A Bear-ly Thought Out Plan

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Wilson Wildlife Center, Enclosure 8, Boring, Oregon

It was a hot day in Clackamas County. The slow drawl of the weather forecast lazily drifted through the corridors of the enclosure, calling for 90-degree weather all day. The residents of the center did their best to beat the heat. Staff sipped iced tea and the crows sat in shaded trees, while Maya the Magnificent, fallen from grace, paddled slowly in a small pool.

She waded out and shook herself dry to allow her caretaker, Alex Molina, to give her a tray of raspberries and a pail of water. She laid on a soft bed of leaves and ate her food while the caretaker cleaned her area. It was a nice life, Maya thought. "There was food, water, and treatment for her strange condition, but Maya missed her life as a free bear, exploring the wilderness." As nice as the enclosure was, it could never beat the feeling of warm sun on her back and fresh air blowing through her fur. The short walks Alex sometimes took her on never felt like a perfect substitute. The small area, the seemingly endless tests done by the strange men in white coats and long hours alone drove her crazy. In short, she was bored.

She finished her snack and got up, hoping to find an activity to keep herself entertained for a short while. She walked to the climbing area and nudged Alex.

"Hey there, sweetheart! I'm finishing up here and I gotta take care of some more critters, but if you want to climb for a bit go ahead!". The caretaker patted Maya's head and turned, revealing a small box-shaped object. Maya jumped. Alex had been known to carry cigarettes and she'd been craving some all day. Quickly while his back was still turned, she extended her claw and smoothly removed the object. She waited until Alex had left and then ran to her small cave to get a modicum of privacy.

Looking down, she grunted in disappointment. What she had to assumed to be a small cigarette box, was not full of much-needed nicotine sticks, but instead a phone in a silicone, cutesy giraffe case with a piece of duct tape on the back. Maya squinted at the tiny cursive writing on the back, trying to divine some meaning.

Hey Alex, I think my phone has one of the skips the Supervisors are tracking. If you get a chance, could you run to the Supervisor office to give it to them? Thanks a bunch! Love, Faeowynn

Maya looked around quickly and decided that having nothing else to do, a day playing with a caretaker's phone would be a day well spent. Maya unlocked the phone easily; it had no password. Typical of these people, Maya thought to herself. Using the pad of one of her paws, she scrolled through the apps until a bright yellow square caught her eye: yellow like the sunflowers Alex planted in her enclosure, her favorite. Uplifted by that thought she opened the app and scrolled through a list of names before discovering the photo filter feature. After 15 minutes of playing with flower crowns, dog faces and feeling like the princess she was, Maya was startled when her screen suddenly switched to an incoming call screen.


Maya was intrigued. She hadn't interacted with anyone but caretakers for a long time. Hesitantly, Maya accepted the call. The face of a young girl filled the screen. Maya had barely any time to contemplate the person in front of her when an earsplitting shriek filled the air.

"OH EM GEE!" the girl cried. "IT'S YOU!" Maya was confused, she didn't look like Faeowynn at all. The chances that she was being mistaken were slim. Her look of confusion was evident as the girl tried to explain herself. "Um, hello? It's me, Stacey, remember? It has to be you, right? You're the only anoma-whatever bear I've ever seen." Maya paused. She had encountered this girl on a previous adventure. She was strange, trapped in a program that Maya realized was the same she was using now. She expected her to have changed or aged, but she still seemed to be an impatient and overconfident teen. Maya gave a quick nod.

"Yay! You do remember!" Stacey clapped her hands. "I wanted to thank you, actually. You might not have known it, cuz' I was acting kind of crazy, but you really helped me out. I was really scared about all the ridiculous stuff that had been going on and I was doing my best to play it cool, and I just saw you and I thought: Wow. I saw how brave and powerful you were, I heard about how bad things were for you before you got here and I saw how you could dance in spite of all the terrible things that happened to you and that just inspired me to hang in there and keep going."

