Isaac takes it out on Arki.
News of Sam’s punishment and Arki’s friendship with Kodiak reached the other animals, and not all were happy with what they heard. Isaac wasn’t surprised, although he blamed Arki rather than Sam for what happened to her, telling everyone Arki was a loose female polar bear, who would take any opportunity going, and her blossoming friendship with a brown bear was surely enough proof of that for his statement to stand. Bruin was glad Arki had befriended Kodiak, as now Brunetta was still unattached to anyone, leading Bruin to think he might be in with a chance of getting back with her. Most of the inhabitants of the living room were overjoyed Arki had found someone who loved her and treated her with respect.
Meanwhile, Kodiak woke slowly, the previous night’s events still fresh in his mind. His paws seemed to remember the touch of those of the female polar bear to whom he’d given himself. Kodiak thought about Arki, and the mere thought of her warmed him all over. He’d not yet opened his eyes, and when he did, he knew he’d see Arki lying beside him on the quilt.
Suddenly Kodiak felt a huge furry paw take hold of his. It was that of a polar bear, Kodiak knew this, but it wasn’t Arki’s! this paw was rough, and the grip was fierce, painful! Opening his eyes, Kodiak saw a polar bear, but it wasn’t Arki, it was Isaac!
“You realise you have pledged yourself to a loose female don’t you Kodiak?” Isaac Asked, still crushing the startled brown bear’s paw in his.
“Arki’s not loose, and stop crushing my paw!” Kodiak pleaded.
“She’s a disloyal prostitute!” Isaac snarled.
“No she’s not!” Kodiak yelled, walloping Isaac across the nose with his free paw! Isaac threw up his forepaws to protect his face, letting go of Kodiak’s paw. Kodiak brought both forepaws smashing down on Isaac’s nose! Isaac screamed and lay limp on the quilt, all the nerves to his limbs complaining about the assault on his nose by shorting out and refusing to work. Isaac lay inert on the quilt, the toes of one forepaw twitching as his body registered the shock of the attack.
“You horrid creature!” Isaac yelled.
“How would you react if you woke to find a bleedin’ great male polar bear crushing your paw!” Kodiak yelled, “worse, that bear running your mate into the ground?” Isaac didn’t reply, for he knew what he’d do, and it was exactly what Kodiak had done.”
“I take your lack of response as admission you’d do what I did?” Kodiak asked, “yes? Well, leave me and Arki alone!” Isaac whimpered with pain as feeling returned to his body.
“I’m leaving,” he sniffed, “I’m going!” Kodiak watched Isaac leave. He then realised Arki was nowhere to be seen. Brunetta had vanished also, having gone for her walk in the wood, or so Kodiak thought.
“Arki?” Kodiak called softly. Crawling off the quilt, Kodiak looked beneath the bed. There, well out of sight, he found a bundle of white fur, which Kodiak knew well.
“Arki dear,” he said, “it’s okay my love, Isaac’s gone now. Arki, curled into a trembling ball under the bed, looked out at Kodiak with terrified eyes.
“Arki love?” Kodiak said gently, crawling beneath the bed and taking her paw in his, “it’s okay, it’s all ended now.” Arki’s paw lay flaccid in Kodiak’s, the female polar bear shaking with terror.
“come on Arki dear,” Kodiak said, “let’s go from here.” But Arki wouldn’t leave her refuge, removing her paw from Kodiak’s when he tried to guide her into the open.
“Okay,” Kodiak said, “we’ll stay here for a while.” Arki, her mouth dry, couldn’t reply. Kodiak took Arki in his paws, Arki snuggling up to him and burying her face in his fur.
“It’s okay Arki,” Kodiak said for the hundredth time. Feeling his fur getting wet, he realised Arki was crying. Kodiak let Arki cry, not trying to stop her. Once her tears had dried, he gently asked her what had taken place. Arki shook her head and buried her face in her paws. Kodiak realised then Arki hadn’t spoken to him since the previous night.
“Arki love,” Kodiak said, stroking one of the paws covering Arki’s face, “please, come with me, it’ll be okay, noone will harm you now.” Kodiak said to Arki, who looked at him between the toes of the paw he was stroking.
