In the Northwoods of Wisconsin...
Life is quiet...
Fawn's are born each Spring...
Or are they?
By Savannah Rayne
Jacob Ellis stood looking out the patio doors. His eyes scanned the yard looking for them, surprised to find that none were in sight. His vision strained to see in the rapidly descending darkness, trying to view the wooded parameter of the acre sized clearing of the yard. There were no signs of movement beneath the apple tree. Even the wire fenced garden was void of their presence.
It seemed as if Jacob’s plan to rid the yard of the destructive, four legged, white-tailed animals had worked. Still, he had expected to see a few of them around. They couldn’t have all been taken care of…
Two days earlier, Donna had asked her husband Jacob, if there was anything he could do to get rid of the deer that had eaten all the flowers and shrubbery around the house. The animals also figured out how to get into the fenced garden. They ate everything in sight, leaving behind damaged plants. Some were chewed right to the ground.
Donna was quite upset. Her one true passion was gardening and she spent long hours tending to the many flower beds and the vegetable garden, she had planted. The morning’s conversation had been a repeat, of the same discussion they’d had daily over the past few weeks.
“Damn it Jacob, I really want those destructive things gone,” Donna said in a seriously pissed off voice, entering the kitchen after attempting to retrieve some tomatoes from the garden, only to return empty handed.
“Well, what do you want me to do? You don’t want me to shoot them, because it’s not hunting season. Not to mention your poor Bambi philosophy. I built a taller fence this year and tried all the commercial deer deterrents on the market. I even tried Mark’s crazy home remedies, nothing has worked,” Jacob said, a bit louder, than he intended.
After grabbing the gallon of milk, Donna slammed the refrigerator door, practically yelling, “Poor Bambi, my ass! I want them taken care of. There’s nothing left of my flowers and I won’t be canning anything this year, they ate it all already!”
Picking up the large, dark green coffee mug Jacob took a swallow of the now tepid, dark liquid. He remembered one last remedy Mark had told him about. It was highly illegal which didn’t sit well with him. Jacob wasn’t the sort of man to go around breaking the law. Christ, he had never even gotten a speeding ticket. He would have to think it over more carefully. Maybe use that as a last resort. Maybe.
“I’ll talk to a few of the old farmer’s when I stop in town after work today and see if they have any other suggestions. It was a rough winter and the weather lately hasn’t exactly helped. They’re just trying to survive too, you know?” Jacob said sympathetically.
“I’ll remind you of that when you want homemade salsa or canned tomatoes’ for your chili. Christ Jacob, have you seen how sick the apple tree looks? The apple’s that are coming in won’t be any good for using, it’s just more damn deer bait.” Donna said, her voice laced with irritation while she rolled her eyes.
“I’ll see what I can do, dear,” was Jacob’s only reply as he picked up the coffee mug again, and reached across the kitchen table for the newspaper. As an afterthought, he also grabbed an apple out of the bowl filled with mixed fruits, which was centered on the table.
After work Jacob stopped to talk with some of the old farmers that hung out at the feed mill. The visit produced no more insight as to how to get rid of the vandalizing critters. He had already tried everything that was mentioned.
Now on his ride home, Jacob considered using the last idea Mark had mentioned. He said…guaranteed rather, that the animals that ate anything laced with the antifreeze would die. Antifreeze, Jacob thought as he continued driving his rusty old F150 pickup truck, on the wooded back road. He didn’t want to kill anything, he just wanted his wife to stop gripping everyday about her flowers, and he certainly would miss the homemade salsa.
As Jacob’s truck topped the steep hill, thinking of salsa, he nearly hit the white-tailed deer that stood in the center of the road. Slamming on the brakes hard, the pickup truck skidded as the tires tried to grab hold of the graveled road. That natural reflex to stomp on the brake sent the truck skidding across the gravel, swerving to the right. As Jacob tried to regain control of the vehicle, he overcorrected his steering, causing the truck to fish-tail, sliding to where the road met the embankment. Once the tires caught the uneven ground, there was no stopping the truck from sliding into the tree-lined ditch.
“God damn son of a bitch,” Jacob yelled as the truck came to a sudden halt. The passenger side door of the truck was now wrapped tightly against a big oak tree. Jacob slammed both hands on the steering wheel, muttering a few more choice words he knew his mother would have washed his mouth out for using.
Evidently the deer wasn’t quite as surprised by the arrival of the truck which housed Jacob, because as quick as a flash of lightning, it took off across the road heading for the safety of the woods. Jacob got out of the truck to survey the damage. He was not at all pleased to see the crunched metal crease in the door. However, he knew he should be thankful that it hadn’t been worse. Getting back into the vehicle, he threw it into four wheel drive and slowly worked the vehicle out of the ditch, and onto the road.
