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 answers on the first ring, surprised to hear from her again. “You must have left the door open,” he says. The comment stings, but she lets it go.
“What should I do?” she asks.
He tells her to put some food
outside the door and coax the deer toward it. “You might need to encourage her a little, but she’ll get the idea. They’re smart animals.
The two of you can probably corral her and kind of lead her out the door. Don’t try to touch her, especially with the fawn around. She could hurt you and do some damage, too. I’d wear heavy gloves and jackets just to be safe. Call me back if you have any trouble. I can drive over there.”
Emma expresses her
gratitude but says she and Jason can handle it. She hangs up the phone and tells Jason what the warden said. “Do you think we can do this?” she asks.
“Sure. I’ll go get dressed,” he answers, sounding
like the adult in the room.
Soon, they stand at the top of
the stairs leading down into the living room wearing puffy
winter coats and work gloves. The doe curls around her fawn, and Emma detects a faint snore. She closes Luna in her bedroom and tells Jason to go around the house, spread a bag of apples on the ground, open the door from the outside, then stand on the other side of the deer.
As Emma descends the stairs, the deer raises her head, seeming more curious than frightened. The fawn
raises its head, too, and Emma is struck by how the curves of their noses and necks are the same shape, one in miniature. She stands close enough to see the swirl of fur on the doe’s chest, her pink tongue lick her shiny nose, and her eyes, big and brown as chestnuts. When Jason appears, the doe looks as if she might stand, but holds her position as he takes his, flanking her.
“Come on, mama, get up,” Emma says calmly, moving her arms up and down. Jason does the same, her mirror image. They wave and plead, gesturing, clicking, making kissing sounds. Jason even tries sing- ing a song by Thin Lizzy: Get out of here, Get out of here, Do I make myself clear? Pack up, give in, go home, get out. Emma can’t help but smile.
When the deer stands, the whole room gets smaller. She shakes her enormous head and peers out the door at the apples. “Good girl,” Emma coaxes.
“Atta girl,” Jason echoes. The fawn stands too.
That’s when it all turns into chaos. The doe moves suddenly and forcefully, but not in the direction of the door. She bangs against the recliner and then turns toward the coffee table, bucking it with her hooves. The fawn runs toward the kitchen and Emma screams, “No, not the stairs,” while the coffee table splinters. The deer breaks the door as she lunges, and glass scatters on the rug. “Be careful, Jason!” Emma yells, pushing the fawn to run behind its mother, which
of course, it does. Neither of them stop to pick up an apple. The mother hesitates for a moment while her fawn catches up, and they both bound into the forest, their white tails bobbing, the forest eating up the sight of them, leaving silence and shock in their wake.
Emma hugs Jason as they breathe hard in their wreck of a room. The deer has broken several framed photographs and Jason’s guitar that had been propped in a corner. The place looks like a crime scene, maga- zines strewn, a coffee cup shattered, but Emma notices that the deer figurine still sits on the mantle intact.
“That was freakin’ amazing,” says Jason. Emma feels herself beginning to cry, feeling like she has made some terrible mistake.
Jason decides to go to school after all, so Emma drives him there with a note vaguely describing an emergency at home. It takes Emma most of the morn- ing to clean up the glass and the broken furniture. When she calls the warden to describe what hap- pened, he says they are lucky not to be hurt. “I should have been there. I’m sorry.”
“Well, if they show up again,” Emma says with a nervous laugh, “I’ll call you.” She takes photos of the mess in case the insurance company might cover the damage. She carries the remains of the coffee table to 59

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