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Lindsey and the Grizzly

Ashlie Miller


 

 

 
    The only thing that could be heard for miles around was the bubbling of the nearby stream and the creak of the twigs underneath Glen’s feet.  He knew it was getting late and the sun was about to set.  Even though he was almost twenty years old, he knew his mom would worry if he was not home by dark. He still had another hour to hike before he was even on the plains and then another twenty minutes to his house once he reached them.  He knew he should have started back earlier, but he had gotten wrapped up in taking pictures.  He would have to stay in the foothills tonight he thought.  He knew better than to hike through grounds he did not know very well at night. 

            Glen chose this day because of the lighting, just the right amount of shadows for the photography project that was due in three days. He was happy when he had first gotten the assignment a month ago.  He had wanted to go ever since, but he felt the lighting had to be right, and today looked perfect with enough cloud cover. This morning he had a funny feeling things were not right though.  He could not put his finger on it.  He decided to go on a hike in search for a perfect picture, in the foothills of northern Colorado.  He thought this was the best place. He had asked his friends to go with him, but they were all busy.  Against his better judgment he set out on his own.

            It was dusk and he did not have a flashlight with him and he was not very familiar with the layout of the land.  He was dressed in case the weather turned bad, which is very common in Colorado, no matter the time of year.  Glen sat against a big rock, about sixty feet from a cliff; far off on the horizon you could make out the city lights of his home town of Fort Collins.  Behind him were a few pine trees spread apart.  There were a few right near where he was sitting.  He stuck his long fingers into his back pack and pulled out the blanket that his mother had insisted that he bring.  Glen wouldn’t admit it out loud but he was glad she had nagged him to bring it.  He spread it over himself, and hoped that it would not be too cold tonight.  The blanket was not big enough to cover him from head to toe since he was almost six feet tall.  He reached back into his bag and pulled out the extra coat he had packed in his bag and made a pillow.  He reached behind his head to make sure there was nothing that would rip his makeshift pillow.  He then realized that something was engraved on the rock.

            He felt around his pant pockets hoping he had remembered to bring waterproof-strike-anywhere matches his parents told him to never leave behind.  He found one and struck it against the rock.  He held the flame next to the rock and could barely make out the words etched into the stone…

Lindsey Miller

September 14, 1973 - November 20, 1992.

Our Loving daughter

May you rest in peace up here,

Where the clouds roam…

            That was twenty years ago, it is now 2012 he thought to himself.  Just then a squirrel near by squeaked and ran up the tree.  This startled Glen.  He jumped about a foot high and his heart was now racing.  Something felt not quite right but he couldn’t quite figure it out.  As soon as he looked over he noticed that while he was reading the stone, the squirrel had chewed a hole in his bag.  At least it’s not a big hole, and the squirrel did not get to the food, he thought.  He moved the bag of food closer to him, and at once his attention returned to the stone.

            He had heard a story when he was in high school about a girl that had gone to a party, and never returned home.  He thought hard and was able to remember most of the story.  The girl’s name was Lindsey.  “Could there be a connection?” he said out loud.  This sudden noise startled the squirrel and it ran the other direction.

Lindsey had gone to a party with a few friends.  Later that night she took one of her friend’s home.  The next morning they found Lindsey’s car two houses down from her parent’s house, where she was staying, but Lindsey was gone.  She was missing for about a week.   Her friends put up fliers and her parents did all they could to find her.  The police had no leads until they got an anonymous tip.  It said that she had been kidnapped by a man who was pretending to be an undercover police officer.  He had raped and killed her, then brought her body to a rock in the foothills, where he burned her body; all but her teeth were burned ashes.  This was the only way they were able to identified her, by her teeth.  The man accused of the crimes was convicted and sentenced to twenty-five years to life in prison.  

            Because the ashes were scattered, her parents chose to make that rock the marker of her final resting place.  Glen always thought this was just a story to scare teenagers to not go out alone at night.  After staring at the rock and having his match burn out, he realized that it was not just a story.

            He wept a few tears for her, recalling the way she died and the agony that her family must have gone through.  With these tears came a strange sense of comfort.  He then leaned up against the rock and fell asleep after what seemed like hours.

*     *      *

            It was the middle of the night before Glen was awakened by a cold gust of wind.  The moon was out.  He could see the shadows of the trees; they looked so peaceful and mysterious, almost gray and life like in the moonlight.  All of a sudden, a grizzly bear came out from behind the rock.  Glen knew that the best way to deal with a grizzly bear was to make yourself look big and fierce. 

