I've read a lot of books. Good ones, bad ones. This is the first time I've read something that actually disgusted me enough that I had to put the book down for a while before picking it back up again. And that's saying something.

Basically, Cole eats the mouse. While rather horrifying in its own right, it's the way that it's described that turns up the notch to unacceptable in my personal book. It's completely and utterly gratuitousness. We didn't need to see Cole eat the mouse.

The mouse struggled, biting at Cole's finger with razor sharp teeth, it's teeny feet clawing frantically to escape. Cole pitied the scared little mouse, but he held on, griping with all his strength. This mouse was his quarry, like a gull catching a herring or an owl catching a rabbit. He squeezed the mouse but was too weak to stop the struggling. Cole felt the mouse squirming free so quickly he brought his fist to his mouth. He pressed his hand against his lips and forced the struggling rodent between his teeth. It kept struggling, biting at Cole's lips and tongue.

Cole bit down, too, and a tiny bone crunched. The mouse spasmed but kept squirming. Cole bit again but his jaw lacked strength. Still the mouse wiggled and twisted, frantically chewing at Cole's tongue. For a brief second, Cole felt a furry head pass between his back teeth and he willed his jaws together with every ounce of strength he could gather. The small skull crushed, and then the mouse stiffened and quit squirming.

With the dead mouse bunched in his cheek, Cole rested his jaw. Occasionally the tiny body twitched. Gradually Cole worked his teeth together, gnawing on the body. Salty fluids filled his mouth, and he forced himself to again imagine a baby sparrow with an opened beak. Food was energy and energy was life.

The next couple of pages is about Cole thinking about how much he wanted to live and that food was energy and energy was life. He chases the sea gulls away from his vomit, because there are fish chunks in there and he needs them to eat. He eats them. Sleeps. Still doesn't die.

And then he starts feeling energy when he wakes up. It rains, again, and he puts mud on his wounds hoping it'll keep the mosquitoes away. And he gets some muddy water to drink.

The Spirit Bear returns and Cole is afraid, wondering if the bear is going to finish him off. In an act of defiance he spits at the bear. And the bear comes towards him.

Touching Spirit Bear
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