The funnel cloud passed over and I could feel the air pressure change. I heard the house creaking, The sound was deafening. You can’t see anything. You can’t hear shit aside from wood splintering and breaking.
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The first shake of the house and it started to split and for a brief moment I saw a light that went away almost immediately. The roof bucked and heaved and then it was gone. When the roof ripped off, that’s when I knew things weren’t going to be okay.
Inside of the house I was being thrown around like a rag doll. I was tossed from the house onto the pavement outside. On the pavement I was hit from all sides by debris and that’s when blacked out. I survived and my neighbor’s homes were untouched.
I have always wondered… why me?
Was it THEM?
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On a sunny day I stepped out into a meadow. I watched the flowers slowly move in the breeze. I breathed in the fresh air and looked around. I took a few steps; on my third step is when I spotted a grizzly bear with her cubs on the trail at the upper end of the meadow. Maybe if I quietly turn around and left maybe they wouldn’t see me, but the grizzly saw me right away, and they all ran up the trail.

But then for some reason she stopped, turned, and charged straight for me. I screamed so she would know I was human, hoping she’d turn back.  My noises only seem to quicken her pace towards me; at 25 feet I doused her with bear spray. Her momentum caused a cut out of her galloping body in the orange mist. She jumped at me and I dove face-first into the dirt and wrapped my arms around the back of my neck for protection.

She was on top of me, biting my arms, shoulders, and backpack. Her teeth went through my forearm, right into the bone “and I heard a crunch.” The force of each bite was like a sledgehammer with teeth. Over and over she bit me. I lay there playing dead for what felt like hours but was merely minutes, she suddenly disappeared.

I picked myself up, stunned that I was able to walk. I started back down the trail toward my truck, three miles below. About five or ten minutes down the trail, I heard a growl and turned. It was the grizzly, bearing down on me at 30 feet.  A ten inch paw knocked me quickly to the ground.

Again I protected the back of my neck with my arms and kept tight against the ground to protect my face and eyes. She slammed down on top of me and bit my shoulder and arm. My hand instantly went numb, and the wrist and fingers were limp and unusable. The sudden pain made me flinch and gasp for breath.

My gasping sounds triggered a frenzy of bites to my shoulder and upper back. I knew I couldn’t move or make a sound again, so stayed motionless through the pain. Another couple bites to my head caused a gash to open above my ear….I didn’t move. Blood gushed over my face and into my eyes… I didn’t move. She would eventually hit an artery in my neck, and I’d bleed out.

Suddenly the bites stopped; only the sound of her heavy breathing and sniffing remained. I could feel her hot breath on the back of my neck and her three inch claws digging into my lower back below my backpack, where she stood. I could smell the pungent odor she emitted. For 30 seconds, she stood there crushing me, smashing my chest into the ground and my forehead in the dirt. And then nothing.

I tried to look out but my eyes were full of blood. I wiped the blood from one eye and looked around. No bear. I stood up and moved quickly down the trail again. Forty-five minutes later, I got into my truck and drove 17 miles to the hospital.

Most of the punctures and tears were on my arms and shoulder. It took doctors eight hours to stitch me back together. The next day, I woke up with dark bruising in the shape of claws across my lower back where the bear had stood on me, but I was alive. A six-inch gash along the side of my head will forever be a reminder of this bear attack but I thanked God for getting me through this.

What made the bear attack? He survived the first attack; he survived the second attack and was thankful he survived. Was playing dead that effective?  Was the way he guarded his head and neck, enough to prevent dead from the 450 lb grizzly, perhaps it was…THEM.