The grizzly must have weighed 300 pounds.  Its fur was a dark chocolate brown that looked as though it had just been washed and brushed.  The bear stood on its hind legs standing about eight to nine-feet-tall.  The creature was only about two feet from Glen.  Still Glen did not move.  The bear leaned up against the stone, rubbed its right paw over the words very slowly as if it were reading brail.  The bear then cried a tear.  It rolled down its face like a droplet of water off a duck’s feather and landed on the stone.  When the tear touched the stone, Glen had a feeling of sorrow.  The bear then gently stepped away as though he had noticed Glen, but did not want to harm him.  The bear was now about eight feet from Glen.  There was a quick wind gust that blew up dirt, but only the dirt at the bear’s feet.  The bear turned around very quickly three times.  He did not move his feet.  It seemed as though something had picked up the bear and was spinning the creature around in the air just above the ground.  On the third time, Glen thought he saw a woman.  The wind stopped all of a sudden and Glen did not believe his eyes.  It was a woman about the age of twenty.

Glen sat with his back against the rock, stiff and unable to move, mainly out of fear and shock of what he had just witnessed.  The girl walked over and sat next to him.  In the moonlight, he could see her chocolate brown hair.  It was wavy and just barely hit her shoulders.  It looked as though it had just been washed and brushed through. She looked as though she had been crying.  Glen could tell that she was exhausted.  She rested her head on his shoulder and shut her eyes.  At this point, Glen’s fear was gone and he wanted to ask her millions of questions, but something told him to just let her sleep. He would have time to ask them when the sun came up.

*    *     *

            As the sun rose, Glen began to stir.  He knew that his mom would be worried sick that he had not returned home.  He bet that she had already called the police.  The girl that had fallen asleep on his shoulder in the middle of the night was beginning to wake up.  When their eyes met he was a bit startled.  Her eyes were green, just like any other human but they seemed empty and sad. 

            “Good morning. Who are you?” Glen asked trying to act as normal as possible given the odd circumstances.

            “My name is Lindsey,” she replied.

“Lindsey Miller?” Glen asked in a shaky voice, the color draining from his face.  By the time he had finished the ‘r’ on Miller his face was whiter then the color of bright parchment paper.

            “Yes, that is me,” she replied.

            “But… How... If you’re…” He began to stutter and almost physically shake with fear.

            “I am Lindsey,” she started in a calm voice that was a bit shy.  She did her best to gather all her strength to explain the night before.

            “When I was killed and brought up here, I did not have a chance to tell my family goodbye.  I was not able to tell my mom sorry for going out that night, or tell my step-dad that I did not hate him.  After my body was dragged up here and burned, I was turned into a grizzly bear.  I was a sophomore attending University of Northern Colorado and their mascot is the grizzly bear.  I was involved in many clubs there and was well known. That is my best guess as to why I became a grizzly bear and not something else.” Lindsey looked as though she was feeling a bit more comfortable with him now.

            “But why are you here? How did you change from a grizzly bear to a human? Why?” Glen asked with a bit more confidence.  He still could not believe that he was hearing all this.

            “I changed back into a human because you cried a tear for me at my grave, and you never knew me.  You were just barely born when I died.  It is because of that tear that I changed from the grizzly bear into a human.  I am not sure of all of it myself.  I came back for three reasons, to kiss my mom goodbye, to tell my step dad that I still love him, and to get the person, who really killed me, punished for my death,” she answered in a steady voice.

            “Ok, this is very strange to me.  First of all… The “right” person punished for your death?” he asked with a questioning look on his face.

            “Yes, the man they put in jail is not the man who raped and killed me.  It was his son, Scott that committed these crimes.  I learned after I died, that there is a journal in the house where Scott lives that has the true story along with pictures to prove that he is the guilty one, not his father.  He keeps the journal so that he can go back and relive that night in his mind. The thought makes me sick to my stomach” she replied with a shutter.

            “Ok, so where do I come in, or do I at all?” he asked, hoping that he did not have a part to play, he wanted nothing to do with this anymore.

            “You are the one who is going to have to get the journal and take it to the police. Only you can see me, although those who are extremely emotionally attached can feel my presence.  If the journal just magically appears-” she was cut off.

            “Magically appears, and how do you think it will look if I show up with it.” He said in a stern voice.

            “You are human Glen, I am not.  If you hand it to them they will do the rest from there.  I have a close friend that works at the police department, and she still believes that Scott did it and not his dad.  If you turn in the journal and the pictures all the rest will fall into place.”