He turned looking for oncoming traffic before proceeding, and was surprised by what he saw. There about twenty five feet away, just inside the woods, was the deer. Not only the one, but five of her companions as well. “What they hell are you looking at?” Jacob asked sarcastically. The doe’s continued to gaze at him, and if he didn’t know better, it almost appeared as if they were smiling and laughing at him.
“Oh this is just bullshit,” Jacob muttered as he pulled out, heading for home once more. Unseen by Jacob, the deer stood their ground and watched his truck fade into the horizon. Once he was out of sight, the animals turned, slowly walking further into the woods.
“Hey, babe!” Donna greeted her husband as he entered the kitchen. She was checking on the pot of beef stew, simmering on the stove. The scent of homemade bread baking filled the kitchen. Jacob set the bag of groceries that he had also picked up, on the kitchen table. Walking over to the refrigerator, he grabbed a can of beer and slammed the door shut.
“Oh, oh what happened now?” Donna asked, knowing whatever she was about to hear wasn’t going to be good. Her husband normally had a cool, calm demeanor and didn’t upset easily.
Jacob sat down on a chair at the table, explaining what happened on the drive home. After a long drink of his beer he told his wife how the deer were just standing inside the tree line on the side of the road.
“I swear honey, if I didn’t know better—I would have thought those fucking things were laughing at me.”
“Hey, your mouth please,” Donna scolded half kiddingly, as she joined her husband at the table.
“Sorry dear,” he said apologizing for his choice of using the ‘F’ word. The couple spent a few minutes discussing the truck incident, deciding it wasn’t worth reporting to the insurance company. The truck was old and basically used as Jacob’s secondary vehicle for work and hauling things, instead of taking a chance on wrecking his newer Dodge Ram. The liability coverage on the Ford wouldn’t cover the damages anyway.
“I’m going to go out and see if that door opens. Maybe I can pound the dent out some,” Jacob told Donna as he stood, tilting his head back to finish off his beer.
“Okay, well don’t get too involved with things. Supper will be ready and on the table in about thirty minutes, tops.” His wife advised him.
“Yell when it’s ready,” Jacob said exiting the kitchen. He walked over to where he had parked the truck in front of the garage. Looking at the dent once again, he tried to open the passenger door. It took a bit of pulling with all of his strength, but the door finally opened. Jacob repeated the action several times, and seeing the door opened and closed properly, he decided he could live with the dent. The only annoyance was the new popping metal sound, when the door was maneuvered. He didn’t think WD40 would fix that, but figured it wouldn’t hurt to try.
Jacob went into the garage and grabbed the can of oily lubricant off the metal shelf. Next to it were various other cans, including an array of colored spray paint. For a brief second he smiled to himself as he thought about painting the word ouch across the dent. Had this been his pride and joy Dodge, there would be no smiling. He would probably be out right now with his shotgun hunting the damn things down.
“Sweetie, supper’s ready.” He heard Donna holler from the back deck. “I’ll be right there dear,” he yelled back. Giving the door hinges a liberal squirt of the oil; he worked the door open and shut several times. Just as he had thought, it didn’t help. The groan of the crunched metal was still there. He slammed the truck door, still pissed about the whole incident. He crossed the yard heading in for supper, unaware of the eyes watching from just inside the woods.
Leaning back in his chair so that it was balanced on two legs, Jacob stretched his arms above his head. “That was some really good stew, honey,” he said to Donna who started doing dishes. “We’re getting low on the venison stew meat though. After what I used today, we have about five packages left. There are still a few roasts and some steaks in the freezer.” She informed her husband.
“Bow hunting season opens in a few weeks. Maybe I’ll bow hunt too this year, instead of waiting for gun season. I have the free time now, since overtime is done at the factory,” Jacob said, thinking it might solve the deer problem as well as putting more meat in the freezer.
“That’s up to you I guess,” Donna said as she went about cleaning up the kitchen. She was not a huge fan of hunting, especially if it was just for sport. But Jacob had always been a responsible hunter, unlike some of their neighbors. He always hunted safely, never violated and he used the venison to fill their freezer. Nothing was wasted.
Donna finished cleaning up the table and putting the leftovers into the refrigerator. Glancing over at her husband, she saw that he was situated in the oversized recliner watching the news. She continued over to the sink and started doing up the dishes from supper. It was probably her least favorite household chore. The only thing that made the daily task tolerable was the large window over the sink, which gave a wonderful view of the yard. While standing washing pots and pans, she could marvel at the sight of her beautiful blooming flower beds. At least that was the case in prior years.
Now as she looked at her flowers, she only saw a few blooms and what was left of her once flourishing plants. Most had been eaten right down to ground level by the deer. Sighing with the thoughts of her hard work being nothing more than a colorful, tasty meal for the four legged villains, she turned her attention back to the task at hand.
