Once there was Little Bear and Mama Bear. Little Bear spent his days playing in the stream with his little salmon friends. The salmon would leap out of the stream, wiggle their bodies back and forth in the air, and splash back into the water. Then their heads would emerge from the water and watch Little Bear shake his head back and forth and wave his bottom from side to side. Since Little Bear could speak the language of the fish, Little Bear and the Salmon had no problems talking to each other.

While Little Bear would play with his salmon friends, Mama Bear would shake her big arms and fly into the air. She flew into the air to hunt the Great Fish that ruled the skies. The Great Fish were gigantic and just catching one would be enough to keep Little Bear and Mama Bear full for an entire year.

So when the leaves on the Big Trees started to go yellow, then orange, then brown, then finally fall from their branches, Mama Bear would shake her big arms and fly into the air to hunt for one Great Fish. This went on year after year until one day, Little Bear grew big enough to be able to fly up with Mama Bear.

“Come with me,” Mama Bear said. “You must learn how to catch a Great Fish.”

But Little Bear wasn’t paying attention. He was too busy playing with his salmon friends.

“I don’t want to catch a Great Fish,” he said, “I want to play with my friends.”

The Salmon told jokes and made him laugh. Mama Bear didn’t make him laugh so he ignored her. So Mama Bear sighed and flew up to the sky by herself and caught a Great Fish that kept them full for a year.

The next year, Mama Bear asked Little Bear again, “Little Bear, come with me to the sky, you must learn how to catch a Great Fish.”

But Little Bear had no interest in catching a Great Fish.

“I don’t want to go with you to catch a Great Fish,” he said, “I want to play with my friends.”

So Mama Bear sighed once again and flew to the sky and caught a Great Fish.

The year after that, Mama Bear asked him again, “Little Bear, you must come with me to catch a Great Fish.”

But Little Bear was swimming in the stream with his friends and didn’t listen to her.

So with a sigh, Mama Bear shook her big arms and flew into the sky and never came back down.

Little Bear didn’t notice Mama Bear had not returned until his tummy growled because it wasn’t filled with delicious Great Fish. He looked all over for Mama Bear but could not find her. She was gone.

Little Bear wandered all over, looking for something to eat, but all the Great Fishes were up in the sky and Little Bear did not learn how to fly. He searched and searched for an entire year but there was no other Mama Bear to teach him how to catch a Great Fish.

Little Bear finally returned to his stream. His Salmon friends greeted him joyously, because they hadn’t seen him for a whole year. However, Little Bear, who was driven mad by his hunger, only saw fish that looked like smaller Great Fish. So he caught each one that wriggled into the air and devoured them.

He ate for days, then weeks, then months, until finally he was no longer hungry and realized what he had done. His sorrow and guilt drove him to a cave where he cried himself to sleep for the entire winter.

But once spring came, after the snow melted and the stream thawed, Little Bear was hungry once more, and didn’t recognize his Salmon friends. So every year, Little Bear would eat his friends, cry himself to sleep, and then wake up again to repeat the cycle.

Helena Pak is a Screenwriting major who is graduating this year. When she is not writing she is lip-synching badly to pop songs. She’s often sleep deprived, but that just comes with the job.

Helena Pak’s short story “Paper Doors” won second prize in 2015 in the Third Annual School of Visual Arts Writing Program Contest. She is a senior majoring in Screenwriting. When not dedicating herself to writing, she spends her time lip-synching to pop songs (badly).