Maya was stunned. She had no idea that a brief visit could have such a profound effect on someone. Before she could attempt to reply, Stacey continued. "Anyway, you're looking good as ever! Those photos you took were super cute! I see you have a new place! Give me a tour?" Maya huffed and picked up the phone. She walked once around the enclosure, phone in tow, past the cave, the pond, and the soft bed of moss. "Nice place!" Stacey said. "Very cozy." Maya plopped back down in her cave. "What do you do for fun? Hope you don't stay in your cave all day!" Stacey stuck out her tongue in a playful manner, applying the doggy filter for dramatic effect. Maya grunted and looked away. "You- You don't actually do that, right?" Maya didn't respond. "Oh no, I'm sorry. That must really suck. Don't your caretakers give you stuff to do?"

Maya nodded. Alex had the pool made just for her. "So whats wrong?" Stacey pestered. Maya knew exactly what was wrong, but had no words to say it. She missed fresh air and the expanse of nature. She missed eating berries and catching trout and meeting new people. She missed feeling normal. The people at WWS certainly helped her heal, but Maya felt she had to find peace with herself elsewhere. This wasn't where she wanted to end her story.

Unsteadily, Maya drew a few words in the dirt. "Small. Bored. Want out. Want freedom. Peace." Maya showed Stacey the words, only half-hoping that she'd understand. Miraculously, she did. Perhaps as a result of Stacey's own imprisonment, she could sympathize with Maya's thoughts.

"Oh." Stacey paused for a bit before continuing. "I think I understand. Let me think for a moment." The call ended and Maya sat in her cave, alone with her thoughts. After a minute, a shaft of light permeated the darkness of the cave. Stacey had sent a message. Feeling relieved, Maya looked at the text.


i have a plan

Maya tilted her head inquisitively.



Maya frowned. She did want to go, but the people here had treated her well and she didn't want to make them upset.


maya please dont be sad 😢
i thought it thru
you want to go out rite?
and it doesnt have to be 4 very long
im sure the ppl here would be happy 2 take u back
if u want




tysm maya u wont regret this
ok first things first take a pic of the door
and send it to me

Maya grasped the phone with both paws and awkwardly took the photo of the door.


thats def a padlock
u need keys 🔑🙁
i dont think even i could do it so u prob cant
lemme try smth
imma send u some videos
keep playing them as they come
run the 1st chance u get

Maya walked to the center of the enclosure waiting for further instruction, unsure how a video would help. The phone buzzed: The first of Stacey's videos. Here goes, thought Maya as she played the clip. Immediately, Maya was startled by a loud burst of sound. "AAAAAAAAAHHHHHH! HELP HELP HELP SOMEONE PLEASE HELP!" Stacey screamed from the phone. Maya collected herself and played the next two videos, more confused than ever. "PLEASE HELP, ANYONE! I FELL IN THE BEAR CAGE! I CAN'T GET OUT. PLEASE HELP, I'M SO SCARED, ITS GONNA EAT ME." Starting to understand Stacey's plan, Maya grinned and growled a few distorted bars of Entry of the Gladiators. Soon, the sound of running could be heard outside of the enclosure, followed by metallic clanking and muttered swears.

"Miss please stay calm, Maya won't hurt you!" Alex shouted from behind the door. "Damn lock. How'd she even get in there?" He muttered.

"IM GONNA DI-DI-DIEEE" sobbed Stacey.

"Ma'am, please stay calm, I'm almost there! You're not gonna die." Alex said. Maya was impressed, Stacey was really laying it on thick. Maya started to let herself believe the plan might work.

"HURRY! GET ME OUT NOW!" With a final jiggle of the lock, the heavy door swung open, just in time for Alex to see a 300-pound bear, charge full speed at him, giraffe phone in tow. Jumping over Alex with a mighty leap, carrying herself and her new friend through the door and on the path to adventure!

Alex watched Maya and Stacey bound down the hallways of Wilsons Wildlife Solutions, trying to process what he had seen. "W-was that Faeowynns phone?" he stammered out weakly. With a start, he realized what had just happened. "Oh no. I'm so fired, aren't I?"

This is an entry to PeppersGhostPeppersGhost's Original Character Tournament. Thank you to the illustrious keyiikeyii for the wonderful character of Stacey Lee. This is her entry!

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