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 the fire pit and wonders if the guitar can be repaired. She cuts her finger pulling the a shards from the door frame and duct-tapes a tarp to cover it.
That afternoon, Emma calls her brother in Ohio. Telling him the story makes it seem more real and more resolved. Bob asks a few questions and seems calm. As they conclude, she says, “Maybe the deer is Mom.”
Bob is quiet and then chuckles, “Well, if it is Mom, good luck getting rid of her.” They both laugh as they hang up.
That night, Emma locks every outside door and asks Jason to double check them all. When she asks him to help move a bookcase in front of the broken living room door, he balks but then agrees. The kids at school didn’t believe him, he tells her, so could she text him the photos? She does, wondering If she should send them to the local newspaper, too, or at least to the Warden’s Office.
Day 3
“You’ve got to help us!” Emma says shakily. “They’re back.”
“I’ll be there in twenty minutes, and I’ll bring another warden with me,” Sergeant Morgan explains. “Just stay put and don’t do anything.” He writes down her address and hangs up.
This time, Emma needs Jason to stay with her, somehow knowing that this will be the worst of it.
It’s surreal looking at the two deer curled on the floor, knowing that it is impossible that they are there. “You see them, too, right?” she asks her son who is standing in the kitchen in his underwear looking shell-shocked.
“What do you mean?” he mumbles.
“I mean, I’m not just seeing something that isn’t real, am I?”
“If you’re crazy, then we’re both crazy,” he answers matter-of-factly. Again, they stare at the deer who stare back at them. Emma wonders if the doe is equally confused. Did she choose to return? Or did she just wake up here in this human living room in some kind of Western Maine Twilight Zone?
Soon, a truck pulls into the driveway, and Emma meets the two men at the door. Sergeant Morgan is younger, tall and thin, and does all the talking. He introduces Sergeant Booker, a grandfatherly type who tips his hat. In the back of their pickup is a large cage, a pulley and chain, and two rifles in a gunrack.
“You wouldn’t kill them, would you?” she asks in horror.
“No, ma’am, that’s against the law unless they are threatening you in some way,” Sergeant Morgan explains, and Emma thinks that she does feel threat- ened in some way but does not say it aloud.
The men explain that their plan is to trap, sedate, and transport, but that they may need to sedate first if the trapping doesn’t go well. “It’s probably best if you’re not part of this,” Sergeant Morgan suggests. “Let us take it from here.”
Emma and Jason watch the wardens do their jobs from the kitchen. First, they drive the truck around to the back of the house, unload the cage, and situate it against the back door. The backup beeping concerns the doe, but she does not rise. Then, the men come back around though the kitchen, move the bookcase, and open the door. All this time, the deer sit quietly, watching every movement. Their heads tilt in tandem as the men move about, as if they are watching a tennis match. The men move slowly, speaking in whispers, and Emma hears the older man say, “I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Emma snaps a photograph as they position them- selves on either sides of the deer like she and Jason had the day before. The gloved men gently try to coax the wild animals to the door, but the animals are planted.
“This isn’t working,” says Sergeant Morgan. “I’ll get the gun,” says Booker.
“No!” Jason yells.
“We’re just going to tranquilize them,” explains the younger warden. “We won’t hurt them. Then, we’ll get them into the truck and take them far away. They will be fine. Trust us.”
“Do you think we should warn people that this can happen?” Emma asks.
The older man looks her straight in the eye and says, “No, I don’t. I think this is a once-in-a-lifetime situation and the less we make of it, the better off we are. We’ll make a report, of course, but I wouldn’t call the press or the police. No need to scare anyone.”
Emma looks to Sergeant Morgan who nods in agreement. Emma suddenly wonders, by the looks be- hind their eyes, if they think she is responsible. Maybe they think she coaxed the deer inside or welcomed her in some way. Did she?
The next events happen too quickly for Emma to take any photos. Sergeant Booker comes in with the stun gun and shoots two quick, silent darts into the two deer. The mother lays her head down, sedated, and the fawn follows seconds later. Then, the two men
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