On the eve of May Day, the day is longer and brighter. The trees still have little green buds and blooms on them that lightly rustle in the wind. It gives off the sweet smell of spring turning into summer that is both fresh and floral.
In the woods sits a small girl named Sasha. A six-year-old girl who has dark brown eyes, warm brown skin, long black hair, and a white spring dress with big pink flowers on it. With a serene smile on her face, Sasha gathers up some long grass and wildflowers. There is nothing she loves more than playing in the woods just outside of her home. She spends hours and hours out there. Her love of nature has her collecting bugs, plants, and rocks that she always brings home with her. She wants to bring the outside inside much to the dismay of her parents.
Today is not different from any other until she hears a rustling in the bushes behind her. A little afraid, Sasha hopes that it isn’t her father. Luckily, it is not him but a large female deer and two little fa
wns. Instantly mesmerized, she admires the beautiful regal creatures that stand before her. They gaze upon her just as she observes them. The two fawns cautiously approach her, while she sits still and watches in wonder. The two of them touch her with their cold noses on her cheeks. They begin to sniff at her hair while Sasha giggles in delight at these two babies who are getting to know her.
Suddenly, the mother deer approaches Sasha head on, slowly but fearlessly. The two little baby deer stand on either side of their mother. Sasha reaches her hand to touch the mother deer while she reaches her nose to Sasha’s hand. As soon as the deer’s nose touches her hand, she feels a strange sensation go up her arm. It’s like a gentle jolt of electricity. Sasha watches as her arm slowly change from its lighter to a dark brown with ivory spots. Although she doesn’t know what is happening, Sasha is not afraid of it. In fact, she feels like a caged bird being freed.
A loud shot gun booms throughout the woods and startles the deer making them run away. Sasha gasps in fright, she turns around anxiously to see her father with his shot gun barge out of the bushes. His angry red round face gives off the vibes of hate and anger.
“Sasha!” He yells at her through his heavily mustached mouth and with one large trunk-like arm pointing the shotgun at the ground. “What did I tell you about playing in the woods at night?”
“It’s not night, Daddy.” She says meekly.
“It’s time for supper!” He yells. “Get back to the house!”
Sasha fearfully walks past her father and looks at the ground. She doesn’t look at her father or the shotgun that he brought with him. Her calm smile turns into a troubled frown as she walks back to the house with her father close behind her. She hates the fact that he brings that gun with him everywhere. Sasha knows that her family is poor but do they have to kill every animal that he sees?
“Its important to put food on the table.” She can hear her mother say. But to Sasha’s mind, must they eat animals? They are the closest things to friends she has and yet she is forced to eat them.
It is silent at the dinner table. Her parents have eaten half of their food while Sasha has eaten all of her vegetables and drank nearly all of her milk. Now she is just picking at her meat. It’s so disgusting to her. She could be eating a friend but that doesn’t bother her father nor does it seem to bother her mother. Sasha looks to her mother as she sips on her water. Sasha’s mother is the kindest person she knows. She can’t help but wonder what she is thinking right now.
“Eat your meat.” Her father demands as he lights up his cigarette at the table.
“I don’t like meat.” Sasha says plainly. “It’s wrong to eat these poor animals when they were so nice to me.”
“Don’t be stupid!” Her father raises his voice slightly but goes deathly quiet. “Eat it or I put this cigarette out on your arm like before.”
Her mother slams her napkin on the table and stands up. “Don’t you dare threaten her! How do you expect her to eat when you talk to her like that!”
With that, the father gets a sour look on his face and stands up facing his wife. “Mildred. Do you remember what happens when my rules are disobeyed by either one of you?” He raises his eyebrows to her and loosens his belt. “I’ll punish both of you and make you pay with your hides.”
Not wanting to watch her father beat her mother again, Sasha reluctantly eats the meat. Both her mother and father look at her as she eats the meat and sit back down. Her mother has a stoic look on her face while her father looks from her mother to her with slitted eyes. He puts the cigarette to his mouth and watches her eat the rest of her dinner.
Sasha lays in her bed, looking out the window into the dark night while her mother reads her a bedtime story. Her voice just seems to blend in with what Sasha is really thinking about. She looks out to the stars and thinks about what happened that day with the deer. She remembered how her hand started to change like she was becoming one of them. She realizes now that she wishes she’s one of them. She can be free of this place, this life.
When her mother closes the book, Sasha closes her eyes and pretends to sleep. Her mother slowly walks to the bed and plants a kiss on her cheek. “One day Sasha. Things will be better. Everything will be alright.”
Her mother has been telling her this for as long as little Sasha can remember. Sasha never once believed what her mother says about things being better. Her father is as angry as ever and still kills anything that has four legs. As soon as her mother leaves the room, Sasha opens her eyes again. Silently, Sasha crawls to her window and looks outside to get a pleasant surprise.
The mother deer and her fawns are in the yard looking to her window as if they are waiting for her. For the first time in a long time, Sasha has hope again. A slight smile spreads on her face but she lets out a gasp as soon as she hears a loud thud hit the wall outside of her room. She crouches down against the wall hoping that her father doesn’t come in. She hears both of her parents screaming at each other in the other room. She realizes that neither one of them were coming in and if she is going to be with the deer, she has to do it now.
“You let that little bitch run wild!” Yells her father to the mother outside her door.
“She deserves freedom!” her mother screams back. “She’s a kid! She should be happy and safe instead of a prisoner of your hate and anger like I am!”
While her parents continue to argue and raise their voices, Sasha opens her window and climbs out. Silently and quickly, Sasha walks towards the deer which step forward and meet her halfway. She reaches out her hand to the mother again while her nose stretches out. When her hand meets the deer, Sasha’s arm begins to change just as it did before. The short brown fur with ivory spots appears on her arm and continues to surround her body. Sasha lowers down to her knees and feels her legs contort to where her knees go in the opposite direction and her feet change into hooves. Her arms become longer and straighter. No longer does she have hands but hooves. She looks around and can’t see too well but her hearing and smell have completely changed. She hears a drop fall from an outdoor tap into a bucket from one of her neighbor’s yard and she can smell the stream that is deep in the woods where she is not allowed to go.
“Stand up my child.” She hears a gentle voice say. “You are free now. Come with us. We will take care of you.”
Sasha in her deer form turns her long neck back to her parent’s house. She can still hear them screaming at each other but doesn’t know what they are saying anymore. Knowing that she will never be safe there. She turns back to the deer and makes her decision.
On her wobbly legs, Sasha stands up and goes up to the mother deer to press her nose hers. With something like a smile from the older deer, the three babies walk towards her. The mother turns around to face the woods with the three of them following closely by. For the first time in her whole life, Sasha feels safe and now she is free of her terror. She got her wish to live in the woods forever and that is just what she did, happily and peacefully.
Special Thanks to:
Carburn Park: For all its natural glory! 67 Riverview Dr SE, Calgary, AB T2C 4H8 https://www.calgary.ca/csps/parks/locations/se-parks/carburn-park.html
The Deer Family: For being apart of this Blog.