“Sandy was wet, cold, hungry, but most of all, alone. She didn’t want to be in the forest, but no matter what she did, she always ended up there. It was like the forest wanted her forever.”
It was a cold, windy day in December. Sandy was huddled into the corner of the barn. The barn was empty except for her. The owners did not keep it very tidy, as there was hay scattered all around, and her deer poop was also scattered. The roof was crumbling, and the paint was coming off the walls. It was pouring outside, with thunder and lightning that made Sandy scared. She tried to make herself comfortable, but she couldn’t. She kept shivering, her teeth chattering. She wished she wasn’t alone. She wished there was someone, anyone, to hold her close and tell her it would be okay. Sandy knew that it wasn’t. Something was off, something happened, something was wrong. The owners did not like other animals, they only liked deer. The owners were not like any other owner Sandy knew. Sure, they fed Sandy and took care of her, but they weren’t the same. For one thing, the owners did not like other animals, only deer. They also rarely went outside of their property, only to buy groceries and other things like that. On top of that, they treated Sandy like a dog, which in some ways was good. Sandy learned how to be civilized and stay calm while someone pet you. She learned how to eat dog food, much to her dismay. The only thing that wasn’t like a dog was that she lived in a barn. She figured this was because the owners did not have much space in the house. She was used to this and was not ready to leave her home and be a normal deer like everyone else.
When Sandy awoke, the air was clean and bright, almost like last night didn’t even happen. The sky was blue, clouds were white, Sandy was calm. She walked to the front of the barn and used her nose to push the door open. The ground was wet and when Sandy took each step, the water flew up into the air like a bird. She walked towards the house. Her head was held high, trying to keep positive. She again pushed the door open with her nose. The owners always kept the door mostly open so Sandy could get in. They didn’t fear that she would run away. She pushed it open and saw her owners. At first, Sandy thought they were sleeping but when she stepped closer, she saw the owners’ face, their eyes fully closed, not wanting to open ever again. Their fingers were cold when Sandy put her head on them. Their faces were wrinkled but looked even more wrinkled than the last time she saw them. Then, Sandy started hearing rain. Then, thunder and lightning. Sandy jumped onto the bed with her dead owners and cuddled, wishing they were still alive. She stayed there for a little while, not knowing how long. Then, she got up and walked out of the room and onto the first floor. She walked out of the house and into the barn. She cuddled in the corner just like last night.
A few hours later, Sandy saw a stick pushing at her body. She looked up and saw a man with sunglasses and a blue uniform. He stopped pushing the stick into Sandy’s body when he saw that she “woke” up. The man was moving his mouth, but Sandy didn’t understand what he was saying. Then, he pointed outside of the barn. Sandy stayed still. The man pointed again. She stayed where she was. Then, the man took the stick and slapped it onto Sandy’s back. Sandy whimpered quietly. She stood up and slowly walked out of the barn. The man growled and left too. Then, he closed the barn door and locked it. Sandy saw yellow tape around the house, her house. She started running towards the house, but another man in a blue uniform stopped her. He also pointed her away, so Sandy left. She walked into the forest and kicked the sticks off the ground. The leaves fell on her face when she walked. Sandy sat down on a rock. Soon, it started to rain. She didn’t move under the tree. She let the rain drip on her skin. The rain moved down her back and onto the floor. Sandy just stayed there, not moving. She was scared, sad, and angry. When she finally did move, she wandered around the forest looking for food, any food, so that she could survive. Soon she saw some berries hanging from the trees. She lifted her head up and ate the berries. They were a little raw, but good enough for her to eat. She ate more berries until she was full. The berries made her a little drowsy, but she powered through and looked for water. She found a lake nearby where she was. She started licking the lake rapidly, leaning more and more forward. She was becoming careless, and soon enough, she fell headfirst into the lake.
