America's love of hunting.
Brown velvet colored horns scraped with a purpose against the battered old fishing hut. In a way the new horns itched, or maybe it was the infection from the deer's cut leg that made it feel as though the horns had to come off. Or maybe it was the instincts that kicked in every year, when a young buck became an adult, through the same actions that just about all male animals did it, love and war.
Wilderness in season
It didn't matter much to Bridget, she was just annoyed with it all. Ever since she had come here, in the spring, she had been watching these boys bounce about, showing off their powerful legs, or locking horns with each other to see who was the bigger male. The sounds of the antlers clashing began to rack her last nerve. It was bad enough that she had be banished to this place, but to have be as noisy as this. . . she stopped her thoughts. If it had been too quiet she would be complaining about that. She was just miserable her, and had yet to find a way to amuse her self or even get more accustomed to what she had to put up with.
Bridget knew that she really shouldn't be complaining. She was banished out into the forest, yet was able to find herself in this place. A lush green meadow, spotted with purple, red, blue, yellow and pink wild flowers. Many she had known held medicinal properties. There was a large spring fed pond in the center of the meadow, the spring was above ground and fish swam freely between the two. Off to the corner, or side depending on how you viewed it, stood a small spring feed pond, but this one was fed from deep within the earth, making the water unbearably hot in the summer, but welcoming in the winter. The old shack sat on the edge of the larger cool pond, abandoned years ago by the fishermen that had built it. In side she found a few items that could have been useful, such as pots and a kettle, platters and forks. Even a slightly dulled skinning knife. If only she had a way to catch a fish. Her mouth watered as she thought of her mother's baked cod and bacon. Of all the things she truly missed from back home, it was her mother's cooking. She made sweet scones, and freshly churned butter topped pumpkin bread. Bridget shook herself. It was best not to dwell on those things. Better to be happy and content with the things she had, like dandelion salad. She swallowed the last of her salad as she spied one of the young bucks looking at her. She had thought that they would have been scared off by her rudeness, but they all seemed to take it in stride. The does with children were slightly on edge around her at times. As if she would strike them at any moment. The strongest doe had come up on Bridget once. Bridget did her best lion impression and the doe wandered off looking confused. Bridget giggled thinking about that, and this got the looky lou buck's attention.
There where times in the meadow when she thought that maybe the deer were confused. That one of these wild herbs they ate caused them to see things that weren't there. Many times they had approached her as if she belonged with them. But as she thought that they should be able to plainly see, she didn't belong with their group. She was black haired and long legged, they had rust colored fun and stubby legs. There were many differences,yet they didn't see them. Bridget thought about it as she watched the buck sauntering up to her. She felt the anger rise as bile, burning her throat. She wanted to run screaming and flailing her arms at him, but the shear size of his antlers kept her from doing it. Instead when he brushed his chin against her face all she did was push him away. This seemed to be the safest way to reject his advances, she had seen doe's do something similar. Bridget worried that if he ever got too aggravated with her, then he might become dangerous.
Bridget had already spent a full year in this beautiful yet dismal place. She spent much of that time busying herself with mundane tasks, just trying to make herself more comfortable, more at home. It wasn't an easy task, the cot in the shack was too small, her hips bounced off the fame of the door and all the windows had been broken out, allowing the harsh winds of winter to invade. The roof allowed the rain to come in and she was never able to find enough buckets to keep the floor dry. Clothing was another obstacle. Although there was no other human around to see her, she had been raised with a sense of shame, and nakedness was not permitted. Her studies ha been on less domestic things, such as weaving, but she had managed to fashion together bits of old cloth and dried grasses to cover her personal parts. She was sure that she wasn't in the height of modern fashion, but that was the benefit of being the only person around. Bridget longed for a rifle or hunting knife. She eyed the deer in the meadow, if she could get just one of them she would have enough material for a coat and boots. The thought of shephard's pie caused her stomach to growl in hunger. She hadn't the strength to take one down using only her hands and a sharpened stick or even a large rock, like the tales she had heard told as a child. She had also been told many stories about the monsters that lived in the forest, and the fairies and human/animal hybrids that she should be wary of. She remembered watching her mother dress Bridget's infant brother up in girls clothes to keep the changelings from stealing him and replacing him with one of their own. Now that she lived among all these horrific creatures, she found that there was little reason to put such tales into little ones heads. They were not the horrendous necromancers that the human world made them out to be. She saw many of their deeds as a survival instinct, to send one of their children off to be raised by different parents, to eat to live, yet there were a few that did seem to be a bit too ornery. Those little brownies had to be watched when ever they were near. Their sense of humor wasn't shared by Bridget.
