The one that got away

dirtroad02.jpg picture by pemerytx 

“Foggy Morning” by RoyJr


It’s early, foggy, and the sun’s working its way up.  I’m running as I do every morning on the long dirt road that shoots off the main drag and goes way back into the woods behind our house.  Dew is everywhere, glistening, and the damp dirt gives, feels good under my feet.  I’m coming up on the brook that goes under the road around the second bend, and I hear a rustling over the rushing of the water.  Then I hear a great breaking out of running, jumping, and branches snapping and cracking hard in the woods.  I look left, toward the sounds, just in time to see the white tail of a deer bouncing away from me through the barely lit trees.  The racket goes diagonally ahead of me quickly, fades in a few minutes to no sound.


I shake my head and smile.  And I think about deer hunting, what an unequal match deer and hunters are.  In my car on the back roads especially, I’ve had many a stand-off with a deer all locked up, dead-on in my headlights and staring at me, incapable of making a decision.  And countless times I’ve watched deer come into clearings during the day so nervous they can’t eat the grass they came out to eat in the first place.  They end up having to high-tail it back into the woods and I end up wondering why they bothered.  So it’s not as if hunting deer is like hunting something particularly cunning, like a wolf, say, so that if you manage to kill it, you’ve accomplished quite some thing.


I finally come around to supposing it’s a Paleolithic thing—a primeval desire to hunt and fish and bring one’s kill proudly home—when again the deer startles me, at least I think it’s the same deer.  It’s a nice-sized buck, real pretty.  He busts out of the woods just up ahead in front of me and runs all unnerved and majestic across the road to the right side now.  He crashes into the woods and I see him jumping over downed and new trees, through ferns, and into the thickness.  And then I can only hear him, sounding like he’s running southeast up the hill toward the Greeleys’ place.


Now I begin to think something’s not right with this buck.  Even if deer aren’t the sharpest of creatures, they’re aware of human presence and have base instincts to stay clear.  The fact that this one has exposed itself to me twice makes me nervous and I begin to think about what I’d do if it’s screwed up and gets it in its head to mess with me.  But then, concern for the buck rises up in me just as quickly as the fear did.  Then I start thinking about the buck heading toward Greeleys’ place and that’s not a good place to head to.  It’s a long way off from deer season, but Mr. Greeley and his people go way back to this land and they give and take from it as they please in the old way of things.


About then I hear what sounds like a rifle shot.  I don’t even know if that’s what it is, don’t even know if it’s Mr. Greeley doing the shooting, but I feel bad either way, and suddenly deeply sad.  I think about what if it was the buck and how maybe he wouldn’t have gotten shot if I hadn’t come along and scared him, rattled his brains.  But that’s absurd.  I’m just trying to live my life, that’s all, and that’s all the buck’s doing.  I feel better thinking that way and the run feels good, too.  I’ve hit that good place where my heart rate’s just right and even and I’m feeling strong, like I could go on and on.


Right when I reach the old, falling-down sugar shack, I hear more crashing in the woods and I’ll be darned if it’s not that buck again way ahead of me busting back out of the woods from the right.  I see him start across the road, blood streaming from his side and my heart breaks, and in that instant of breaking I’m acutely aware of an otherworldly feeling that I could trade places with him.  It could be me going to run until I can’t anymore, until I fall to the ground and bleed the rest of the way to death.  Strangely, I feel myself not only willing to do that but yearning to.  It’d be the last living thing Mr. Greeley shot for awhile once they found me and found out where that bullet came from.  And that’s all it took.


It was a surreal moment or moments, I couldn’t tell which, of running toward the deer up ahead of me as he crashed unharmed and spotless into the woods on the left now, snapping branches, rustling up underbrush with his pounding hooves, pounding and leaping, until I can’t hear him anymore.  Until my eye catches a glimpse of red and I look down and realize blood is flowing down my left leg from a blasted-out place in my left side.  I keep running, not believing what I’m seeing is real.  It’s too absurd.  Things like this don’t happen these days when we leave the house.  We go about our business.  We run, go to work, go to the store, go back home, have dinner.






