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General

Deer sniffed the air timidly. He didn’t sense any predators. Slowly, he emerged from the forest, still glancing around cautiously. After a moment he felt safe enough to lower his head and chew on the tender grass of the field. The air was crisp, Deer used his hoof to brush away some of the dead leaves that covered the grass. Winter would be here soon. He and his herd would have to find warmer shelter.

Deer was thinking about places in the forest that could shelter them when he heard a twig snap near the treeline. He whipped his head around to see what made the sound but saw nothing. Something filled the air, it made his hair stand on end. Danger. He wasn’t safe here. 

He stayed in place, biding his energy. Perhaps he would be lucky and it would only be a rabbit or stray cat, but he doubted it. The air felt threatening. Either way, he’d find out the truth. He turned away from the sound slowly, then ran off at full gallop.

Sure enough, he heard something chasing behind him. Definitely not a rabbit or cat. As he started leaping up a nearby hill he saw what it was. A wolf. Deer knew he had to keep running. The wolf would not give up on the chase so easily. Deer pounded ahead, never turning back. If he stopped to check on the wolf, he knew he would die.

He could hear the wolf panting. It was behind Deer, but not far. He had to create some distance if he had any chance of escaping unharmed. Deer made a dash for a grouping of trees he knew well. He hoped the wolf was not familiar with this part of the forest. Deer leaped and dashed around the sturdy trees with ease. He heard the soft growls of annoyance as the wolf fell behind in the dense woods. 

Good, Deer had a chance to escape now. He only had to figure out where to go. It was mating season, his horns were tall and proud. Perfect for attracting a young doe, but it made hiding difficult. He couldn’t fit into an abandoned burrow or small cave. If he couldn’t hide, he’d have to escape. He had to find somewhere the wolf would not be able to follow him. 

A soft rushing sound in the distance gave him an idea. The river. The rapids were strong and the water was chilling this time of year. If Deer could make it to the other side of the river, then the wolf could not follow. He would be safe. 

Deer heard an angry panting drawing near. It seems his antics in the woods had only agitated the wolf. He had to work fast. Deer took off again at full speed towards the river. He leaped nimbly around fallen trees and under whatever brush he could fit. He hoped this confusing trail would further distract and distance the wolf from him. It seemed the wolf had become wise to Deer’s tricks though, as it took him almost no time to catch up.

It didn’t help that Deer was growing tired as well. He wasn’t sure if this wolf was starving or just determined to catch him after everything Deer had done, but it wasn’t giving up. Deer felt his legs growing weak, his lungs burned with the chilly autumn air. The sound of the river grew louder.

Almost there, he was almost there. He just had to push a little harder. Deer thought of his herd. He had to return to them. Winter would be coming soon, then the fawns in the spring. Deer wanted to see his offspring when they were born in spring, it was something he always looked forward to. Then seeing the fawn grow and play throughout the summer. He wanted to live to see it.

The panting of the wolf drew closer, but Deer had found his second wind. He gathered up all his strength and made a wild dash towards the tree line. As he burst through it the sounds of the rushing river greeted him. Deer knew he was not safe yet though. He had to find a way across, and quickly. The wolf was not far behind.

Deer looked around frantically. No shallow spots in the river, the rapids rushed at full force, no branches or fallen trees gave him a bridge to walk across. As he heard the crunching leaves and snapping branches of the wolf’s approach, a path came into view. About four or five flat stones that rose slightly above the rapids. It was risky, Deer was just as likely to fall in as the wolf was, but he had no choice. As the wolf jumped out from the trees Deer dashed towards the river and leaped for the first stone.

His hooves slid unsteadily on the slick stone, but he caught his balance. He prepared himself and leaped for the next. Another unsteady landing, but he made it. Deer glanced back. The wolf eyed him angrily, saliva dripping from its sharp teeth as it panted from their chase. It paced back and forth along the riverbank. Finally, the wolf let out a sinister growl and walked back towards the forest. It knew it could not cross the river.

Relief filled every inch of Deer’s body. He took his time leaping over the next few stones. His hooves thudded softly against the chilled ground. His legs wobbled unsteadily though. It had been a long chase, Deer was exhausted. He glanced back at the river. A short drink of cool water before he went back to his herd.

Deer leaned down and began to lap at the chilly water. Suddenly, he felt a sharp pain in his head. It brought him to his knees. Had he been drinking too fast? No, Deer watched in horror as red oozed down his face and trickled into the water. The rapids carried it down the stream. Deer glanced up, his vision fading. He watched as a human jumped down from a nearby tree, its fire-stick still smoking at the end. 

Deer hadn’t been cautious enough. He should have kept running. He was so relieved about escaping the wolf that he didn’t check his surroundings. Deer didn’t realize he was still being hunted.

July 15, 2020 07:48

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3 comments

Deborah Angevin
08:41 Jul 16, 2020

Loved the way you write the description of the scenes! Would you mind checking my recent story out, "Orange-Coloured Sky"? Thank you!

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ADHI DAS
13:32 Jul 21, 2020

Good read😊

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Corey Melin
05:23 Jul 17, 2020

Loved the chase as you can picture it all. It's unfortunate that Deer loses at the end.

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