Mr. Danya
Joined: May 26th, 2007, 12:17 am

May 17th, 2013, 5:35 am #1

It was a cold autumn day when Ami Flynn, age 15, stumbled across a deer bleeding to death on the side of a road.

The deer sprawled out on the side of the road, opposite the sidewalk Ami always took on the walk from home. It's legs were stretched out, unnaturally drawn together as though tied that way by invisible twine. On the right, the sun cast a crude shadow off of it, which stretched across the street. With the faint shadows of the trees in the distance, it looked like a ghastly phantom with it's jaws wide open.

At first Ami didn't see it. Could anyone blame her though? The sun had been setting at the time, light enough to navigate and nothing more. Ami never liked lingering outside at night for too long. The flicker of an ear, or perhaps the sight of an ugly shadow, made her stop and turn in curiosity, and that was when she locked eyes with it.

If that deer had not immediately made eye-contact with Ami, she might have sped on ahead and forgotten the poor thing.

Instead she stayed. Ami stared at the deer for what felt like the longest time. Or was it a doe? Ami had no idea. It didn't have the antlers, though perhaps those could have been broken off somehow.

It wasn't the first time Ami had seen a dead deer. Her father hit one while he was driving home from the countryside, just a few years ago. It died on impact though, and there was no blood. Her father looked ready to cry, Ami did not shed a single tear then.

That was a different matter entirely because that deer was dead. This one was alive. Ami knew this from the way those giant, black orbs moved and blinked, and how it's ears and tails flicked whenever she made the slightest move.

The deer, doe, whatever, had been dragged over to the side of the road. Ami figured that it must have been hit. Why else would it be laying on the side of the street? A predator could have attacked it, sure, but this was Seattle. No bears came out to Seattle in the middle of autumn. Deer, though, they stuck around.

Ami felt a twinge of something, pity, mostly. She tilted her head slightly and spotted a large patch of blood on the road. She felt something sink inside of her, her heart most likely. Up until then, Ami was hoping that it had just broken it's legs. The thought of someone just leaving the poor thing to die made Ami's heart sink even further.

Her mind told her to just keep walking. She had no business here, and it was getting late. But she just couldn't. Ami rarely found herself at odds with what to do.

"Um- "

Ami wanted to speak but the lump in her throat had other plans. Ami held up her hands. She forced a smile too. She wasn't quite sure why she did, this though it probably had more to do with calming herself down than the deer.

The image of the deer leaping to it's feet and pouncing Ami, going straight for the juggular, entered her mind. She quickly tried to dismiss this as paranoia getting the best of her.

Besides, how the hell could it even get back up? It's legs were broken so badly that Ami could have sworn that, no, a car couldn't have done that, could it? Kill it, sure, break a leg, but all of that?

In hindsight that was a terrible thing to think. And yet Ami glossed over it so casually, like it were a perfectly normal assumption to make.

The deer still stared at her.

"He- Hey there," she said, the lump in her throat still resonating. "Don't worry, I'm not going to hurt you."

She realized then that she was trying to talk to a deer like she would a human. Immediately she felt like an idiot, yet she kept talking.

"Just stay there, alright? I'm going to try to help."

For a brief moment, the deer appeared to understand what she was saying. To this day, Ami isn't quite sure if she had imagined it. Perhaps it had been the brief glimmer in it's eyes, or even the brief nod of it's head. Just a coincidence, or it was an animal gesture that humans could not understand. At the time Ami believed it. She took it all at face value. She told the deer, "stay put," and the deer said, "ok."

Ami took a step forward, then another. Her legs felt like pudding, shaking, and she needed all of her strength to keep moving. Eventually she reached it's side, strategically hovering over the it's head. She stooped low, with a hand on her knee and the other reaching out.

She mindlessly reached out to touch the poor creature head. She pressed against it. Then she stopped.

Everything went cold.

Thinking on it now, Ami is certain that the glint of it's eyes and the nod of it's head was the closest it could have come to it's last words.