“Foggy Morning” by RoyJr found here:

Visit RoyJr’s flickr photostream at for more good shots.


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The above was spun off the Sunday Scribblings prompt “#167 – absurd.”  Click here for more on prompt #167 from other Sunday Scribblings participants. 


19 responses to “The one that got away

  1. Farther on up that Foggy Morning road, I believe you’ll find the spot where Grandmother and the Misfit had there showdown.

    I like the contemplative, Piscean voice of this narrator, and I love the seamless way we move from buck-wound to runner-wound, her full-hearted compassion.

    I like, too, how you’ve made (here and at other times) morning runs into story portals. In my running days, lots of stories were written in those heartbeats, lots of reflection and prayer and meditation to fill the rounds of the footbeats.

  2. King of Blogging must have gotten in here with that “there showdown.” Lovely, that. Looks good on the English teacher’s rez, don’t it?

  3. “And that’s all it took.” *FLASH*

    Wow! That was a powerful bit of fiction, Lady A! More vivid description leaving the scent of damp decaying forest matter in my limbic region. Ghostly ribbons of fog slithering through the trees. I love the empathy for the wounded animal and the red flag of blood calling attention to the bullet wound. A site of impact that should push one from their trajectory. And yet it is only the eyes that actualize the moment. Much the way it is in dreams.

    Why thank you, Linda, for visiting again and for the “well told” business : )
    The running was real, I did see a deer, but the rest of the craziness was a fermentation of my imagination.


    Oh, yes, farther ahead on that very same dirt road, true enough, and even Jesus would be of no use! Not even to prevent your minor mishap. But it’s alright. That there was a freak of nature, and I’m glad I was living at the time it happened, ‘cause it’s something that’ll never happen again in a million years. Really, Brother P, I just hope Ms. Flan’s misfit wasn’t plannin’ to make Fricassee Kitty outta Pitty Sing. And I’m pleased to hear you’re a fellow runner at heart. That just snaps in another of your puzzle pieces, for I know how running does a person, how it heaps great universal truths on a soul : )


    Dang, man, I don’t suppose you have any idea how useful it was to me to hear that B-word used in relation to any of my toilings these days. Still, I’d have the audacity to argue with you that it doesn’t apply to this particular toiling. But in the end, I’d fight you if you tried to take your B-word back ; )


    It’s Disney here, Baby! Ain’t nothin’ impossible! I know you could make up some outlandish stuff the way you go to town with your own descriptions: “the scent of damp decaying forest” and “ghostly ribbons of fog slithering through the trees.” Just more proof—on top of all that Dallas and beak clacking jazz—that you could write some hot fiction over at your place. Don’t make me wait forever, now ;-) Anyway, even though you folded this round, I sure am glad you showed up here and also raised the priceless stakes over at Paschal’s avocado hootenanny!


    Good heavens, I’ve just returned from Sparks in the March and April Nights, from loving the body flaws and the angst-causing librarian, and I’ve always loved Bukowski, so I’m honored by your visit here : )

  5. Hi Missalister! Thanks for the lovely comment you left on my blog a couple of days ago! I really enjoyed this piece. Actually felt like going for a jog when I read the start of the story, your descriptions of nature were so moving. Loved how you brought the innocence of the deer into play, which makes the hunting seem that much worse. I really hate hunting and guns too.

  6. SHARI
    Oh, you’re welcome : ) I’m glad you came back for another look, even if it was all guns and no roses ; ) I was working on another piece for school, much darker I’m afraid, but better, better writing, no guns, just fists and futility. But something wasn’t quite right with it yet. Don’t know if you’ve had that happen, that business of having to wait for some effect to affect you just right… Anyway, so when I hit that dirt road I saw a deer and I thought, “How can I make this absurd?”


