I present to you a short story I submitted for my writing class. I based this story on the photo, which happens to be a little corner of my yard. I received the maximum points possible for this assignment, which was to “Create a reality that is convincing yet literally impossible.”
The large window of the small home framed a picturesque winter scene – a yard, a lake, and a mountain ridge – all covered by a glistening layer of snow. Glimpses of bright orange peeked through the snow. Closer inspection revealed it was an electric cord, placed along the fence line of the yard.
The trail of the cord led to the corner of the yard, into a small electrical box that connected two light-up deer. Quiet by day, they seemed so stiff and frozen without the electrical charge that magically brought them to life every evening around four o’clock.
The deer didn’t appear to mind being trapped in the corner of the yard, shielded from the homeowners’ yappy little dogs by a roll of chicken wire fencing. They majestically stood their ground on top of snow-covered bark dust. Bird seed from a feeder mounted above them on the fence was scattered on top of the snow, like cinnamon sprinkled over whipped cream.
Each night, it was as if they had an internal alarm clock that told them, “Time to wake up!” This night was no different than the others.
“Say, Mama Deer,” Buck Daddy whispered softly to his wife, turning his antlered head slowly to the left, bringing her into his sight.
“Yes, dear?” she responded, her motor purring gently as she raised her head to gaze at him.
“Have you found anything worthwhile in that snow?” He referred to her grazing attempts.
“Just some bird seed, Darling, not much else.” She lowered her head again to continue grazing.
“I sure wish those humans would throw us an apple or two once in a while.” Buck Daddy turned his head to the left, motioning toward the house.
“I know, dear,” Mama Deer raised her head again. “They always seem to have a biscuit for those noisy, four-legged creatures, and yet nothing for us. They don’t understand how tired we are of standing out here.”
Buck Daddy turned toward Mama Deer. Her eyes lingered on his briefly before lowering her head again.
“I worry about you, Mama Deer. Our Baby Deer will show up any day now, and it is still snowing here. We really need to find shelter somewhere.”
“Some real food would be nice, too,” she added, raising her head. “Oh, what I would give for a mouthful or two of that neighbor’s bush over there!”
Buck Daddy turned his head to the right, bringing the neighbor’s yard – and the bush – into view. “Oh, don’t make my mouth water, Mama! I can’t bear to look at that tempting treat!” He turned his head back to the left.
“So where do you want to look for a new place to call home, Buck?”
He turned to face her. “I heard from the boys that there are plenty of thick trees to the South of here, past the lake.”
“Oh, that sounds nice. There are probably some nice families there. It would be nice to make some new friends.” She lowered her head. “It would be nice to raise Baby Deer around more folks like us.”
“I will try my best, Mama. I will see what I can do.” Buck Daddy turned away from Mama Deer, staring across the lake as if contemplating their future.
They stood there quietly enjoying each other’s company. For several minutes, the only sound was their motors, purring rhythmically on and off.
“Well, it’s about that time again, Mama.”
“Yes, indeed. Goodnight, Buck Daddy. I will see you tomorrow night.” She lowered her head one last time in an effort to find food.
“Goodnight, Mama Deer. I will watch over you until then.”
He turned away from her, scanning the yard with his eyes for intruders until slowly his motor lost power and he froze into a guarded position, standing tall over his wife.