The woods were young. Scrub brush and poplars barely beginning to give way to young oak and maple. They were young in the season as well, barely there leaves giving the appearance of a fine green haze about the branches, but the bare bark of trunks and limbs still very visible. This morning I had walked across the moist crumbling earth of plowed fields to reach this patch of trees that stood a mile or so from my apartment building rather than face another soul sapping trek across the same stretch of concrete sidewalk. My morning walks had begun to feel as ordinary and barren as the rest of my life had become, and the instinct to simply run as far and fast as I could had overtaken me. Now here I stood, on the edge of farmland and a tiny forest of maybe five or ten acres. Better than blacktop at least.

I stepped across the thin margin of tangled grass and weeds between the field and the dense line of bramble and trees that began the woods. A surprising quiet filled the world. There was no path into these woods, but my feet found purchase and I ducked through the worst of the tangled saplings and feral raspberry canes. The cluster of trees ahead lacked the hallowed feel of really old forests, where the canopy is closed enough that the ground below becomes a leaf and fern covered cathedral floor. This fledgling woodland was still a mess of low branches, grasses, and early spring wildflowers. No space for a reverent stroll through natures establishment, this was a battle ground for young green things fighting for space and purchase.

I made my way through the best that I could, noticing in aggravation that I must have passed some burdock because the legs of my pants were already matted with burrs and nettles. As I stooped down to tear at the mass of dead seed heads, I was arrested by the sight ahead of me. Deeper into the woods, just near the edge of my sight, stood a mother deer and her fawn, both blindingly white, and their eyes were fixed on me. The instinct that drew me to the woods this morning roared inside of me again. Like a living beast it screamed that I must follow them, that I must reach the white doe and her new born fawn, quickly, before they escaped the world forever.


This was a prompt from my StoryWorld Fairy Magic deck that I wrote a few weeks back. I felt the prompt gave away too much to be put at the front of the story, so I’ve put all of the explanation here at the end instead. The card was The Fairy Deer, and the question posed was “if you follow the deer and her fawn, where will they take you?” The card was an immediate reminder  of the magic of liminal space, the area of space or time that is neither wholly one thing or another, and its power to drag us from the reality of our current existence into another reality entirely, just by crossing through. So this story is where The Fairy Deer led me on the morning I worked this prompt.


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