    You know, Mr. Webster, you’re such a fine storyteller yourself, that I wonder what you’re doing here and not there. I’m flattered by your visit and would love you to make it a regular thing, but Dreamworld and Ignorance & Bliss froze this March and Noir is trapped in November 2008… I know how there ain’t no stoppin’ the high-speed train of life, man—it’s frustrating finding time for whoopin’ it up after working to live on this planet—but I gotta prod you a little, like I try to prod Drumster, like I’d like you guys to do if I just didn’t show up to fun
    one day ; )

  7. first – sorry it took so long to get here and comment. I read the post days ago but real life has been interfering LOL. I don’t run but I walk a couple of miles a day – do my best thinking then so I relate. I’ve wondered what it would be like if the whole “hunting” thing was ‘evened up” some, but the absurdity for me comes in when the runner actually desires to take the place of the deer. The cheap shot (which I probably would have taken) would have been to let Mr. Greeley get his own back. Bravo.

  8. Wonderful tale. Sounds so much like my everyday life except the surreal moment (s) are more rare. I love that you exchanged wounds with the deer, such a great twist!
    I don’t usually leave links to my blog on other folks blogs, but in this case, you may enjoy at a piece I posted last summer!
    Pascal hints at you being a Pisces? Me too, interesting if this is true with the similarity in our two tales!

  9. Lady A, this is wonderful, and your recent posts have been divine. Looks like ESC, if it hasn’t been exactly good for you, has been perhaps inspiring. I like the fullness of the stories you’ve been writing, the warm glow coming off these polished pieces. More later, when I’m past this place of touch&go commenting.

  10. DEE
    Ms. Deevine, I expect that you’re going to be all over the face of the earth doing this and that just like I am, and if you or I or anyone shows up anywhere at all it’s a miracle act of God. Under those circumstances, apologies are absurd, don’t you think? ; ) Yes, in addition to the runner and the deer switching places being absurd. That’s it. And since this is Disney, Mr. Greeley can have his bullet back, too : )


    I’m glad you deviated from your usual way and left the link! “Deer Heart” is uncommonly compelling because there was more emotional devotion to the spiritual transaction between deer and human. I truly did enjoy it and left you a comment fresh off my immediate reaction.
    Paschal, being one of this world’s bright spots, is of course spot on. I am with you in the Pisces realm! March 11 : )


    Thank you, my dear. Some things I’ve learned at ESC have indeed started to come together of their own accord, certainly not of my initial desperate grasping, which only made things worse. I’ve got much practice to do, but now that I’ve loosened my grip, I look forward to it. It sure is good to see you here again. I do the same as you do here, I peek in the window over at Anno’s Place every now and again : )

  11. The similarities in our two writings amazes me! Different and not.
    Thank you for taking mine in so deeply! In a way I feel I can not take credit, it came in an instantaneous vision, poured through me, stayed with me, spilled on to paper days later as the memory was rekindled.

    Every time I read a piece of yours, I feel deeply moved. You have a way with words that pulls me in to the experience.

    Feb. 20

  12. TAMMIE
    Oh, you’re welcome : ) I know what you mean when you say you feel you can’t take credit. As far as writing goes, I feel especially strongly that I can’t take credit for anything extraordinary that might come through me. I’m just a scribe. And it could be said that our everyday complimentary language expresses appreciation indirectly. At least that’s how I look at it! That you and I feel similarly about receiving visions and words both thrills me and is expected, given our Piscean antennas! And on that note, I thank you for your compliments here. My soul smiles, while my ego puffs out its chest ; )

  13. I have to chuckle with our conversation/comments, we are being so very Piscean that any astrologer would simply smile. I have very much enjoyed exploring our commonalities as well as sharing this time with you! Wishing you a wonderful weekend~

  14. Pingback: The Plight of the Trees 2 | The Essence of a Thing·

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