The man sat at the table in his cabin, a tiny secluded abode of naked wood planks, with a small antechamber before the main living room; he sat against the wall, next to the booze cabinet, the weapon locker facing him on the opposite side of the small dwelling. He had arrived at his place not long ago, an hour ago or so, and his plans were to enjoy a few days away from the stresses and noises of the city. However, the experience had commenced on the wrong foot. He had had accidents involving wildlife in the past, but this time, this time, this one time: something felt off, in the most unnerving and unnatural of all possible ways. His head felt both numb, as he gulped down another shot of whisky, and was also on the edge. His eyes glued to his dangling feet from the tall stool he perched himself onto, his hyper-focused brain as it went back to the image of that deer, which flashed and floated back onto his mind in spite of his alcohol-based attempts to drown it.
He recalled the moment too vividly; he was driving; he had looked away for a moment to change the tune on his radio; he had just had the time to glimpse and notice the figure of the buck, as instincts kicked in and pushed hard on the break of the car; he had felt the vehicle at it had slammed into the buck, the animal being flung in an unelegant way and loudly thudded against the paved road, the noise of bones cracking barely noticeable over the music; the meat and bone bag had rag-dolled onto the asphalt, a dead deer now for sure; and he had almost got out of the car, the door half open and his figure protruding from it, when the creature had seemed to get up and almost slid away, or slithering away would be a better descriptor of the motion which caused it to move away! It felt not just weird, but unsettling: like witnessing to a supernatural event, a paranormal occurrence. And, for a brief, the briefest of moments he had seen the eyes of the creature as it had gazed back at him: eyes glowing in such a way he could not nor would like to describe. He felt another drink was needed, he didn’t care if it was for the purpose of erasing the memory or enhancing it. He wanted to either forget or get an answer, damn it! It was not the first time he had hit or even killed a deer with a car, he was not a soft city boy, but what and why had he just…
When the mind is too focused on its own intangible tangles of questions, any suddenly picked-up noise is ten times as loud, a thousand times more unnerving. When he heard the strange trashing coming from outside the cabin, all of him froze, like an animal caught off guard. Silence fell again, a damp absence of noise which stuck onto his body as a wet garment and gave him uncontrollable shivers. Such an absence of noises which felt more unnerving than the sound of thunder striking too close. Then, the uncanny rusting of leaves and dragging noise against the wooden planks of the cabin commenced again. And yet: no steps could be heard, no crunch of broken twigs or stepped-onto dry leaves. Just the sound of something being dragged, like that of sticks being used to rummage the forest underbrush. No breathing or voices either; just this sound; like a far away, tall invisible creature playing with a long poking rod about and around the walls of the cabin. His mind drew unfathomable giants, but he pushed the images away. Slowly but surely, he realised, the sound was closing in and honing in on the door of the small wooden building, towards the cabin’s front door.
The man could not move an inch as he picked up the noise of the door handle being repeatedly struck and hit, not being pushed but slammed against. Indeed: whoever, whatever was just behind his last barrier of defence didn’t seem to know how or be able to properly open a door.
With a twang, the door slammed open! He felt a presence just around the corner, in the antechamber, a dark aura spread its tentacles in the room and gripped him, body, mind and soul. He then saw it; it was the deer he had hit on the way here!
It moved like a meat puppet, its limbs resembling a stumbling walk while not really moving, like animated by strings; it stood on its hind legs, front ones leaning forwards in a mocking approximation of how a man would stand and walk; its lower hooves glided and at times scraped against the floor planks; its head rested on the slightly crooked need, its mouth filled with coagulated blood ajar revealing a pulpy tongue lolling a bit on its side. The eyes, those eyes, those terrifying eyes!, they were already opaque with the grip of death, but shone and were filled with an amber-red tinge of otherworldly nature. The animated carcass stopped across the table, void gaze into the eyes of the living inhabitant of the cabin, only the sound of blood droplets falling onto the ground and the terrified breathing of the man. It kept on silently staring, held by unknown forces just above the ground.
“Dear God!” was all the man could whisper in horror; the death-redden stiff jaw of the deer snapped and twisted with a brittle acrid crunch, bones disjointing, opening like a fleshy mouth of a nutcracker. And, in a guttural yet ethereal voice from beyond the stars, replied:
“Tell me, my child.”