It was around one in the morning when my uncle came home, a couple hours earlier than he usually does. At the sound of the door slamming shut I prop open my door so that only a sliver of vision is provided to me.

My uncle comes in, stumbling, a drink in his hand. I know his destination, the couch. He never uses the bed, he probably can’t find his way to the actual bedroom in time before falls to the ground. Drunk, obviously, he hobbles over to the ugly plaid recliner in front of the TV. You could compare his walk to Captain Jack Sparrow’s from that movie, The Pirates of the Caribbean. It wasn’t long until his snores dominated all the quiet in the house. I fully opened the door and slid out, not having to pay close attention to my steps because he wouldn’t even be able to wake up if a bomb was dropped nearby.

I walk, with perfect balance and coordination, to the back porch. I breathe in the fresh air, cool and crisp and calm as ever. I avert my wandering eyes to the woods in front of me. A smile blooming on my lips, I bounce down the steps and race into the place that I call home. The wild. It calls to me and I refuse to ignore it. It’s where I’m free, where I’m safe. Lightning bugs create a magical path for me, singing their song of the stars. I join in for a second before I change paths to go see the albino deer, Allison, who sleeps in a den by the creek. A beautiful creature she is. I consider her to be like my second mother and can hardly wait to see her every night.

I travel through the deep foliage, all different shades of wild green. Mushrooms pop up here and there and they don’t hesitate to greet me as I don’t hesitate to respond. They’re a talkative bunch for sure. The deep brown stump with moss growing on it in the shape of Florida lets me know I’m close. The cold lashes my face, quick and tender. The air is the freshest you’ll ever breathe.

Edward, the squirrel who tends to follow me, drops a nut on my head. I groan and look up, hands on my hips. “Yes?,” I ask. He responds the same as always. “Oh! Did I hit you, sorry. Well, now that you’re here...I’d like to show you something!” I sigh.

“Is this another ‘extraordinary find’ that you think I’ve never seen before? Because, last time, you showed me a quarter and let me assure you, those aren’t rare.” It’s true, he thinks, one day, he’ll find something that will impress me. I’ve seen buttons, ribbons, penny's, paper, pencils, chap sticks, and even a flashlight. I believe that, sure, he may find something worth looking into in the future, but to be honest, I just want to see Allison right now.

“Can it wait?” I ask, exasperated.

“No, no, no. I really think I've found something!”

I sigh once more and with a mutter, (you said that last time too), I make a move to follow. I love coming in fall when the leaves make wonderful noises under your feet, but Spring is pretty too. Flowers and plants are all in the process of emerging from the ground, colors of all kinds. I look around me. One peeking through over there and one almost in full bloom to my left. It’s like the beginning cycle of life, Spring.

Edward stops every few seconds to allow me to catch up until we come to his tree, a weeping willow, my favorite. I place soft fingers on its limbs, delighted at the response of the newly forming buds reaching for my face. I giggle and look back to see Edward come down after retrieving whatever he’s found this time. It surprises me when he pulls out a gorgeous necklace. It’s a thin metal chain connecting to a tiny wooden charm in the center. The charm is an extremely detailed portrait of wings. It’s painted to perfection, giving the wings life. I look up to Edward with eyes of awe and slowly nod my head, pleased with his find. Edward begins jumping up and down, his form of triumph.

“Can I keep this?” I ask him. He frowns a little but then agrees and I thank him. “Good job, Edward.”

If squirrels could blush, I’d bet he’s doing that right now. I smile and wave, heading back on track to Allison’s den. I end up in a mushy area and find it hard to trudge my bare feet through it, thinking how hard it was going to be to clean my feet off before I re-enter the house. But I denied to wear shoes despite Allison’s continuous worry that I’ll step on something sharp.

I feel more...More like I belong without shoes. It’s weird, I know, but shoes aren’t natural, if you know what I mean. I find Allison awaiting me in the same place we always do, by her den at the creek. I see her taking a drink and run over to her. I pet her head and she licks the tip of my nose.

“How are you dear?” she says.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Deer, or squirrels, are not nocturnal. You’re right. But there is something different about Allison. She prefers to live through the night rather than during the day. Edward, however, just stays awake until he gets a hold of me and then will fall back asleep.

“I’m good. How about you, Allison?,” I replied. She nods her head and goes to a soft patch of grass to lay down. I follow and do the same.

I’m afraid that Allison is a little sick. The past few times I’ve been here, I’ve found her eyes dark with hollows and sometimes, her breathing will intensify and she’ll politely have to ask me to leave. I just hope she can get better. She feels like family, more so than my uncle ever did. She looks up and squints her eyes. That’s a deer's form of a smile, though it’s easy to mistake them for a glare. Deep brown, like the trees around us are her big, round eyes. I have brown ones as well but mine aren’t as true as hers.

“Did Edward find you today?”

I give her a sideways glance that lets her know she already knows the answer to this. She puts her head down and slowly shakes it, chuckling.

“I have to give him credit today, though,” I say.


“Yeah, he found this really cool necklace.” I bring it out of my pocket to show her.

“Hmm…” She leans her head towards the wood, analyzing it. Her eyes go wide.

“What!?” I say.

“It’s just...Never mind. My eyes are going bad anyway.”

I’m puzzled but I don’t push it. Instead, I lay on her side, feeling her chest go up and down. I come here almost every night, not just to see her, but to hear stories of my mother.

"Your mother was like no one else," Allison begins.

"She loved the feel of the world around her. She could see for miles and smell the things young and old. Her only companion was the wind. For she was like no one else and no one else wanted to be in her company. But she was fine with that."

"But she was human like everyone else! Why was she different? Why wouldn't they accept her?" I exclaim.

"My Dear, she was never human." She licks my hair as if I am her own fawn and I let her as if she is my own mom. Our bond is strong and sometimes I just don’t want to leave her.

I guess I fell asleep because she nudges my head to wake me. I see the sun slowly rising in the distance. I whimper like a puppy, knowing I have to go. Like, right now. I look back at her and we say good-bye as her eyes start to tear.

As I’m walking back, I grab the necklace to examine it. Then, I place it over my head and onto my neck. I rub a tentative finger against it and it brings me a sense of peace.

As I make it to the clearing in our yard, I stop dead. “What were ya doin in the woodsss misssy?,” my uncle slurs from the porch, a new bottle of liquor in his thick hand. I start to tremble.

“Ya know you’re not ssupossed to be out here alone. Tsk tsk tsk.” He’s angry. I know it. And when he’s angry his grubby hands don’t relent. They’ll smack me and punch me and hurt me. This fills me with rage.

He starts to walk down the steps, almost tripping on the third with his unsteady legs.

“I think ya deserve punishment,” he says. He’s walking, no, zig-zagging his way toward me when I see the necklace glow. I guess he’s seen it too because his brows furrow, making a crease in between, and he stops. I watch as the glow only burns brighter until I feel something. There’s something on my back!

My uncle’s jaw drops open and he drops his almost-empty bottle. I look behind me and see...Wings!? Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, I have WINGS.

I recall what Allison told me.

"She was never human."

I look back at my uncle and smile as if I’ve had these all my life. “You can’t hurt me anymore,” I boom.

Then I jump up and to my surprise, I’m flying. Flying where I’m free. Flying where I’m safe. Where I’ll never have to see my uncle’s stupid face again. I’m coming to you to stay, Allison. I was a creature of the wild now. 

March 20, 2021 23:36

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