The creature’s heart raced rapidly beneath her hands as the girl worked to calm it. She cooed soothing sounds while her hands gently stroked soft velveteen fur. The young doe kicked its legs out struggling against the inevitable, but the girl held on tight, calling for the doe to cease fighting; willing it to settle. Over time the intensity of the struggles subsided and the animal’s heart slowed.
Earlier, as the first beams of light rose over the distant Eastern horizon and while dew still clung to a soft green mix of grass and mossy groundcover, the girl had taken her place in the small clearing. Barefoot and unadorned save for a simple white shift she’d sat cross legged for hours meditating on the task before her. In her mind’s eye she had seen her mother as she was, a cacophony of tubes and machines beeping and whirring in sync to keep her alive. It was an accident, side-swiped on the passenger side by a red light runner and while she knew in her mind that it wasn’t her fault, as a learner driver her heart betrayed her into taking the responsibility on her shoulders. Slowly the vision morphed into her mother as she wished her to be. Conscious and back on her feet smiling, full of life and vitality.
Softly she hummed to the animal, weaving a hypnotic web of assurance and safety. Singularly focused on her task she was unaware of her surrounds. Rays of waning sunlight broke through the high canopy of trees, speckling the woodland floor below. Birds in the distance chirped cautiously but none enter the small clearing occupied by girl and captive. After fifteen more minutes she loosened her grip and the doe remained in place, sitting before the now kneeling girl.
She’d known what might be asked of her, in return for her desire, and she’d come prepared. A sharp blade lay to her right, untouched since morning. It wasn’t until the doe had wandered into the clearing and come to stand beside her that she’d been certain how this day would end. The initial struggle of the doe had almost undone her. Would she be able to go through with it? To become someone who could do such a thing? The fragile look of panic and vulnerability when the girl first captured the doe still hung in her mind’s eye, in contrast to the calm beauty before her. Quickly she replaced that image with one of her mother, as she wanted, needed her to be.
Her heart raced as she felt around for the blade, keeping her eyes locked on the doe’s. Unwilling to break the spell she had woven. The light from above caught the swing of the highly polished blade. Red spray now marred the girl’s white dress as a single tear slid down her cheek. She leaned forward, kissed the doe’s still head and whispered, “I’m sorry but thank you.”