The father of her fraternal twins had abandoned them before they were even born. While tragic; it was a common enough occurrence. Being a proud single parent of ‘cute as a button’ little ones never allowed her spirits to falter. She knew best how to provide for them anyway. The fact of the matter was, she was relieved he wasn’t around to get in the way of rearing them. He could be threatening and abusive at times.
When it came to her babies; she felt a primal, maternal instinct to protect them at all costs. His suspicious intentions had always been self-serving, at best. “Good riddance to the big lumbering galoot”; She long ago decided. “We don’t need him.”
She felt it was very important to teach them about nature and survival; just as her own mother had taught her. Everyday the long walk they took in the woods was her ‘classroom’. Both twins waddled alongside her while marveling at the wonders of the forest. Occasionally one of them would wander too far away from her watchful eyes and she would scold them. Her incessant warnings about the dangers of snakes and other predators actually had the opposite effect. The twins opened their eyes wide in fascination. “I wanna see!”; they bellowed impatiently.
One fateful winter morning, they stumbled upon what she previously believed to be mythic folklore. Staring directly at the three of them were the legendary ‘phantoms of the forest’ that she had heard about from her own mother! Their almost hairless, unnaturally thin forms made her hair stand on end. The children also froze in their tracks at the surreal vision of the pale specters, dead ahead. Unfortunately they were too young to realize they were in mortal danger. In all their explorations, they had never seen or smelled anything like these peculiar creatures. Her mother had told her many chilling tales of how they would kill all of them if they had the chance. Adrenaline pumped through her veins at the elevated danger level but the twins were too young to understand. They were just curious and awestruck by the new experience. Their natural fear never kicked in about the predatory phantoms in their path.
A massive wave of instinct-induced fear rushed into her bloodstream. She lunged forward aggressively to put herself between the eerie phantoms and her defenseless little ones. Oddly enough, they seemed just as startled and frightened of her display of maternal fury. She felt no desire to back down until there was a complete return to safety. She employed every self defense tactic she knew, in efforts to scare them away. Surprisingly; they let out blood curdling shrieks in an alien tongue and then ran away frantically. Only after they were far away and out of sight did she feel reasonably safe again.
After witnessing their mother’s impressive wrath; the twins realized just how serious the situation had been. Her violent reaction to the phantoms made them whimper pitifully. She did her best to console them; while simultaneously leading them away. She didn’t want to risk the specters possibly returning with reinforcements.
After that harrowing experience, the twins never doubted her word about the dangers of the woods! Once snuggly back inside their cozy den, Mama bear’s heartbeat returned to normal and she barked orders for them to take a nap. Both cubs snuggled up tightly against her heavy winter coat and prepared for another long hibernatory period until Spring set in.