The doe lifted her slender head as she gazed, bleary-eyed, at the icy snow landscape. Snow had invaded her home, the tiny flakes drifting from the slate grey clouds, spiraling lazily to the ground, where it melded into a blanket of pure white. The deer stood on shaky legs and took a tentative step into the white abyss. She had sheltered herself in a thick crown of gnarled bushes, now slumped under the weight of the heavy quilt of snow. The forest was eerily quiet, almost drowning in silence. Few animals had witnessed this scene, all too busy hiding away in there underground safe-havens, sleeping away the dreary winter months.

The does cloven hooves sunk into the snow as she slowly gained her snow legs. She ventured forth into the the unforgiving winterland with halting steps, the crunch of her hooves dented the never ending continuum of silence that echoed throughout the forest. A silence that held depth and meaning. She stopped suddenly in the middle of a clearing, she sensed a presence, one that didn't fit with the normal way of life. Slowly the motion passed, she lowered her head and snuffled for a patch of grass, which might sustain her for a few hours more. She jerked her head upward as a soft clicking fell upon her ears. She'd heard that noise once before, and what had followed after stilled a sense of fear, even if two years had passed.

Summer. Light filtering through the forest canopy, dappling the grass with golden rays. Her mother was standing at the top of the hill, watching her daughter play. Protecting her.

She frolicked, bounding across the leaf-mold to her, nuzzling her. It would have been a found memory. Her mother had cared for her since she was born. There was an inexplicable connection between the two. Maybe it was always this way, maybe they were one of a kind. But they were a team. Inseparable.

Her mother couldn't have known that they were waiting in the bushes. She couldn't have seen them, couldn't have heard them.

But she could. She heard them, the whispers and faint clicking of loading guns. She tried to warn her mother. She really did. Bounding up to her and nudging her towards the way the had came didn't work. It only seemed to aggravate the mother.

There was nothing she could do. She could die here with her mother, or she could run.

The young doe glanced over at the hiding men. She butted her mother one last time, her eyes pleading.

The mother rounded on her, glaring. She flicked her tail, motioning for her to go away.

She did. She didn't stop running. Not even when the shots rang out behind her. Not when the cries of her own mother circled her. She ran to the sheltered cove where they'd been sleeping. The young doe collapsed, exhausted from running. She was alone.

The doe stood still as her mind whirled with thoughts. A poisonous chill prevented her from moving as her heart and mind screamed for her to run. She broke free in the nick of time, bolting to the safety of the trees as a bang rang out behind her. She spurred herself faster than she'd ever ran in her life as her mind was clouded by animistic fear. Adrenaline forced her away from the clearing. More shots sounded but fell silent as the distance between her and her attackers lengthen, yet again the world was quiet, tranquil, as she slowed to a halt. Her heart beat steadied, her chest heaving. But a loud bang crippled her sense of safety and her leg buckled as she fell to the ground. She lay on her side and stilled, but she wasn't dead yet.

The last thing she felt was the cold.


This is unusually short for me. I wrote this for a writing assessment a while back. Review, please.