Sandy couldn’t swim. She had tried to learn in the small river near the house. It resulted in her almost drowning and a wet house. Now she tried to remember the weird motions her owners had made to tell her how to swim. There was one that made a motion like scooping ice cream. Sandy tried that one now, and realized her limbs were too short to make the motion. Then, she remembered one where you made your hands go up and down frantically. She liked that one more. But soon she was too tired to do that one, and the lake was moving too fast. Sandy worried what would be beyond the river or if it went forever. She hoped it would be a big rock that would stop Sandy from moving and would allow her to go to shore. Unfortunately, that was not the case. When she came to the end of the lake, she saw that there was a waterfall. As she got closer and closer, she frantically tried to hold onto shore or at least not fall into the waterfall. Her hand fell on a piece of grub, and she managed to pull herself mostly up from the water. As she was about to step her foot on the land, a large wave washed her back and under the water. When she finally did get up from the water, she saw the waterfall just a few feet ahead of her. She knew she was doomed, so she closed her eyes and waited.
When she fell off the waterfall, her body was a mess. Her arms were frozen from the water, and her legs were cut from a rock in the bottom of the lake. Her body was soaked, her face scratched up. When she hit the water, her whole body slapped on it, hard. She was suppressed under the weight of the water. She pulled herself up and was very relieved to see land in front of her. She walked onto the land, bruises and all. At least she wasn’t dead. She found a leaf to cover her bleeding. She took it and laid it on top of her body. She let the blood ooze out of her leg and onto the leaf. Sandy ripped some of the leaf off and with some sap from the tree next to her, she put it onto her leg. Her owners did this to her when she got hurt, which was a lot. Sandy slowly stood up and walked, or rather limped, to the edge of the forest. She didn’t care what the man in the blue uniform had done to her. She wanted to be home and safe. She sneaked around the house and into the back door. She knew that the men wouldn’t know to come in this way since it was covered in moss and grass. When Sandy walked in, she saw men all over the house. She didn’t care though. She was done with the forest. She stayed low and avoided them as much as she could. She walked up the stairs where they were all huddled around the fire. Sandy went up to the owners’ room. The owners were not there. Sandy wished they were there, sleeping in their bed with Sandy between them, just like it was when Sandy was a baby.
A sudden knock jolted Sandy awake. Sandy quickly moved under the bed. Through the blankets she saw another person with a blue uniform, this time a woman. She heard moans and things that she couldn’t make out. Then, the officer started walking around the room, almost looking like she was looking for someone or something. The officer was getting closer and closer to Sandy until she was at the bed. Sandy’s body was shaking uncontrollably, The officer’s head slowly moved downward until it saw Sandy. Sandy jumped, and her head hit the bottom of the bed. Her body felt lifeless for a second until the officer grabbed her and carried her out of the room. Sandy was strung over the officer’s shoulder and carried outside of the door. The officer laid Sandy down on the pavement. She pet Sandy’s head softly. The officer took out a first aid kit and took out a bandage. She softly put it on Sandy’s head to stop the bleeding. For a while, the officer sat there beside Sandy until she had enough strength to stand up and go back into the forest.
