreating but never letting her eyes leave the terrible manifestation before her. Her right hand makes a fist as she draws on her Valkyrie powers to summon her Ghost Staff, but nothing happens, her fist remains empty, no empherial glow or even a mystical tingle to indicate its prescence. Her bow, several feet away now, and her powers unresponsive, the flee response takes over and she turns and runs.

Even before she begins to turn, that 13 feet has nearly doubled to 26 feet, a giant bear menacing, bordering on looming now. When she turns to run, the world's proportions alter, hills and valleys elongated, shadows growing longer in the recesses of the nature's corners. Is it a world, or is the world a fisheye leading all directions back to that monstrous bear behind Dani. Running is slow and sluggish and even as she moves away, the shadow of the bear crosses from behind her, stretching over hear, growing on the ground as that same bear grows behind her. In the growls from its throat, it could be chuckling darkly even, and the sounds of a raven's call mocking her name, "Moonstar," break the silence that enfolded in the moment of the kill. Reality breaks into the surreal.

Putting one foot in front of the other seems an unbearable chore but to not do so would mean a nightmarish ending. Has it been days, hours, seconds since she has started running, it already seems like a lifetime with every moment full of terror. A fallen tree suddenly appears in the path, it's broken and nude branches looking like deadly claws. She goes to vault it but her shirt catches on a branch causing her to fall to her knees on the other side, she scrambles foward attempting to quickly get to her feet.

As she struggles for control, to stand, to live, those branches catch again, as if thea re indeed claws. The come to look like bear claws in the growing darkness, raking towards Dani. Not rending, but snagging on objects of her person, ripping perhaps, reaching, enfolding. They grow too in their size, the world in its palms, do they enfold over and around Dani or is it the darkness of the bear that blinds everything. Light dwindles as the hands and world collapse. Darkness falls but never touches Moonstar, even the sound dies away again, the ravens cawing her name dwindle to nothingness. Gone then light appears, a spotlight for Dani, all that she sees, coming from in front of her until it is seen as only the eyes and teeth of the bear. It means to gobble up her, as if to eat her very soul, her being, all that was or ever is of Moonstar.

A terrified scream rips from her throat as her hands scramble and dig into the earth but failing to gain purchase on the loamy, leaf covered ground. As her hands struggle to get a hold of anything she kicks her legs, trying to get free of the clutching branches. None of Dani's struggles prove effective as the darkness engulfs her. Tears stream from her face as more screams of terror fill the air.

As realization dawns that there is no escape, tears and kicks found themselves in the shelter of Dani's Room. The darkness of the bear seems to fold out of space, as the moonlight streams in to reveal said room. The leaf covered ground is the blanket of her bed perhaps, the matress itself. Still, lingering, is the darkness still dark in those corners of the room and retreating, or is it the moonlight registering in her eyes to reveal more of what is really there. It was all too real, still is real. For when she wakes, it would seem some of her night clothes have rending as if snagged by a branch. It could of been torn in her own throws to struggle for life in that nightmare, but the haunting realization that it wasn't a common nightmare takes hold. The Deman Bear has followed Dani ... to the school.

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