Short Story: Deer in the Road

Jesse Schwiebert

“LOOK OUT!” screamed someone in the car as a deer was crossing the road. “Use the horn to scare it away!” We were only a mile away from the mansion without an incident the whole way and now we’re about to end this poor deer’s life. The deer was standing its ground on the snow-frosted road like a cowboy in an old western movie. It appeared to be the end for the buck when the car was a foot away from it until the car went dead.

My name is David Pride and this story is about how I almost died. I have always been a sorta quiet awkward kind of guy with only a few friends. All of which are here with me now in my parents red Toyota. John, one of the coolest guys in school and kind of the leader of the group. Steve, a brainiac in most subjects that can be annoying if you’re with him for awhile alone. Cassie, the other shy and awkward one who’s a great gamer. Finally, there’s Hannah who’s one of the most popular girls at school and has been with John ever since I’ve known them. It turned out to be Hannah who had screamed.

“Well, this is great,” John said in exhausted defeat after the dozenth time of trying to get the car started again.
“Does anybody know how to hotwire a car or something?” Cassie suggested while looking around at us hoping for a savior. No such luck.

“Let’s just call someone to help us,” Steve said already taking his phone out and dialing.
“No reception,” I said with my own phone out with the tab saying. “No service.” Everyone else was the same.

Eventually, after what felt like an hour of arguing over whether or not we should leave the car or not John announced the deciding vote. “Everybody SHUT UP!” he crescendoed to the car. “We need to find a place to either get help or bunker down because we’ll freeze to death before we could ever make it to my parent’s mansion.” He said while challenging everyone with his stare to object. No one did. I never say anything during an argument because I believe that adding another voice to a defense or objection only adds to the chaos. Usually, I don’t say much of anything anyway due to the fact that every conversation or act to be sociable becomes awkward. I felt dread as I grabbed my jacket from the car and put it on.

“Hay! What are we going to do with the beer?” Steve called to the rest of us from the trunk as we were about to start walking. They had asked me to bring five crates of beer to take to John’s house even though I knew my parents would freak if they found out.

“You and Darick take a crate or two with us,” John said.
“John we shouldn’t be worrying about the beer we should be leaving,” Hannah said.
“It’s fine and besides where else are we going to drink from a frozen pond?” John said.

We started walking on to a convenient path in the forest with no map, no travel gear and with only jackets and sweatshirts in -10° freezing weather. The ground and trees were covered in pure white snow with disturbances of animal tracks quickly disappearing with the wind and falling snow. The wind howled throw my ears and until I couldn’t feel them. The numbness was sinking into my feet and making it’s way up to my hands and face. “H..H..ave they f..f..found anyth…th…thing yet,” I called from the back with a crate of beer slowly slipping from my hands.

“N…N…ot y..y..y…yet.” Steve shivered back with two crates frozen to his hands. “W…wait they f…f…found a c…c…abin up a…a…ahead.” Relief swept over me that we were almost to a sanctuary out of the freezing storm. We made a run for it as fast as we could throw the snow that was now rising up to our knees. Stealing a quick glance I saw that the cabin was about as big as an apartment. It was made of cedar wood with a black tiled roof and a porch. John and Cassie slammed the door open letting the rest of us in.

“S…S…someone li…light a fire somew…w…where.” Cassie shivered through her teeth. Hannah lit a fire in the fireplace with a lighter. The interior of the cabin was cozy. A rug and couch in front of a TV, a kitchen with a stove, microwave, and fridge. I and Steve dropped the beer crates on the ground.
“Next time we visit your place, John,” Steve said to him. “You can get your own beer.”

Since me and Steve had to carry the beer we just collapsed on the couch while everyone else put it away in the fridge. After a little while of huddling up to the fire to warm our numb bodies, we decided to bring the beer out. For what felt like hours we talked about life, school and anything else we could think of while we drank. Of course, the joyful peace didn’t last long.

“Thunk.”I heard a sound like a small stone hitting the wall on the right side of the house. “Did anybody hear that?” I asked but at first, no one answered because they were laughing at a hilarious joke someone made.

“No, what sound?” Hannah asked while rubbing her watering eyes.

“Like…” before I could answer it came again but this time it crescendoed in a repetitive fashion. “Thunk. Thunk. Thunk. Thunk. Crash!” It sounded as though something had just rammed into the wall from outside. “Like THAT,” I said in worry as everyone jumped up off the couch. Then it came back but it was harder this time… and it came from all sides of the house.

“Somethings trying to get in,” Cassie said while pointing at the door that was being assaulted from the other side.

“The doors and windows are locked don’t panic,” John said.

“What is it?” Steve said.

Maybe it’s a bear… or five.” I slowly turned to him to see the look of uncertainty at his own stupid accusation.

“Bears don’t live on these woods,” I explained like it was obvious. Just then something had burst through the window. It was definitely not a bear. I was about the size of a large dog with black fur, yellow claws, green glowing sharp teeth, and milky lifeless eyes with black antlers. Hannah, Cassie, and Steve screamed. I and John were on the same page. We grabbed a broken bottle, baseball bat, two kitchen knives and the fire poker. The creature lunged for Cassie and she stabbed with her knife into its chest. Instead of blood rushing out it instantly vaporized into white vapor. It wasn’t the only one. More of them had broken through the windows and even the doors. Each of us was armed and fighting. John with his bat, Hannah with her knife, Cassie with the other knife, Steve with the broken bottle and me with the red glowing fire poker. It felt like a terrifying, exhilarating video game that was far too real. Then there was the first death.

“AHHHHH,” Steve screamed as his thigh was stabbed by a long black claw and was dragging him away.

“STEVE.” We all screamed but there was nothing we could do. Cassie tried to bat them away but more were still pouring into the cabin. Before we knew it we were overwhelmed. Cassie took a stab. Missed. Another stab. Missed but this time one of the creatures had jumped up and clenched its jaws on her arm. Hannah was then disarmed by a swiping claw from one creature then another jumped on her face. All I could see was a mob of the black abominations covering the cabin and all I could hear were growls and screams.

“What do we do now?” I yelled to John but when I turned around he was being slowly brought down to his knees by claw and tooth. “JOHN!” was all I could say or do before I looked away after one of the creatures was about to bite into his neck. A sense of absolute dread and defeat swept over me as I was losing my energy to swing my poker. That light was cooling. After I took one last swing one out of all the dozens of other beasts bit down and took my poker. My legs buckled underneath me and I tried to crawl to the nearest wall. I knew my end was near and that death was inedible. I closed my eyes waiting for the searing pain of hooked claws and piercing teeth. I could feel one of them breathing on my face as I trembled.

When I opened my eyes again I could not believe what I saw. I was staring at the ceiling on the floor. As I tried to get up my head hurt like it was hit with a hammer. Everyone was drinking coffee on the couch waiting for me. They explained to me that last night we all had too much to drink and woke up in weird places. So it was all a dream. A horrible drunk infused dream. Even if someone else got the beer next time I was never going to drink again. They had decided to walk to the mansion with the weather starting to warm. As we walked out of the cabin I looked around at the cabin one last time to see something that made my stomach drop out. Huge, long claw marks all over the outside of the cabin were a single green glowing talon remained embedded in the wood.