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I woke up groggy and disoriented.

Where was I?

The floor was covered in dust, and surrounding me were walls of rotting wood, but at least the roof was intact.

A bolt of thunder had jolted me wide awake. I walked up to a window and wiped the grime off to look outside. The rain was coming down in cascades and visibility was zero.

How did I come here? Who brought me here?

Boy! Was I famished!

How long was I out? I need to find something to eat and also some light. It’s so dim here.

 I tried to look around for a switch but there were none!

Just as I hobbled around blindly, I walked into a cord dangling from the ceiling– Ah! The light cord!

The house was bare except for a plush armchair and a bookcase. There was a lone grimoire on one of the shelves.

But first, food!

I expected the kitchen to be empty and bare too, but to my surprise, the refrigerator was fully stocked!

I made some sandwiches and with a steaming cup of coffee, sank into the plush armchair.

Why on earth was I on the hardwood floor earlier?

Is this my house? Did I knock my head and lose my memory? Not possible…I would at least remember my own home!

I gobbled up the sandwiches ravenously and since there was nothing much to do, I reached for the grimoire.

A chunk of metal, from a niche in the spine, fell with a clang onto the floor.

A humongous key! Quite rusty at that.

But what unique filigree and ornate design. Studded with colourful stones too, but they looked quite muddy.

I made my way to the kitchen sink and ran it under the water.

And there they were, gleaming and lustrous!

Precious stones!

I didn’t know the names of many and these were in hues that I’d never seen before.


“Oh boy, Oh boy, Oh boy! Fish! Huge ones jumping and playing in the brook today!”

The air feels so refreshing after the rains last night. But I crave honey and all I want is lots of honey. Maybe a little bit too, but I want it right now.

What’s that buzzing noise? It can only mean one thing. Bees! And bees make honey.

“Come on, Misha! Stop daydreaming. We have to be on the move, son!

“Mumma, don’t walk so fast. What’s the hurry?”

“Misha, my boy, please don’t hassle mumma. Keep pace with me. They will find us and then…”

“Then what, mumma?”

“I’ll tell you about it for tonight’s bedtime story. But only if you keep walking fast enough without stopping to admire the scenery.”

“Yayyy! Ok, mumma, let’s go.”

Misha ambled along with his chubby frame and grizzly paws and the two bears walked on.

The sky was a canvas of tangerine and amber as the great fireball dipped into the horizon beyond the towering mountain tops. The slopes glistened in the slanting rays and silhouettes of men on horseback were framed against the gleaming light.

Unnoticed, the men in trenchcoats and ruffled collared shirts had holsters on their hips as they rode down the slope noiselessly and with determination.

The target was in plain sight!

Esteban would spare their skins now or else they’d have been fresh meat for his crocodile pond.

At the foothills, some distance away, they disembarked from their horses and walked stealthily on foot, signalling to each other to be silent over the gravels and pebbles.

Across the flowing stream, eyes met. Some gleamed with greed and victory.

The target panicked…felt helpless. A single shot rang out at the same time as growling pain…

The continuous dying growls echoed in the valleys—

Run, Misha! Save yourself, my baby…run deep into the woods. Mumma is dying but will always be with you. Mumma loves you…Run, run…hide at once. Go to the dilapidated mansion only after nightfall…call Shannara…

Misha, dumbstruck, peeped out from the thickets of the woods and saw the men haul his mumma away. Tears welled up and sobs threatened to rack his body but he stifled them.

They killed my mumma! Why? If only mumma hadn’t gone to catch fish for our dinner…Mumma is dead because of me…

Misha agonisingly waited until dark as his mumma had advised. He crept out from his hiding place and threw furtive glances around him.

No one around… 

 The full moon was at its zenith brightening his path on his way to the dilapidated mansion. It was where his mumma had asked him to go.


I turned the key over and over in my hand. It looked mystical and custom made.

Which lock would it open? It didn’t open the grimoire when I inserted it into the cleverly concealed keyhole.

Was it just an accessory? No! It couldn’t  be! It dropped off a grimoire. It must mean something…

I had an uneasy feeling of someone watching me.

Creepy! Who would be around in this wilderness?

 I turned my face to the window and my heart leapt into my mouth! A grizzly bear cub! Mother bear couldn’t be faraway.

That’s right! I’d be dinner for these wild animals tonight!

Good lord! Are the doors and windows secured?

Just as my thoughts were running amuck, the cub tapped on the pane gently  and…waved at me!

I dared to inch closer and looked at him curiously. I staggered back and landed on my flanks when it called out to me in a melancholic tone—

“Hail Shannara! Mumma asked me to come and see you..Can I come in?”

The bear spoke! No! I understood animal language! Who am I?

“Shannara, please try to remember why you’re here. It’s me, Misha… they killed mumma. They will come looking for me too. You’ve got to do something. Did you find the key?”

Oh brother! Why was my head so heavy? I could feel a dull ache coming on if I tried to remember anything.

 “Misha, is this the key you’re asking about? Take it.”

“Shannara…please don’t do this! We haven’t any time to lose. Try to recall.

Where’s the grimoire? We’ve to open it quickly.”

This cub behaved like he knew what he was talking about. How did he know so much? What was happening?

“Here’s the grimoire, Misha. Now tell me what’s happening.”