It took until a car drove past with a loud honk for Ami to snap out of it.

The car was honking at Ami, not at the deer. No one would honk at the deer now. More likely they would just run over it and leave it to die, let someone else clean up it's blood, it's not like it's hurting anybody, right?

Ami frowned. She stood up, brushed her skirt off.

Ami Flynn arrived back home a few minutes later. She dropped her book bag by the door, unbuttoned her jacket and stepped out into the foyer when she noticed the door to her father's office was open.

Dad was with a family, a middle-aged man and an older woman. The room was deathly silent, so much so that when Ami peeked inside, the door did not creak so much as groaned. Her father turned to look.

"Hey pumpkin," her father said. He called her that. Pumpkin. Turning to look at the couple sitting at his desk, he smiled at her despite himself. "John, this is my daughter, Ami. I mentioned her before."

The man turned to look at Ami, his face stained with familiar black pools. It was nothing unusual to see them, at least, not to her. The man did not say anything. That was nothing unusual either. Some of the patrons said hello when they saw her. Most did not.

Ami said nothing either. The fact that her father left the door to his office open was a surprise. Now that she had it open, she hovered uncomfortable, unsure as to why she even bothered. Then she lifted a hand, intent on waving without responding. That was when she noticed the flash of red.

Blood caked her hand, dried, dark, alien blood.

Her father must have noticed her eyes dilating.

"Are you alright?" her father asked.

He was about to punctuate the question with "you look as though you had seen a ghost", Ami could tell, but he gave the family in the room a quick look and thought better of it. His daughter's appearance must have thrown him off, just as much it thrown her off, apparently.

Ami looked back up at her father. He smiled at her in that awkward, fake way he always seemed to manage to give her.

She wished someone would break his legs and leave him to die on the side of the road like some pathetic, useless, brainless doe.

She wobbled. It gave her chills, hating someone so deeply, even for a brief second. Ami felt calm soon after, but it left her mind confused. The sudden flare of anger was internal, driven by a voice inside of her that went quiet the second she realized what she was thinking was wrong. On the outside, her face was stoic, if not a little sick.

"I'm sorry," Ami said suddenly.

Her father craned his head back. "Sorry? What are you sorry for?"

For wishing you would just die, Dad.

Of course he wouldn't have known. How could he? She shook her head.

"Hi Dad," Ami said. She paused, wavered, then shook her head again. "Yeah, I'm fine. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt."

He looked at her strangely then, scratching the stubble covering his cheek. Then he smiled again.

"It's alright," her father said, then paused. "Listen, pumpkin, mom's not coming home tonight so we'll order something. We'll talk about it later, okay?"

Ami found the will to smile. "Okay."

She made sure to close the door with her clean hand before going to wash her hands. She had no problems sleeping that night.

That's the end of the story.

It's not an important plot point in Ami Flynn's life story, at least not to her. Just a small, uninteresting tidbit. The course of Ami's life did not change. She remembers it though, sometimes, at the oddest of times. It always makes her skin prickle, thinking about it.

Did that poor thing want to die? No, of course not. Who would want to die, especially like that? Why did it have to die in the first place? Why do these things have to happen, not just to deer but to people, to everything? Why is the world like this?

When she first pondered these questions, she could not sleep. Funny, how she slept perfectly the night after she saw the deer, yet had night terrors every day after that for a whole week. The nightmares always ended with her at the bathroom sink, scrubbing a bar of soap so hard into her palms that she bore into her skin, leaving only bone, no blood. She would wake up with a start, covered in sweat, checking her palms because she could have sworn they were still red.

Ami has never cried for the deer, but the guilt she feels about it has brought her close.

Why do these things happen?

She never considered that until that tragic accident. Was that odd? It's odd for her certainly, considering how she was and has always been in the habit of over-thinking. But why think about it at all? It was in the past.

Recently she has come to a conclusion.

It is natural.

This is how the world works, she tells herself.

Move on.

It has helped, somewhat, but she still gets the night terrors, especially on cold nights.