Donna emptied the dish pan of hot, sudsy water, peering out the window. Shit, she thought as she saw the deer standing just ten feet from the house. She rinsed out the dish pan, setting it upside down in the sink so it could dry before being put away underneath. After wiping the counters and hanging the towels up, she stood at the sink peering out into the yard, once more.
If the damn things hadn’t destroyed her flowers, the picturesque scene before her would have made for a lovely painting. The sun was in its final stages of setting, casting hues of pinks, reds and orange across the sky. The yard had a faint glow about it. There were now several doe’s eating peacefully, without a care in the world. For being such a pain in the ass, they were beautiful creatures to watch.
Donna stood there taking in the moment when all at once, the five deer turned their heads in unison, and looked in her direction. What the hell, she thought as they continued to watch her. They stood there studying her…no movement, whatsoever. Ok, this is just too weird, Donna thought, choosing to head into the living room to join her husband.
Before getting all comfy on the couch with a good book, Donna thought she might as well make her way around the room and close the mini blinds that hung from the windows. Not that it really mattered. They lived far enough back from the road that no one could see into their house. It was more of a habit, rather than serving as a filter from prying eyes. Prying eyes, she thought recalling the deer in the yard.
Donna twirled the rod, closing the blind on the first window. When she reached the window that was behind the couch, she happened to look out. No way! She thought, as she viewed several more doe’s standing there, no more than seven or eight feet outside the window. While she stood there looking at them, she got the creepiest feeling when they simultaneously turned their attention to her.
“Hey, you want anything?” Jacob asked as he passed her heading into the kitchen to get another beer from the fridge.
“Huh?” she muttered.
“I asked if you…” Jacob’s voice trailed off, as he got closer to the patio doors. He happened to glance out and was stunned by what he saw. “Holy shit,” he said, watching the deer in the yard. What got his attention was the number of them. There had to be a dozen or better.
“What’s the matter?”
“You should see all the deer out here,” Jacob responded. As he made the statement to his wife, the animals turned their attention to him. They must have heard him or maybe they caught sight of his movement. But Jacob had never seen a time where all the deer in a group turned their heads in perfect unison.
“Well, I have six of them right outside this window. A few minutes ago there were five or so outside the kitchen,” Donna explained to her husband. Unable to deal with the uneasy feeling of being watched she twirled the rod of the mini blind, shutting out the unwanted on-lookers. Something didn’t feel right to her. Living in the northern woods of Wisconsin all of her life, she was use to the critters who shared her surroundings. This however, gave her the creeps.
She sat down on the couch, grabbing the multi colored throw her grandmother had made for her a few years ago. She wasn’t sure if the sudden chill was caused from the falling temperature of the evening, or the freakiness of the situation.
Jacob moved to the window above the sink to peer out. Sure enough, the five doe’s were still there. And they were looking at him. What the hell was going on here? Jacob thought to himself. He quickly raised his arms and flailed them in front of the window. The deer didn’t move. Normally, any sudden movement would have sent the skittish animals running. But, not this time.
The darkness of night had now completely descended, making it harder to see the four legged visitors. The yard light over by the garage automatically came on and lit up the parking area quite well, but it did very little in the way of illuminating the area closer to the house. Deciding he’d seen enough, he turned heading to the refrigerator, when he noticed movement outdoors.
A large doe appeared from the shadows of the night, looking directly at Jacob. “Son of a bitch,” Jacob whispered so quietly that Donna didn’t hear him. The two stared at each other. Jacob transfixed on the eyes of the doe. At first he thought the glow of its eyes, were like that of any normal animal when reflected light caught them at a certain angle. The seconds ticked by in the visual confrontation, when the eyes of the doe changed to a glowing florescent green. Jacob was having a hard time understanding what he was witnessing. He stood there cemented with a mixture of curiosity and fear, as the intensity of the glowing neon color grew. Jacob remained there spellbound, as the deer took a step forward, then rearing up onto its hind legs.
The animal balanced itself on its rear legs, pawing the air in front of it. The amount of time it remained in that position was only a couple of minutes, yet longer than was normal. The action displayed by the doe caused Jacob to break eye contact, stepping back. What the hell was that? I didn’t just see that, that’s not possible! Jacob thought, as he tried to comprehend what he just experienced. His mind had to be playing tricks on him.
“Something wrong J—” Donna asked from her seat on the couch.
“Uh, no…” he answered trying to convince himself, he imagined everything, that nothing was wrong.
“When you come back could you grab me a can of soda?”
“Sure…” Jacob muttered, taking a step forward to look out the window once more. Nothing.
He saw absolutely no signs of the demonic looking doe. Blinking several times, and then rubbing his eyes trying to clear his vision, he took one last look. Nothing. Ok, maybe I did just imagine all that. He thought, yet he knew better.
