Carol stands absolutely still. In front of her, not more than ten feet away, is a fully-grown black bear. The ferns beneath its feet are crumpled and slightly browning, their delicate fronds pressed into the thick, wet mud of the forest floor. Carol hesitates. Slowly, very slowly, she looks around for a possible escape route. The light falling through the canopy of leaves has a pale, thin quality to it and the air is brackish with a faint scent of the stagnant water from the nearby estuary.
She decides to make a dash for it. Her shoes are slightly too tight, pinching at her toes and digging into the soft skin just above her heels. If she had put on thicker socks this morning, this wouldn’t be a problem, but in her haste to leave the house, she had grabbed a thin white cotton pair designed to sit low on the ankle, hidden below the line of the shoe. Seeing her move, the bear leaps forwards. A plane is flying directly overhead and the sound of its engines is like the rumble of a distant washing machine. It is a passenger plane of some sort – most probably an old 737 with a good few years of service still ahead of it. The bear eats Carol.