*WARNING: IF YOU WANT NOTHING SPOILED FOR MY HORROR NOVELLA “THE DEER MAN”, DO NOT READ THIS.
ALSO, THIS WILL BE RE-EDITED FOR THE FINAL PRINT OF THE BOOK SO ANY SPELLING OR GRAMMAR WILL BE LOOKED AT A LATER TIME.*
The story of the tall humanoid buck which roams Del Wood begins simply enough.
In the year 2000, a typical hunter-Joseph began his morning routine. Joseph wasn’t your average looking human. He was well-built. Did a lot of exercising, getting the perfect body to please all the women in the town. Slicking back his black hair and putting on a flannel shirt, jeans and boots he goes downstairs to greet his loving family. They have no idea that this is the last time they’ll ever see Joe.
With a loving wife and five-year-old daughter, he promised to provide for his home and family-but she doesn’t know the true nature of his heart. Hunting for food was secondary. The real reason he did it was because he liked seeing animals die.
He never told his wife, but the week before-while strolling through Del Wood, he came upon a fawn. The fawn did not have much meat on her bones-but that didn’t stop Joseph on this day. Kneeling among the tall grass, he smirked as he aimed his rifle right at the doe’s head and watched it nearly explode as the shotgun fired its deadly blast.
Running to the carcass, he snapped a few photos with it-not just kneeling by the lifeless corpse but holding it up like he accomplished something. Like he was a hero for killing this innocent child of the woods.
On this day, Joe hoped to gain that confidence boost-and to bring home dinner for his innocent wife and child. As Joseph got his hunting gear ready, in Del Wood another event took place.
Hours away from his home-a tall, majestic buck known only as ‘Buck’ had just awoken. His brown fur soft, his muscles strong and often attracted dose in the area.
Other animals named Fox, Badger, Snake respectively and a plethora of other creatures liked to have conversation with him and felt great trust in him-he wasn’t energetic, but slow and methodical. A poised and sophisticated animal who was always honest and never used his strength to bully or hurt anyone.
News of the dead fawn spread on this sunny afternoon; Buck had heard a rustling in the woods beside him. His voice deep and low, his ears twitched. “Hello? Is someone there?”
If it had been a human, the human couldn’t answer, but he was lucky. It wasn’t a human much to Buck’s delight.
It was Fox-a young and sweet fellow. Padding up to Buck with a frown and his ears low.
“Hello, friend. News has spread through Del Wood that a doe was found shot and dead. I wasn’t sure if you had heard. It was horrible. I was the one who found the dead child. Her head…well, on one side it was quite normal looking. Like she was asleep. B-but the left side. Oh God. Nothing but…red, grisly brain and muscle. Her beautiful face destroyed.” Fox nearly cried describing the horrifying images to Buck.
Buck sighed as he eyed the red tod. He could do nothing but paint a disturbing mental image of what Fox had seen. Buck was no longer hungry for his normal breakfast. This had taken up his entire mind. His deep tone was now somber. “It is a sad day, Fox. It’s good you told me. Humans are becoming more of an issue out here. They are taking more and more our land, soon we will have nowhere to live. We’ll have to roam the streets man built. Imagine to the terror then?”
His eyes widened a tiny bit at the words coming out of his mouth.
“Even I shudder at the idea of being so close to them. Some of them are good, Fox. Remember that. I have come across many who just take walks and look at us from a distance. However, what you came across today was the other type of human. The grotesque, selfish kind. The kind that think they need to kill us to live. The ones we have to be on the lookout for.”
The afternoon went on normally for Buck. The animals on this sunny afternoon were not as talkative today. The ones who didn’t know about the death of the fawn would be told soon enough. Buck was walking through the woods, no destination in mind. The sun glistened through the tree branches, the leaves crisp and green. The dirt under his feet was soft. To the left and right of him, the trees seemed to go on endlessly.
The only thing that perhaps caught the deer off guard was how flat the earth was. The dirt was nice, but it was also cut perfectly as a path.