Walking over to the fridge, he grabbed himself a beer and a Diet Pepsi for Donna. He really needed a drink, after all that. Walking past the patio doors on the way back to the living room, he couldn’t help but to peer out into the night. He stopped dead in his tracks. Outside the huge doors, he saw the glowing eyes of the deer. It had to be the deer. It seemed to be a fricking herd of deer. Jacob watched, as the eyes moved closer, yet not close enough that you could make out their bodies in the darkness. All he saw were their eyes.
Jacob was going to turn away, when a large buck silently walked up to the patio doors. It had somehow quietly made its way onto the back deck, appearing right outside the glass, staring back at him. The stag was large, with a rack any hunter would be proud to mount and hang on his wall. Jacob was frozen to the spot on the opposite side of the glass doors. While inspecting the animal he noticed the buck’s eyes weren’t neon green like the others. These were glowing, an eerie red.
“Son of a bitch,” Jacob yelled as he hurried away from the patio doors.
“What?” Donna asked, alarmed by her husband’s sudden outburst. She started to get up from the couch intending to look outside.
“No! Get the hell away from the windows Donna,” Jacob ordered.
“Donna, go into the bedroom and get my shotgun out of the closet.”
“J, you’re scaring me, what’s wrong?” Donna had never seen her husband in such a panic.
“Just do it and don’t ask questions.” Jacob barked as he spread the plastic slats of the mini blinds, looking out the living room window. He didn’t see anything. Were they gone? He wondered. Donna came up behind him peering over his shoulder, trying to see what was causing all the commotion. All she saw was darkness.
“Jacob, what the hell is going on? I don’t see anything…what’s out there babe?” she asked, as she rubbed his back. Donna went to the patio doors where Jacob had been standing minutes earlier and looked out into the yard. “Jacob, I don’t see anything… are you going to say something?” she asked.
Jacob was still looking out the window. What the hell had he seen? Donna would never believe him. Hell, he didn’t believe it and he saw it! Not wanting to scare his wife or have her think he had lost his mind, Jacob decided a little white lie was in order.
“A bear… I saw a bear,” he coolly lied.
“No shit? You saw a bear…in the yard?” Donna sounded a little more than surprised. She wasn’t sure what surprised her more, the sighting of the bear, or the reaction her husband had to seeing it.
“Yeah. It was a big ass bear too,” Jacob lied further.
“Okay then,” Donna said heading back to the couch to get comfy once more. She was hardly concerned about a bear. Bear sightings weren’t uncommon in the north woods. Even though there had never been one in their yard before, she wasn’t going to make a big deal out of it. They were curious animals and if left alone, they usually went on their merry way.
Jacob concluded that the deer had left the yard, or at least were out of sight. Still a bit creeped out by what he saw, he walked over to Donna and handed her the soda he’d been holding for a while. He then plunked down in the old, blue recliner, popped open the beer and took a long swig.
The couple stared at the TV; both lost in their own thoughts. Donna, wondering if she should give her sister a call in the morning and maybe suggest they meet for lunch. Jacob’s thoughts were lost on the creatures he had viewed in the yard. He couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling he was left with. Every once in a while, he would get up and cautiously look out the patio doors into the blackness of the yard. Still nothing. Hopefully, that was a good thing.
A few hours later, the two headed to bed. It wasn’t long before Jacob heard the steady, shallow breathing of his wife, confirming Donna was asleep. Jacob however, slept little that night. When he closed his eyes, images of glowing, green eyes appeared in his mind. After tossing and turning until three o’clock in the morning, Jacob made a decision. He would use the suggestion Mark had made to rid the yard of the deer. They had to be just deer, he convinced himself. As the sun started to rise, he settled into a restless slumber.
To find out what happens to Jacob and Donna, you’ll have to go to…
By T. Stanley "Lyn Croft"
This review is from: Hot Reads Collection Volume One (Kindle Edition)
"Oh Deer", by Savannah Rayne is a wonderful short story! I couldn't put it down, and was left in awe by the twist at the end. Just when I thought everyone was safe and happy...you know...going to live happily ever after...Well, you'll have to read this book to find out. Definatley a great read, and a great author!
Review by: Author Robin Renee Ray on Sep. 13, 2011 :
One of the best short reads to cross my laptop. Savannah Rayne take you on a wild ride of on the edge intrigue, with a twist that will leave you thinking and without a doubt wanting more!
One of the best short reads to cross my laptop. Savannah Rayne take you on a wild ride of on the edge intrigue, with a twist that will leave you thinking and without a doubt wanting more!
DeAnna Felthauser rated it
A great quick read that has you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. I admit...I'll never look at deer the same way again ever. LOL! Really enjoyed it.