“Azure! Cobalt! Suppertime!” Blue Bear calls across the forest, then awaits the patter of little cub feet. “Where are those bears?”
“Who-o-o-o-o are you looking for?” hoots Wise Owl from somewhere above in the uppermost tree branches.
“The cubs, of course!” Blue sputters. “They disappear for hours at a time, every time I turn around. I’ve baked us a yummy honey-baked acorn loaf for supper. It’s getting cold.”
“O-o-o-o-o yes,” Wise Owl speaks up. “They dropped by while you were napping. They asked me to tell you that they are going trick-or-treating with their human friends.”
“Trick-or-what-ing?” asks Blue.
“You know, that thing that human-children do. They disguise themselves as various creatures and go door-to-door collecting goodies from each human house in the neighborhood.”
“Do you think that’s wise, Wise Owl?” Blue asks. “Will they be safe?”
“They will probably get prizes for best bear costumes,” Wise Owl replies. “But yes, I think they are safe.”
“I know that they want to do everything they can to Fight the Pipeline. But do they have to spend so much time with the humans in order to do that?”
“It takes everyone, humans and bears, if this pipeline is to be stopped.” Wise Owl proclaims.
“Argh-h-h-h-h! Help! Help!”
Blue and Owl are jolted from their conversation by the screams of fleeing bear cubs.
“Blue! Blue! Wise Owl! Help us!” screams Azure.
“We have just seen the most frightening sight!” cries Cobalt. “We couldn’t get away fast enough.”
Blue Bear feels heart rise to throat, out of fear for the precious cubs.
“What did you see? Is it chasing you?” Blue asks.
“No, no,” pants Azure, still out-of-breath. “It’s firmly planted in place. I don’t think it’s going anywhere.”
“You got away,” Blue sighs with relief. “So what can be so frightening?”
“You have to see for yourself,” Cobalt insists. “There’s no words to describe it. You have to see.”
“Where is this frightening thing?” asks Blue.
“Up the road, past the houses on the side of the mountain. You can’t miss it. Maybe Owl can lead you there.”
“Let’s stick together,” Blue suggests. “If it can’t go anywhere, as you say, then Owl and I should be able to protect you.”
Wise Owl launches into the night sky. With sharp eyesight, following the winding road up the mountain past the houses is no problem. Blue and the cubs scurry along the road, listening for the flap of great wings above to guide their way.
Ahead Blue sees great purple eyes staring out through the darkness. “That must be it,” Blue thinks. As the three bears draw closer, Blue sees a tall shape with flowing black robes and great white claw-like hands reaching out into the night, ready to grab small bear cubs or little children.
“Stay behind me,” Blue orders the cubs. “I can see why you’re frightened. That’s about the scariest creature I’ve ever seen!”
Azure peeks from behind Blue. “No! That’s not what frightened us! That’s nothing! What we saw was much much scarier! And it was right outside our new friend’s house.”
“Listen!” Cobalt shushes everyone. Through the dark woods comes the sound of sobbing.
“That’s our friend!” Azure says. “We have to help our friend.”
With Wise Owl leading the way overhead, the three bears gallop up the road to the next house. By the side of the road, in front of the house, a little girl sits on the ground wiping her eyes and wailing.
“Is she hurt?” Blue whispers. “What should we do? I don’t know how to comfort human children.”
“There it is!” Cobalt points. “The most frightening thing!”
Beside the little girl is a sign stuck into the grass in front of house. On it is the number “125.”
“O-o-o-o-o, I see,” hoots all-knowing Wise Owl. “125 is very scary. Not as bad as 50 perhaps, but still threatening.”
“What are you hooting about?” Blue shakes head. “Will someone please explain?”
“The Pipeline! The Pipeline, what else?” Azure squeals.
“Through–o-o-o here,” Wise Owl explains. “The signs mean that the Pipeline is slated to pass right through here. The path that the big tractors will make is 150 feet wide. Everything within that 150 feet will be destroyed. This little girl’s house sets at 125 feet. That means when the big tractors come to build the Pipeline, they will tear her house down. Very frightening indeed.”
“Oh,” Blue says, trembling in fear. “Now I understand. Another home lost to the Pipeline. A homeless human child. The Pipeline is a big, mean, frightening thing. And it’s not going away.”