The scents were also a bit odd. Like the smell of a fire without the glow of a flame.
He knew he had been here before-years ago when he was younger. The path was quite wide, he couldn’t help but notice a few crushed tiny plants around the area as well. No animal could have done it. Had his childhood walking spot been ruined by the large metal contraptions which bulldozed the woods at a quick rate?
This sensation of a few new smells caused Buck to become more then a bit skittish. Taking a deep breath, he ran to the left once he heard a click to one side, that scared him enough.
He felt comfortable the more and more he ran.
Wildlife surrounded him as he bolted through the trees, vines and thorns. A few spooked birds flew out of his way, Buck didn’t want to end up dead.
He wanted to protect the forest critters. He wanted to live long enough to see babies being born.
For some reason, that singular click caused a feeling of death looming close by, like an ominous dark cloud pushing its way through a clear blue sky.
Buck nearly tripped and fell as he came upon a clearing. Not a pathway, but a patch of dirt which spanned about a mile. This patch of dirt was in the shape of a perfect circle, within this circle stood some eerie sights. Such as old bones and old pieces of clothing left by either cavemen or maybe Native Americans.
Buck sniffed the decaying bones; he couldn’t tell if they were human or animal.
Surrounding Buck were lifeless trees, not like those in summer, but those on a cold, bitter winter’s day. Sharp branches protrude from these tall, eerie forms, some of the trees were wrapped in red, large thorns. Suddenly, a gasp escaped the deer’s lips.
Something was close by his ear, not a man or another critter. A sound. The sound of a deep, low humming. Humans might describe it as white noise. Not a comforting sound, but a deep, monotone ringing. He wasn’t supposed to be here. This must have been some twisted forbidden area of Del Wood.
If Buck got out of here alive, he would surly tell his friends and neighbors not to go anywhere near here. However, he wouldn’t have time.
The large bullet from a hunting rifle pierced Buck’s neck, a geyser of blood erupts from the wound, caking the ground in fresh, red liquid. The explosion before hand of course made the deer’s heart leap into his throat, but he wasn’t quick enough to react. Joseph had gotten a good, clean shot. The large deer landed straight into the Indian Burial Ground.
Letting out quick gasps for air for pointless for Buck, the blood had clogged his throat, like trying to breathe underwater. Spitting out blood, Buck’s vision began to darken. The last sound he heard was the sound of leaves being crunched under steel toe boots.
Joseph smiled as he knelt to Buck. This thing would feed his family for quite a while. “Wow you’re a big son of a bitch, aren’t you?” Joseph spoke after a quick chuckle.
Now the fun began-having to drag this carcass through the woods and into his truck.
Realizing he was covered in sweat after his little jog through the woods, Joe stood up, slung his rifle over his shoulder, turned his back towards the carcass and took a long swig from his nearby water jug.
The sound of something moving startled the hunter, he dropped the container and aimed his rifle straight ahead into the woods. He was skittish because he had no idea of this part of the woods was legal to hunt in, he thought maybe it was a ranger or a cop coming to scold him or worse-arrest him.
Nothing could be seen. Not a single branch moved, not a single leaf tingled. Not even a breeze could be felt. Joseph had failed to simply turn around.
Buck’s carcass had moved, his right leg to be exact. His vision ever so slowly came back to him. Using his front hooves, he instantly swiped at the bullet, which was stuck in his artery, with very little pain. He felt a surge of energy go through his body and vengeance in his heart.
As the fur began to fall, soon the skeleton underneath was visible-but not his usual bones. His back legs painfully contort into human legs. Pain like lightning shot through Buck’s entire body.
Deep breathing and moaning didn’t help anything, he couldn’t distract himself from the immense suffering his soul was going through. His entire body was twisting and convulsing.
Meanwhile, Joseph stared in shock, aiming his rifle and letting off a few rounds to different parts of the deer’s somehow new body. Bullets were as effective as a small squirt gun on a bonfire. The shots rang through Joseph’s ears, but he didn’t care. He wanted this humanoid zombie dead.
