Reader's Warning

If you thought last chapter was unbelievable, you're going to have to grab your bleach, binkies and put a pillow on top of your desk to prevent brain damage. Also, a strong supply of liquor is highly recommended.

Having dispensed with that warning, we proceed with due caution.

Cole throws his stick at the bear. Which knocks it away with remarkable ease. And then the bear attacks him. This is a very happy moment in the book. The bear beats the living shit out of him. His pelvis cracks, his chest is racked by claws, his right arm is broken by a bite, he's thrown around, and his ribs are cracked or broken. And then the bear leaves him alone.

He doesn't die.

He's probably bleeding internally, a bone is sticking out of his arm, he's bleeding profusely from several gaping wounds, and he doesn't die. Oh, and it's raining. Blood is in his throat for him to choke on.

And he doesn't die.

However, he does go on agonizingly about wondering if he's going to die or not.

Then apparently the seagulls are eating his flesh.

"Cole stared down at his chest. The bear's claws had raked him open. His shredded shirt exposed gashes with long strips of flesh missing. One of the gulls squawked as it stole a stringy piece of meat and skin from another gull. Cole realized that the gulls were fight over bits of his own flesh."

Cole gets angry... of course, because how dare these seagulls treat him like some other animal? After all he's Cole Matthews and better than everyone. In his continuing brilliance we get this train of thought from him, "The mauling didn't make sense. In the past, everything had always been afraid of him. Why wasn't the bear scared? A bear with half a brain would have turned tail and run. Instead, this dumb animal had attacked. Now it wandered out in the woods somewhere, the mauling little more than an inconvenience to its morning."

He knows very little about animals, doesn't he? Usually, things twice your size aren't going to go running from you. Unless they're a prey animal. Which a bear is most definitely not. He managed to get some bear hair in his hand and thinks to himself that no bear would willingly give it up... as opposed to shed... or something.

Cole is in pain. He tries to move. He can't. He looks at his arm. There's a bone sticking out near the elbow and his fingers are all puffy from the Devil's Club.

There's more agonizing about how he's all alone and doesn't belong and won't be able to survive because he doesn't have any shelter or food. Things that he would have had if he hadn't stupidly burnt them all in the first chapters. But you see, that would require foresight and a brain. Which Cole lacks in both cases.

What is happening here is that the author is trying to make us feel sorry for Cole, lying there, bleeding to death cold and alone. The problem is, we don't care about Cole. We're happy that he got mauled and might be dying. He doesn't have any of our sympathy. He never did from the first pages of the book. So, what we see, when we read this, is annoying angst and Cole having all the brains of a sea urchin. We just don't care about him.

And then, to help matters, he squishes a caterpillar. Why? Because it crawled to close to him.

Wasn't that just the most random thing ever? I know I think so!

He passes out... and doesn't die.

No, really. He's that seriously injured, and he doesn't die.

Instead he wakes up and feels sorry for himself.

Touching Spirit Bear
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