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Burson the Fawn

She opened her eyes. Moonlight spilled in the window onto the foot of the bed and flowed up to the closet door. Bleary eyed, she looked around her room. From the ceiling hung a pirate flag she made with an old white bandana her father had abandoned, and red paint she'd found behind one of the neighbor's houses. On the window sill, where the morning light could filter through them, were shards of colored glass she picked up where ever they lay. On her lamp was a green clear candy wrapper, now seeming a dark grey. Finally, scattered on the floor as if they were her guardians, were her stuffed animals, mostly wild animals, a horse or two, and a dragon. She did not know what had awoken her, but, a curious child as she was, she sat up straight and tried to spot anything unusual. She stared into every shadow with interest, squinting to see in the dim moonlight, at moments like these, useful technologies such as her bedside lamp were forgotten.

Then she saw it. The closet door had opened just a crack, and near the top were two small glints of light. She did not know what made these dots of light different from those that existed in the plastic eyes of her plush toys, but there were a definite difference. The two glints of light seemed to be scrutinizing her, staring back with the same curiosity she was. She did not like those two small lights shining back at her from the closet, she had read enough books in the school library to know that almost never did anything good come out from a closet. Especially not at night. Not in the dark.

She turned to her lamp, reached for the switch and was about to turn it on, when a creak sounded from the closet. She turned, fearing what monstrosity was coming for her, but only saw the door had swung wider. The small lights were now brighter, alarmed. She slowly drew her hand back from the lamp and placed it on her lap. She understood the relief in the specs of light. She stared at them, sitting in the silvery moonlight, as they stared at her, and the stuffed animals stared eternally before them. Silence lay like a heavy blanket on them, yet it did not smother, nor burden. And she felt naked, when a voice from the closet tore through the silence.

"Child?" It said, whispering, almost sighing. It was a sound that, coming from a mouth not seen, reminded her of winter winds through the pine needles, and chilled her in the same fashion. She did not answer, and made an effort to keep her hand on her lap, and not turning on the lamp, if only to see the mouth that spoke.

"Child, what is your name?" Now it spoke in a soft, sing-song voice, which worried her less. Still she felt her flesh rise with goosebumps. If only she could see the mouth, its teeth gleam. How she longed to turn on a light, to see that the teeth that held still more words back were not sharp--nor crooked, because only the wicked had crooked teeth.

Silence, cold and stiffling. She did not want to speak to a mouth she could not see. The two lights had begun to worry her, but not frighten her, not until she saw the mouth would she be frightened. Yet, she knew she must say something.

"Alexandra." She said quietly. Hoping it would not have heard, wanting to know what would happen next.

"Alexandra," it parroted in both voices, and she felt her eyes widen and her heart quicken. Then at last it stepped forward into the cool grey moonlight. It was a fawn, standing on two hooved feet, wearing a loin cloth of crisp leaves, they must be brown, but in the moonlight everything was in greys. Its chest was bare, and covered with thick, perhaps also brown, fur. At the ribs, however, there was normal flesh, and though on its arms thick hair also grew, the same flesh also flashed at her. The fawn stretched a hand in her direction, and Alexandra was happy to see that it was bare.

"Take my hand, Alexandra." It said in its sighing, sing-song voice. She looked at its face. It was dark, flat, and longer than any normal face would be. Its nose was large, its eyes yellow, and its teeth were straight and flat. The teeth of a lamb.

"Take my hand, and I will take you away from here," It said, still in that voice. "I will take you somewhere far, very far, from here. There I will give you everything you desire, anything you could possibly want." It took a step closer. "You will never want for anything, never cry, and you will never need to be unhappy."

Alexandra looked toward the door. Not the closet door, but the one that lead to the hall and to the rest of the house. She felt her cheek, where her father had slapped her for coming home in dirty clothes. And when she had wept, her forehead on the ground and laying over her tangled feet, her father had picked her up briskly--gripping too tight to her arm and causing more pain--and sent her to bed without dinner. She would have a bruise in the morning, and wouldn't eat much breakfast, even though she would be starving.

She would awake unhappy, but only if she stayed. She turned back to the fawn, saw its animal, yet kind, face. She put her hand over the fawn's, but could not bring herself to touch its hand. The fawn's hand did not move, and they hovered, a mere inch from each other in a beam of silver light.

"What's your name?" Alexandra asked. She looked up at the fawns face in time to see its creased brow grow smooth. It sniffed loudly through its large nose, and cocked its head to one side in thought.

"You may call me Burson." The fawn said in a whisper. Alexandra smiled and dropped her hand into his palm, it was warm, and rough. It closed around her hand and made it disappear. It pulled her toward the closet, into the closet, not into the wood back Alexandra knew was there, but beyond it, into a darkness she did not know. Burson lead her, walking backwards, until the closet door behind her closed, and another door opened in front of her.

Together they stepped through.



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