            Glen did not believe her, but what else was he supposed to do.  He was sure that he lost his mind.  After all, in less then 24 hours he had not been afraid of a bear, seen a bear cry, watch before his eyes a bear change into a girl and that was just last night.  “Ok, so how do I do this then?” he asked.

            “We need to walk down to town together, if anyone sees me I will not exist.  Only you can see me as a human.  I am only seen by others when I am a grizzly bear.  I will go to my house because I need to let my parents know I love them and I am safe now.  I will give my mother a kiss while she is sleeping, and hug my stepfather.  Then we will go to Scott’s house, I know where the journal and the pictures are hidden.  All you have to do is pick them up and take them to them to the police and hand them to Sandra,” Lindsey said. 

            Glen could tell that she was hiding something. “What are you not telling me Lindsey?”

            “Ummmm, well, it could be dangerous if you get caught by Scott.”

            “Well, I always needed an adventure… I guess.  It doesn’t look like anyone else will help you if I don’t.”

            “Oh, thank you Glen.”

            “One last question.”

            “Sure,” Lindsey replied like a school girl that just got her way.

            “How do you know my name?” He asked with a puzzled look.

            “It says it right there on your bag, silly,” She said with a look that said “Duh”.

They started down the mountain.  Glen was amazed that they did not cross anyone on the way down.  As soon as they reached the flat land, he got on his cell phone, since it would not work in the foothills, and called his mom.  She answered right away, made sure that he was okay, and then started yelling at him.  He was not much in the mood for the yelling, but after what he had done, he thought he deserved it.  Lucky enough she had not called the police or anyone else yet.  He was very thankful for that.  After what seemed like a lifetime of lecturing, he told his mother that he loved her and would see her shortly, and got off his cell phone.

As they got into Fort Collins, the sun was starting to set once more.  Glen walked straight home, as his mother had asked of him.  Fort Collins was a fairly large city, but Glen lived on the outskirts, closest to the foothills with his mom and stepfather.  Lindsey followed about three to four steps behind him.  She grew up in the same neighborhood where Glen lived now.  As he walked to his front door she continued down to the house where she grew up, her mother and stepfather still lived there.  Lindsey and Glen had agreed to meet the next day at nine in front of the only stop sign in the neighborhood. 

That night, as Lindsey’s mom and step dad slept, Lindsey was wide awake.  She wandered into her parent’s bedroom and sat at the foot of the bed.  Her parents thought it was the family dog, so they did not give it a second thought. Lindsey sat there and began to cry.  Her parents could not hear her or see her, but her tears did make wet spots on the bed, where they landed.  She got up, kissed her mom’s cheek.  Her mom whispered, “I love you Lindsey,” in her sleep, sensing somehow that it was her daughter.  Lindsey then walked over to her step dad’s side of the bed; she gave him a kiss too.  He then replied, “I love you princess,” in his sleep.

Lindsey walked out of the room and went to sleep in what had been her room when she stayed here years ago.  Even though it had been about twenty years since her death, her room was still just like she remembered it.  There were posters of Disney characters on the wall.  She looked over and saw her bulletin board of pictures.  The pictures of her and her friends brought a smile to her face.  She laid down on her bed, pulled up the afghan that lay at the foot of the bed and fell asleep, absently weeping.

*   *    *

            At nine the next morning Glen was waiting at the stop sign, when Lindsey came walking up the street.  It looked odd to the neighbors that Glen was simply standing at the stop sign.  When he began to talk to himself, or so it seemed, they really began to wonder.  But knowing Glen they brushed it off as his artistic side taking over.  As he talked with Lindsey, they began to walk towards Scott’s house.

            Scott lived in the same neighborhood.  He had taken over his father’s house when his father was sent to jail. When the two of them reached Scott’s house, Lindsey told Glen that what he wanted was in a box that was in the closet of the master bedroom.  The bedroom was upstairs and to the right.  The box would be about the size of a shoe box and a greenish-gray color that would be all by itself.  When he asked how she knew this she replied, “I have animal friends who have seen him open the box and look at the horrific pictures,” she said with a deep sigh.  He could tell that she did not want to share that with him.

“You mean you aren’t going with me?” Glen asked with a bit of shock in his voice.

“If I go in that house as a human, and Scott feels my presence he will know I have sent someone after the box,” Lindsey replied.