Sandy was wet, cold, hungry, but most of all, alone. She didn’t want to be in the forest, but no matter what she did, she always ended up there. It was like the forest wanted her forever. Sandy knew she wasn’t meant to be in the forest. She was meant to be in the barn or in a house! Sandy was walking around the forest, perhaps to get some exercise, or to clear her brain of the horrible things that had happened to her. Her feet scratched the dirt down below. She focused on the different footprints. Large, small, large, ahh! Sandy had bumped into something. She looked up and saw herself? No, it wasn’t herself. It was another deer? It had brown marks on its nose and blueish eyes. The deer had the same color fur as Sandy but instead of having white spots in the back, it had a fully brown coat. Its ears were much bigger than Sandy’s but had the same shape. The nose was also bigger than Sandy’s but had the same color. The other deer grunted and brushed past Sandy, but as it did, Sandy tripped on a small rock and fell on top of the other deer. The deer grunted again. Sandy sheepishly stood up and shook the leaves off of her body, but instead of the leaves falling on the ground, it fell on the other deer. The deer grunted. Sandy saw a tree nearby with berries that she could store for the winter. The deer was watching her as she opened her mouth and started to bite the berries. Just then, the other deer pushed her away from the tree and shook its head. Sandy understood, she wasn’t supposed to eat that berry. The other deer took the berry and held it in its hoof. Sandy stepped forward. The other deer pointed to some black spots on the berry. Sandy nodded. The deer signaled to follow. Sandy followed. The other deer walked to the middle of the forest. Sandy saw a hole in the ground. She assumed it was his barn. The other deer jumped into the hole and disappeared. Sandy stood still for a moment, and then she too jumped into the hole. The hole was dark and only lasted a moment until she came to the deer’s barn. The barn was dark and wasn’t especially cozy. It had some moss in the corner, probably for sleeping. Another hole was there for going up. When Sandy looked up, she saw the ground, nothing more. The other deer lay down on the moss and closed its eyes. Sandy stayed where she was and sat down. She thought of her owners, how they held her close when she was scared, how they made her feel warm and cozy inside, how they taught her everything she knew which apparently didn’t help her in the wild. Sandy decided to wake up the other deer since she was bored. Sandy lightly tapped the other deer on the shoulder. The other deer jolted awake and groaned. It looked up at Sandy who was looking down at it. It slowly stood up until it was fully standing on the floor, then it started to move across the barn and up the ladder. Sandy followed, but the other deer stopped her, almost to get rid of her. Sandy waited until it was fully up the ladder and couldn’t stop her. Then, she too went up the ladder. The other deer was drinking water on the lake. Sandy was thirsty too, so she got some water too. She was again becoming careless, just caring about water. Then, it happened again. She fell in, but she didn’t. The other deer had stopped her. It had grabbed Sandy’s leg and pulled her up to land. Phew! Sandy knew she needed a protector, but she didn’t want one, so she just left. Into the wild.
Sandy shivered in the cold. She saw a man in green and white carrying a weapon of some sort. She had seen it on the owners’ wall. Sandy tried to hide from the man but soon enough, the man saw her. He quickly pushed something that made a bullet fly past Sandy’s face. Sandy’s face went pale when she saw it make a hole in the tree behind her. She couldn’t even see it anymore, only the hole that it had made. She wondered what would happen if it had hit her instead. She didn’t want to know. Soon another bullet was shot, Sandy ran as fast as she could. She didn’t want to run, but she had to. Her legs started moving as soon as the second bullet was shot. She soon was out of breath and had to stop. More bullets kept coming. Sandy shivered again but not because she was cold. The man came closer and closer, his weapon slowing him down. Sandy whimpered when she saw the gun aimed right at her face. She waited for the moment, but it didn’t happen. She looked down and saw what had stopped it.
The other deer had sacrificed its life for Sandy. Blood oozed out of the deer’s chest. Sandy felt a tear trickle down her cheek. She took a leaf and sap even though she knew there was no hope. Sandy looked up and saw the hunter. He aimed at Sandy, and Sandy realized he wanted the other deer for himself. Sandy ran away in fear, although she would miss the other deer a lot. She ran out of the forest and still saw the yellow tape and blue uniforms. She saw the woman policeman that had taken care of her and walked over to her. The woman smiled as Sandy put her head on her neck. The woman then looked at Sandy seriously and started to carry her through the streets. Sandy didn’t feel alone anymore. She felt welcomed and loved. The officer stopped at a house labeled 491. Sandy had learned to read from her owners. Endless hours and hours of letters and words finally paid off. The street was dirty mostly. She saw some stray dog near the trash can. She saw dirt on a lot of the houses which somehow made Sandy feel more welcome. The officer obviously didn’t have a lot of money, but Sandy liked that better. The officer opened the door and stepped inside. The officer started to write something on a piece of paper. The officer held it up for Sandy to see. It read welcome home.