Home, she dearly missed her childhood home. Unfortunately she wasn't welcomed, she hoped that she was at least missed as well. She would lay in that mos uncomfortable cot, and fantasize about being greeted back home. Her mother weeping with joy, instead of the horrified tears that ran down her face the last time she saw he. Bridget's father would be begging for her forgiveness, as the elders fell to their knees at her feet. Groping her legs and offering their lives in exchange for her forgiveness. How Bridget smiled when she thought of that. Seamus, the boy she had loved from the first day of her life, would arrive, carrying an arm full of flowers. He would then proclaim that he too had loved her since the day of her birth, and that he never wanted to be without her again. Her brothers would be stabbing off to the side, unable to look her in the eye. Their shame for what they had done would be worn on their faces so that the entire village would know what terrible deeds they did, and the outcome it had caused their beloved sister. And her sisters, the horrible cows that backed the brothers stories would fling themselves off the Giant's Causeway in their grief and guilt. It would be a glorious homecoming.
All too soon, the sun would rise, and the native animals would start making a ruckus. Bridget would have to stumble out of her bed, and go about her daily business. A breakfast of salad, a quick disappearance in the forest for some much needed relief, then a quick swim in the pond. He days were the same mundane routine everyday. It help greatly with the solitude. Sometimes though, she couldn't help but think about the crime she had committed, and that being ostracized into the wilderness was actually a kinder fate then they could have bestowed on her. She was an adultery as well as a murderer. They could have killed her right then and their. They could have ignored her mother's pleas, and her father's well rehearsed speech about leniency and that Bridget was only a child. The man she had been with was just as guilty as she, her father told the elders. And they listened. She would be able to live out her life in the forest, in this meadow, and make penance for the evil she had done. Maybe then God would forgive her, ad she wouldn't have to see the fire of Hell that her Father warned her of. Yet this morning, she didn't think about those things. She even allowed the young buck to hover a little longer than usual. It was a pleasant morning, and Bridget had come to a turning point. She finally made the decision to live, and try to make the best of it all. She would live a glorious life her, alone with the deer.
Bridget left the meadow some days to venture into the woods, in search of berries. She tried to do this rarely as she wished to consider these a treat rather than a normal meal. It gave her something to look forward to on some of her more dreary of days. And although she found herself in the best of moods, she wanted to treat herself, and also to be away from all the deer. Bridget moved deliberately through the woods, knowing full well that there was danger, not only from those nuisances, the Brownies, but from men. You never know what kind of men you could run into in the woods. There was also the Curs, these ones were wild now. Some one had left them there to die, and now they saw everything as meat, food for their own survival. As she moved, she heard sounds of men moving through the woods. The way they moved told her that they were hunters, and she was relieved that she decided to leave the meadow. Even if she wanted to eat a deer herself, she had grown oddly fond of the ones she shared her home with. And to see one of them fall by a hunter's bullet would be devastating for her. The men were quietly headed the opposite direction of Bridget, so she continued on her way to the berry patch that sat in a small clearing in the wood. It was surrounded by a thick burr bushes that tangled unmercifully in her hair. But this was way the deer hadn't devoured them and turned the stems into nubs. The berries were refreshing in her mouth, the sweetness tingled and teased her taste buds. The perfect treat. Bridget diligently made sure she left plenty for her next outing, and slipped back through the burrs. It as then she realized that the noises of the forest had vanished. Not a creature stirred, it was unnerving. Bridget stood, straining to hear what could be causing this reaction. A twig broke under a heavy foot some where off to her side. Bridget turned her head.
"Father!" she cried out as the hunter's rifle came up. Bridget didn't hear a response, only the rifle's shot echoing. Her side burned, and she couldn't stand. She slumped to the ground, laying her head on the decaying leaves. Her eyes watered and the faces of her father and brothers blurred as they stood over her.
"Now that's a good looking deer." She heard her father say before she died.