He was never one to believe in the supernatural, but he silently prayed to the Christian God his parents had thrust upon him when he was little.
Fog began to swirl around the forest, the decaying deer slowly but surly stood on its hindlegs, groaning due to the muscles changing and tightening as his new form took shape. Some of the brown fur remained on its arms and legs, but its head had been the worst pain. The fur and flesh he once had begun to peel like a bad sunburn until nothing was left but a skeletal head with horns, its mouth pointed showing the shape of what a bone diagram would show of a deer.
His upper hooves burst into a bloody mess, which nearly made Buck fall over in shock, revealing two very human-like hands. Five fingers on each.
There the deer stood, slowly turning his head to Joseph who now was in a state of shock, he dropped his empty rifle to the ground, shaking and sweating, feeling lightheaded. Hoping his wife would soon wake him from this hellish nightmare. The Deer Man is tall. Perhaps six feet, below the skeletal head, is that of an athletic man, but covered in brown fur, his feet were a pair of hooves, but flattened to he could stand and walk in this awkward new upright position.
Buck thought after all the pain he went through to get here, that he’d just want to rest. To forget about Joseph. His soul felt reinvented. Alive. Powerful. Unstoppable.
Feeling proud of his new form, The Deer Man walked to Joseph, it wasn’t a clumsy walk, but a slow, gangling walk, methodical. His breathing deep, his body flawless like the statue of a Greek God.
Joseph whimpered, kneeling into the dirt, crying softly. Groveling at the deer’s feet, hands clasped together. “P-please. Whatever you are. W-wendigo. A friend of Satan or-or avenging angel or the devil himself. Don’t kill me. Don’t hurt me. I-I’ll never hunt again. It was WRONG of me to kill them animals! I’ll do anything you say! ANYTHING!”
The Deer Man watched in complete indifference as mucus dripped Joe’s nose and tears filled his eyes making them turn red.
‘How pathetic’ thought the newly formed creature. ‘He thinks doing me favors will somehow be fine enough for all the pain he caused my people’. With a deep sigh, The Deer Man grabs Joe by his shirt with one hand and lifts him clear off the ground. Joe yelps in terror, squirming doesn’t help. Kicking doesn’t do much either.
He was at the mercy of the monster. The hunter, now in the hands of an animal typically reserved for food or target practice.
With his eyes wide open, Joe felt the hot, stinking breath from The Deer Man hit his face, as he breathed. He shoved his bony snout onto Joe, sniffing him like a large dog. Taking in the rancid scent of a human who for years-thought of only himself and looking good in public.
With tears still falling, Joe tries to turn his head away as the nosey deer continued to examine him. He soon became bored and irritated by Joe.
The Deer Man throws the hunter to the ground, causing Joe’s nose to break and imminent a sickening snap of cartilage.
Joe was afraid to lift his head up from the dirt, but he had to. Lying on his stomach, his entire backside was exposed to the horrible creature. He felt something dangling from his face, whining loudly, he reached his hand slowly to his face. He hoped it was a leaf hanging from between his eyes, his finger lighting brushes against a fleshy, wet object.
His nose was literally hanging by a thread of dangling flesh like an air freshener waving from a Rear View mirror of a car, gushing with blood, a black hole sits where his nose once stood, gushing with dark red fluid.
He yelled-but it was cut short by the large foot of The Deer Man crushing the back of his skull with the squishy and deep sound of neck bones and skull breaking on impact.
Joe didn’t move an inch after the deer’s final blow.
Buck (or so he used to call himself) should have been sickened by what he did. Standing over the body of a human, his head nearly destroyed by his own foot-but instead he felt complete indifference.
From about every corner of the woods, entering the burial ground were Buck’s usual forest friends. Fox, Badger, Squirrel-all of them.
They did not fear The Deer Man, not even a little bit.
Approaching closer to the dirt circle covered in the dead of years past, they all craned their necks-look up at The Deer Man in pure admiration.