“I’ll tell you, but first we’ve got to do something about your memory. You must’ve  bumped your head on something!”

“Misha, how are you so knowledgeable?”

Misha rolled his eyes and said, “It’s because I’m the heir of the Great Bear! You dummy!”

Did Misha just swear at me?

Great Bear indeed!



 “C’mon! Don’t just stand there. Open the door to the backyard and get me a handful of Angel Trumpets and Wolfsbane. Two handfuls of Nightshade too. Go!”

“Are you trying to poison me, Misha? Are you alright?”

“Trust me, nothing will happen to you. You’re Shannara! The Spellcaster! The Sanguine Sorceress of Ursa Major!”

It was too much to take in. A talking bear…lost memories…I must be stuck in a cuckoo dream.

Misha gave me directions to concoct the brew and as soon as I gulped it down, everything was crystal clear!


Ursa Major! My home! Naarwan, the planet of the golden-pawed bears!

The poaching mafia on earth, in alliance with the Secret Witchcrafting Society had tried multiple times to lure these bears, but without any success.

It was on that ill-fated day when a conjunction of the stars and planets occurred once in a thousand years that Misha, the unsuspecting cub was hypnotized under the spell.

Snuggle Star, his mother had tried to shield him, but got sucked into the wormhole too.

Esteban, the Ruthless had gotten to her!

That’s what Misha said.

That’s why I’m here…on a rescue mission…!

I had to put an end to this monster and his evil ways.

“Shannara! I know that look on your face. Your eyes are glazing over. You remember everything now, don’t you?”

Misha ambled up to me and laid his head on my shoulders. I hugged the cub close,  comforting him and soothing the ache in his heart.


This dilapidated mansion was our safe house on earth and the grimoire was the way to go back home. A book of spells to summon our starship.

But, it needed Misha’s paw print too to open the book and to unlock any spell. The gem-studded rusty key wasn’t the only tool.

Misha laid one of his golden paws on the grimoire. A radiant light emanated from within the pages and until it could contain it no further, the hardbound cover flew open with the pages flipping in a frenzy.

The dizzying lights continued spilling and illuminating the room with a brilliance of a thousand suns!

And when they finally settled down to a rustle and the light dissipated into bursts of sparkles, I spotted my trusted wand!

Glorious! And in mint condition!

Esteban, I’m coming to get you!

Tonight was the judgement day for all evil to finish. Armed with the grimoire and my wand, Misha and I set out to avenge Snuggle Star.

We spotted Esteban and his henchmen  yodelling and drinking to glory. The bonfire cast eerie shadows and the flickering red light on their faces gave them a demonic appearance.

Snuggle Star was laid on the pebbles and it broke Misha’s heart to see her lifeless. He let out an agonising growl loud enough for the echoes to reverberate all around.

It was too late!

They spotted us!

Mierda! It’s Shannara and that treasure trove of Ursa Major. Get them both, all you Gilipollas! What are you waiting for!

As soon as they aimed their rifle at us, I cast a spell on Misha to grow ten times his size!

“Giganto Misha!”

“Dios Mio! Correr tontos! Run for your lives, fools. She has the blasted wand!

I had murder in my heart. No one was going to get away with this vile deed.

 “Frozero instante!”

They stood paralysed and were unable to budge except for blink their eyes. I walked up to them and their eyeballs popped out in panic. I wanted them to feel the helplessness, the misery, the will to survive…the exhaustion of the witch-hunt.

Their eyes seemed to plead for mercy, but I wasn’t so forgiving tonight.

“Annhilito Erasuro!”

Laser beams from my wand annihilated them. Only a mute wisp of smoke stood witness to their ordeal.

Misha lifted Snuggle Star and hoisted her onto his back.

Rosy hues were already streaking the skies, heralding dawn. We trudged our way back to the dilapidated safe house.

Once inside, Snuggle Star was gently laid on the floor while I prepared the resurrection brew. Misha reverted to being a cub.

I sprinkled some drops of the brew on Snuggle Star.

With her wounds sealed, life was restored in her.

She stirred, much to Misha’s joy and he let out whimpers of delight.

Snuggle Star fluttered her eyelids open and moaned. She cuddled Misha close to her as he laid his head on her.

We had won and it was time to leave this place. I summoned the starship and it teleported in an instant.

After placing the wand inside the grimoire and locking it with the studded key and Misha’s paw print, we boarded the starship. This time I took the grimoire with me.

We were never coming back again.

As we rose into the sky, the sun too made a dazzling appearance. With a wave of my wand, I pulverized the dilapidated mansion.

With a brilliant flash of light, the starship made its way into the portal and we were gone before you could say Bear!



Name: Mafia

Place: Dilapidated Mansion

Animal: Bear

Thing: Rusty Key


This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Vaijayanti Panchal

    What a fascinating fantasy! I’m sure you had to do a lot of research pertaining to the stars and constellations. The prompts were used in a quite an innovative manner.
    I thoroughly enjoyed it reading your tale

  2. Avatar

    I visualized the bear of the Masha and the bear cartoon … and some Harry Potter feels coz of the spells…superb innovative story… nice usage of prompts

  3. Avatar

    I loved when Misha and mumma bear appeared in the story. It was sad to see the poachers win for a while, the spells were brilliant, as was the setting you built. Great use of prompts. This was a good read.

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