“It’s all ended now,” Kodiak whispered, “I promise you Arki, it’s all ended now.” Arki placed her paws on the carpet and looked Kodiak full in the face. The look in Arki’s eyes made Kodiak want to cry.
“there was nothing you could have done,” Arki said faintly, “nothing at all.”
“Nothing I could have done to stop what Arki?” Kodiak asked, but Arki shook her head.
“I can’t talk about it,” she said. Kodiak took Arki’s paw in his.
“Did he, Isaac, did he hurt you Arki?” Kodiak asked. Arki shook her head.
“I’m not talking about it Kodiak!” She yelled. Suddenly the fire in Arki died, and she crumpled totally.
“I woke to find Isaac’s paw covering my mouth, and him threatening that if I screamed or struggled he’d harm me.” Arki said, her words tumbling over each other, “Isaac then hit me on the nose with his paw, knowing it would incapacitate me. The pain from that was horrendous, but I knew he’d do worse to me if I cried out, so I didn’t dare. Throughout all this you were sleeping not far away, but Isaac was careful not to disturb you. Once he had me unable to struggle, he threw me on the floor. I lay there for a while, unable to do anything, but when feeling returned to my paws, I crawled beneath the bed, and stayed there until you came. Now, now I don’t know what to do!” Kodiak hugged Arki tightly.
“I did to Isaac what he did to you,” Kodiak said, “I woke to find Isaac’s paw crushing mine,,,”
“I heard what he said to you,” Arki replied, “I heard everything!”
“You’re not a prostitute,” Kodiak said, “Arki, you’ve been sorely treated by two male bears in your short life, and I’m not going to be the third to do what they did.” Arki wriggled free of Kodiak’s embrace.
“Let’s leave here,” she said. Kodiak took her paw, but Arki shook it free.
“Let me do it,” she said, “let me crawl out of here by myself.” Kodiak did as Arki wanted, and left her to it. Seeing her crawling into the open, Kodiak patted the sole of Arki’s left hind paw by way of encouragement as it drew level with his forepaws. Arki wiggled her toes as she crawled, acknowledging Kodiak’s loving gesture. Once Arki’s hind paws had disappeared from view, Kodiak followed into the open, where he found Arki clambering onto the quilt. Watching her, Kodiak realised afresh how much he loved Arki. Arki crawled across the quilt to her place and lay down exhausted in strength and spirit. Kodiak joined her on the quilt, lying down beside Arki and taking her paw in his.
“Can I stroke your paws Arki?” He asked. Arki breathed deeply, trying to calm herself.
“Hold me and stroke my paws Kodiak, please!” Arki begged. Kodiak heard the desperation in his mate’s voice, a desperate plea for normality, for him to tell her she was safe and that everything was going to be all right.
“I love you Arki,” Kodiak said, embracing the female polar bear tightly. Arki snuggled into Kodiak’s hug, letting him run his paws all over her body from her nose to the pads of her paws. Arki buried her face in Kodiak’s thick, warm, soft fur.
“Hold me forever Kodiak,” Arki pleaded. Kodiak silently vowed he’d avenge what Isaac had done to Arki. Arki seemed to sense his thoughts.
“Don’t do anything stupid,” she said softly.”
“How did you know I was thinking of doing anything?” Kodiak asked.
“Your paws told me,” Arki replied, “it is said that the paws of an animal can give away their thoughts, and yours have just done that.” Kodiak stroked Arki’s ears.
“I promise I won’t do anything stupid,” he said.
“I don’t believe you,” Arki replied.
“is it that obvious?” Kodiak asked.
“Please Kodiak,” Arki pleaded, “leave Isaac alone. Let others deal with him.” Kodiak knew Arki would know if he was even considering doing anything to Isaac, so he hugged her, making sure at least one of his paws touched one of hers and said:
“I won’t do anything to Isaac, I will leave it to others.” Arki smiled, for she could feel his intentions through the pressure of the pads of his left forepaw against those of her right fore.
“Thank you Kodiak, thank you,” Arki said. Kodiak smiled, tenderly nuzzling Arki’s ear.
“I’m safe now,” Arki said, “safe, very safe now.” Holding Arki close, Kodiak snuggled into the quilt.
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