Written by: Aaron B.
Coming home from school, Bobby hung his bag up. The nightmares of Daisy ’s death had not gone away. Hanging his hoodie up and ruffling his short hair, he sat at the kitchen table to begin his homework. The sound of his cellphone got him out of the math mode he was in, lifting his phone, he saw a name he hoped to never see again.
From: Marco Payne <Hey Bobby! Wanna go hunting again? Been a while! Me and my pals are gonna spend a weekend up in the mountains. Maybe I’ll let ya shoot a furry!>
Of course, he didn’t want too, but instead of answering, he put his phone in his pocket. Instead of getting back to the work at hand, he stared into the various numbers. His mind wondered. Ever since Daisy, he had vowed to not go hunting again. The night he got home from that terrible day, he tossed his hunting gear into the trash and did nothing but cry in bed for hours. The weeks after, he grew a distain for the woods. Which was difficult being that he lived in the woods.
After telling his parents, taking him to a therapist helped a bit. As often as the doctor told him not to blame himself and to remember that furries aren’t as smart as humans, he did blame himself. He should have shoved Marco or broken the rifle in half. He had this suspicion that furries were so much more than just toys. He found some of the species even beautiful.
The work he did with Connie helped. The fact she welcomed him into her life was unexpected and heartwarming. He thought she’d turn him away and call him a ‘gross human’. He had to remember that not every furry and not every human thought either species was low and deserved death. He just wished more people felt like that. He was just about to get up and nap, try to calm his brain and maybe get some work done, but a hard knock at the door erased that idea for now.
Walking across his small living room, he opened it a crack, enough to see the most muscular, tall furry he had ever seen. He opened the door a bit wider. He had to crane his neck all the way to see the behemoth. “C-can I help you?”
“I need to talk to you about my daughter, and the man who took her life.” The buck spoke, eyeing the teenager. Darkness flooded Bobby’s soul as he went wide eyed in terror. Taking a deep breath, he slammed the door into the deer’s face, locked it and ran in the opposite direction. Time moved in slow motion for Bobby, not paying attention to his footing he tripped over his backpack. It was too late to catch his balance, he fell face first into the kitchen floor. This gave Stetson enough time to peer into the window beside the front door. With adrenaline going through him, he wrapped his hand around the door knob and with a single twist, broke it. He then used the toe of his boot to open the door, Bobby stood up at this point. The deer looked even scarier in shadow. His footsteps huge as he walked into the home, he knew he had a pistol and a hunting knife close by him. However, it seemed to him the teen was scared enough. Stetson truthfully only wished to talk and was only persistent because what Bobby held was beyond vital information.
“Kid. Settle down.”
“Settle down?! You broke into my house!”
“I need to know something.” Before the deer could speak again, Bobby charged at the buck, not with rage, but with pure terror. He cried heavily as he pummeled his muscular stomach with his fists, which apart from being annoying, meant nothing. “Get out! RIGHT now! I’ll call the cops!”
Stetson held both his wrists as he attempted to keep hitting. He wanted to yell at the hysterical teen, but he knew it wouldn’t help. He then shoved his knee into Bobby’s stomach, sending him crashing onto his back. He whined loudly as the deer then knelt to him, grasping him harshly by his t-shirt. “Did you kill my daughter?” His tone ice cold. This was a dreaded day for Bobby. As if the nightmares and self-loathing wasn’t enough. Here was her dad, facing the teen head on. “No! No!” Tears streamed down his face as he relaxed, showing Stetson a complete form of submission. Even if Bobby wanted to hurt him, the deer could split him in half with one hand.
Pinning the teen down with one hand, he reached into his vest and fetched the silver bracelet. “Connie, your friend told me you gave this too her. Where the hell did you get this?” Bobby took deep breaths, he remembered giving it too her. “I found it—in the dirt. Near my house.” He read the teen’s terror and wide eyes. He wouldn’t lie. Not now. Not while his life was on the line. Stetson knew liars. “When did you find it? Last week? Last month?”
“No! Last year—shortly after the incident.” Stetson’s tone remained monotone, he paused to think of Bobby’s words. “What incident?”
“The first time I saw a furry die in front of me. The doe. My friend drove me home that night. I—I found it after he left. You see, her body. Her body was tied to the top of his truck.” Stetson shivered. The thought of Daisy ’s bloody corpse on top of some hunter’s truck was enough to make him want to snap the first neck he saw. Sadly, it would have been Bobby.
The deer went closer to the human, his muzzle nearly touching the teen’s nose. “You didn’t pull the trigger, did you? You didn’t want to see my little girl die.” Bobby shook his head ‘no.’ His face pale. “No sir. Please don’t kill me.” He cried again. Deep in thought, Stetson re-positioned himself. Now sitting cross-legged on the floor right by the teen. Bobby was about to get up until the deer shoved him back down with one hand, then with the other, he pulled out his hunting knife, playing with it between his hands once he knew he’d stay lying down.
Bobby whimpered softly. “So, you didn’t kill her. I believe you. You’re not the type. Who is the type though? Who do you hang out with?” Bobby’s crying wasn’t as obvious, now that he knew Stetson wasn’t some mindless killer. He had motive.
For so long, Bobby felt trapped by the hunter. “M-Marco Payne. He’s the one. He’s crazy!” Stetson’s ear flicked, he still played with the knife, keeping his gaze on Bobby, lying on his back and craning his neck to meet his eye.
“Marco Payne, huh? If you’re so against hunting furries, why do you hang out with him?”
“I-I’m afraid of him, sir. He’s a family friend. He s-said he’d get pissed if he couldn’t teach me how to hunt. He wants me t-to join him. I hate him, and I hate what he does.” Putting his knife away, Stetson stood up and reached his hand out to Bobby and hoists him up quickly.
Bobby stepped away from the giant deer, his breathing heavy as he whipped access tears away. “You tell me where he hangs out, and you’ll never have to worry about him again.” Bobby went from fear, to absolute relief.
Maybe Stetson wasn’t a demon, but an avenging angel. “Fincher’s Bar and Grill. It’s an hour from here. H-he and some hunting guys go there.” The two exchange phone numbers, at this point Bobby felt this guy was trust worthy. How odd was that? Usually the teen was quite private, but maybe having someone as big and strong as Stetson by his side wouldn’t be a horrible fate. “Send me the directions. Get a new hobby.” Feeling dizzy, Bobby nodded. “You aren’t going to kill me? For being involved?”
“You’re not the evil one, kid.” He gently pat Bobby’s shoulder before heading out. The teen quickly texts him the directions along with two of his friends who frequent the bar and who he’s met on occasion, Patch and Baldy. He watched the deer drive off. That was his first real encounter with a furry, he couldn’t help but think of his life. He thought he’d die today, but he didn’t. Maybe it was time to do new things. Darkness slowly took his heart-he met the father of the girl he let die. He watched Marco shoot a fawn. He didn’t do anything to stop it.
Going back inside, the teenager lied on the couch, closing his eyes he saw what he had so long ago. The fawn flopping to the grass, covered in blood. The more this image cropped up, the more he felt Stetson’s intervention was a good thing.