The fog was so thick they could hardly see their hands in front of their faces. Luke finally saw what was thrashing out next to the barn. A young buck with a gash across it’s face.
“Oh shit. Mom, his nose is gone.”
Sandy pointed the flashlight at the injured animal. “Looks like a wire is sticking out. Looks like electrical wires.”
“He was tangled in the fence next to the barn and hurt himself trying to get loose. Knocked the lamp off of the post there. Poor guy probably thrashed around and got poked on something. Look at that gash on his chest,” said Luke. “Come on boy,” he cooed, “we won’t hurt you.”
To their surprise the deer came up to him.
“Mom, go in and get an apple or carrot or something,”
“I’m not sure we should feed him with all of those injuries, especially near his mouth.” Sandy pulled her phone out of her back pocket. “I’m calling Jack.”
Luke, along with everyone else knew Jack Henry the local game warden.
When Jack arrived he evaluated the situation and called a wildlife rescue group. They came for the young deer. That was in December. In February Sandy got a call asking if she could provide a home for the deer. They named him Rudy, short for Rudolph due to his nose injury. Due to a leg injury, and ongoing nose problems due to the wires they pulled out Rudy wouldn’t be able to live in the wild again. Besides that, he was so tame.
Soon Rudy became part of the family. Luke and his sister Liv fed Rudy in the mornings. They delighted to see him make friends with their goats, two dogs, and the llama. Sandy and her husband Sean would laugh when they’d sit out on the porch in the evenings and Rudy would come up and want to put his scarred nose in their cocktails. They’d feed him carrots and apple slices. Rudy also liked crackers, but no cheese.
One afternoon Luke and Liv were out walking the dogs in the woods behind their home and came on a horrific discovery. A little less than a dozen dead deer were scattered in on the edge of a meadow, and in the woods. Two were hanging from a tree, just bones and some scraps of skin the crows and other animals hadn’t gotten to. Then Liv found something on the ground, then dropped it.
“What was that?” Luke asked.
“A hat. A Christmas hat. Oh my God, Luke, there’s a skull. It still has a beard on it.” She then pointed to a skeletal hand gripping some sort of electric switch with the words nose written on it. “What the fuck Luke?”
Sandy called the police who came to investigate and took away the body. The deer might have died in the snow storm. As for the old man they found, there was no ID or fingerprints left. He was wearing a red jacket with white seal fur trim.
That night at the dinner table, over pizza and salad, Sean looked at his kids. They were jut now getting over their gruesome discovery that morning. “I wonder if those deer belonged to Rudy’s heard?”
“I don’t know,” said Luke. “Why did that guy’s switch have nose written on it? Do you think it had anything to do with Rudy.”
“What do you mean?” Sean asked.
“Rudy had wires sticking out of where his nose was. One was black and one was red. It looked like his Rudy’s had exploded…” Luke started to say then stopped.
“Those deer looked like they fell out of the sky,” said Liv.
“Sean,” said Sandy. “That switch. Why did that guy with the Christmas hat have that switch in his hand? Why was he in the middle of that field with eight dead deer?”
Everyone at the table looked at each other, then went back to their pizza.
“Um, yeah, Dad, said Liv. “I’m glad you didn’t put any pineapple on the pizza tonight.”
“Me too,” said Sandy. “Me too.”