             Glen knocked on the door.  There was no answer.  He tried the knob, but it was locked.  He then went around to the back door, it was unlocked.  What luck, he thought.  He went up the stairs to the bedroom on the right, and there, right were she said it would be, was a greenish-gray shoe box.  He wanted to make sure he had the right one, so he opened the box.  What he saw made him want to puke; it was a picture of Scott on top of Lindsey’s dead, bloody, naked body on what appeared to be a bed in the room that he was in.  He could tell this by the wallpaper that was in the picture and in the room.  It looked as though the pictures had been taken with a camera that was on a tripod with a timer.  He dug a little deeper, felt a note pad.  This must be the journal he thought.  He shut the lid, not wanting to see that horrific picture or any other picture.  He knew that image of the picture would haunt him for a lifetime.

            He started down the stairs.  He froze when he heard a key in the front door.  Through the window just to the left of the door, he could make out a male figure.

    “Oh, crap!” he muttered to himself under his breath.

            It was Scott.  He knew this because Lindsey had described Scott to him.  He was just as she had said,  about five and a half feet tall, short spiky hair, muscular build with a smashed in nose.  Glen tip-toed back to the room looking to find another way out.  He then heard Scott coming up the stairs, straight into the bedroom where he was hiding.   Scott was headed right for the closet. 

“This can’t be happening to me,” Glen thought.

Then, a little mouse that was chewing on some stale Cheerios winked at him.  As Scott opened the closet door, the mouse scurried out, and ran between Scott’s legs.  All of a sudden that same mouse, turned into a giant 300 pound grizzly bear.  The bear gave out a roar and tapped Scott on the shoulder.  Scott froze as if he had just become a block of ice.  Glen squeezed between Scott and the closet door, with the shoe box still in his hand.  Glen flew down the steps taking them four at a time.  He ran out the front door, down the block and took a left hand turn heading home.  Not until he was ten blocks away did Glen allow himself to even slow down.

Glen caught his breath and then ran home, grabbed the car keys and bolted out the door to the garage.  “I have got to get this box to the police. I am sure that Scott recognized me and, he’ll be after me any minute if he isn’t already!  But what about Lindsey?  She said that I needed to get this box to the police.  She will be ok… I hope.” he said to himself out loud.

He sped through town to the police station.  He parked the car and ran inside with the box under his right arm. 

At the front desk he said, “Excuse me sir, is Detective Sandra Ulrich in?” trying to make himself look as calm as possible.

“Yes she is.  Would you like to see her?” the man asked.

He thought to himself sarcastically, “No, I just thought I would ask you the question for the fun of it.”  Instead he answered “Yes please, and can you tell her it is urgent!”

“Yes, just one moment,” the man said.

Next thing he knew, he saw a tall slender woman with curls in her brownish blond hair walk towards him.  Then she spoke “I am Detective Sandra Ulrich, what I can I help you with, sir?”

“I was asked to give this to you. I was told you would know what to do with it.” Glen answered, unsure if she would understand.

“O…K…” she replied and took the box and opened it she just about fell to her knees in shock.  She then let out a little shriek.  “Get me the captain, NOW” she yelled at the desk clerk.  Then to Glen she said “Thank you…”

“Glen” he answered.

“Thank you, Glen.  I knew this box existed, but I could not find it.  When we searched the house it was not there.  There was a dust print of where it had been but it was moved.  I knew it still existed I just couldn’t find it.  I will make sure everything is done so that the right person is charged with the crime,” she said in a confident voice.

Glen then turned around and walked out the door towards the parking lot.  Right behind him were three policemen and one police woman.  Walking towards them was Scott, who was trying to locate Glen and get the box back.  Scott saw Glen, then saw the four police officers.  Scott bolted, but he did not get far before the police caught him and put him in handcuffs.

When Glen reached home he found a note on his bed.  It read:

Dear Glen,

Thank you for your help.  I could never have done it without you.  I owe you an apology for not telling you the whole truth.  I could have gone in to Scott’s house with you as an animal, but I was too scared.  Then when I saw Scott… Well you know the rest.  I am safe and I am going to go to heaven, now that I have been able to tell my parents goodbye and the correct man will be punished for what happened to me.  I owe you so much.  All I have here is the roll of film that fell out of your bag up at my rock.  I hope they turn out like you hoped.  Once again thank you.

                        Love,

                        Lindsey Miller

                                                           

 

 When Glen developed the pictures, he turned them in and received an A on the assignment, as well as a memory that he will most likely never forget.

  


Acknowledgments:

I would like to dedicate this story to Lacy Miller, who died in January 2003, she was murdered just like Lindsey in the story, may she rest in peace.

I would like to thank the creative writing class of Spring 2005 for all their help and suggestions.  I would also like to thank my roommate Shelby Jansen for reading this story over and over again.  And to all of those that have helped me along the way thank you!

           

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