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deftly and gently lift the deer into the cage, careful to lay the fawn’s head on its mothers belly. As they do, Emma sees that the fawn is a buck, something she hadn’t seen before, and then notices the two tiny bumps on its head. They pull a ramp from the truck, attach the pulley to the cage, and slowly move it up the ramp into the truck bed. The deer never stir.
“Where will you take them?” Jason asks the wardens, sticking close to his mother. Emma has a vision of the future: Jason graduating from game warden training, she, the proud mother applauding.
“Far enough that they won’t be able to find their way back,” says Sergeant Morgan.
“How do you explain all this?” asks Emma, the question that has plagued her for three days.
In near unison, both men rub the backs of their necks, but the younger man speaks. “Some behaviors can’t be explained. That’s one of the first lessons in wildlife management. I think these animals felt safe here in your home, like this was their den. Maybe they got scared by something out in the woods. Maybe
a bobcat or a coyote. These deer look healthy, but a
mother’s instinct is always to protect her baby, no matter what.” He pauses and smiles. “I think you know that.” Jason puts his arm around his mother’s waist. “I think what we saw here is unbelievable and impossible, but nonetheless, it’s real.”
Emma thanks the wardens. The men shuffle out of the living room, start the truck, and drive down the driveway to the main road.
“Do I have to go to school today?” Jason asks.
“Yes, you do,” his mother answers, “but today, you’ve got the photos to prove your tall tale.”\
Day 4
Emma wakes before dawn. She wraps herself in her bathrobe, walks downstairs, and looks at the living room as the sun rises over the pines. It is that magical time of day when the shadows lift, and the world wakes up again. Unbelievable and impossible, indeed.
She goes to Jason’s room to tell him.
“I knew it,” he says, wiping the sleep from his eyes. “And you know what? I’m glad they’re back. I like having them here.”

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