The Stranger: Taking Charge

The second story regarding the Stranger. Now Man has come to live in the forest. This pushes the deer into a making a terrible choice. That choice will affect the lives all all those in the forest for years to come. New friends and new enemies will appear resulting in great triumphs and heartbreaking tragedies. It will force new responsibilities onto Stranger that he did not plan on nor want. All of this, plus a growing family, will tax even the skills of the Stranger.

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11. Epilogue

 

 

They ran into the Man path forest from the open field. There was no sign of Man around, but that didn't stop them from being cautious. Their journey from their forest had only taken a short while. In the dark stillness of a mid-summer's night there was insects, rabbits and other creatures on the move, but nothing as large as them. They wandered into the forest and started looking for the others. From his last visit, he led Bambi and Faline toward the open area he has seen the herd in last time. As they approach, the wind carried their scent into the large clearing. The herd stopped grazing and looked up at them.

"Greetings," Bambi bellowed. "I am looking for Veron and Gena."

"Father" he heard a deep voice call out. "He turned and saw Veron come out of the woods with a doe close behind him. Behind the doe trailed a male fawn. Faline looked at it and almost broke into tears of happiness. Verno walked quickly up to them and first nuzzling his mother's face, he next rubbed his father face in affection. Finally Veron rubbed his forehead.

"I am so happy to see you," he said showing true joy. This is Alana, my mate, and this my fawn. I named him after you, Father, this is little Bambi."

He thought the big deer was going to break down on the spot. Bambi leaned over and rubbed the fawn with his nose. The fawn immediately started to lick Bambi's face. Audible sounds of pure joy could be heard from all of them. Bambi looked up directly at Veron. "Thank you my Son," was all he could get out.

"Have you seen, your sister Gena?" Faline asked.

"They are feeding in the next clearing, I will take you to them. They followed the large deer. Now at three years old he was not as big as his father's, but he had powerful muscles in his chest flank and legs. He could see he was going to grow a big rack. He noted the other deer deferred to them as they walked. Veron was definitely the herd leader here. They passed through some old growth pine trees until they came out into a clearing. Four deer were feeding. He recognized Stabo at once.

"Sister, we have visitors," Veron called out.

Gena looked over and ran over to them. A small female fawn was trailing behind her. So much for listening to his advice. Stabo followed and nuzzled his nose first. "Father," he said and then greeted Bambi and Faline. Stabo had grown. He was nearly as big as him. He also noted the rack he was growing. It be large, but not as big as his for another year.

"Father, this is little Claris. Do you think mother will mind?"

He leaned over and the fawn immediately stated to lick his face. He too also almost broke down on the spot.

"Your mother would be as proud as I am," he said letting his pride show in is voice.

"Where is mother," Stabo asked.

"Your mother along with your younger sister is watching your mother's new fawns and Faline's new fawn. They are still too young to make the journey, but I will bring them in the winter after The Season."

He didn't add, assuming any of us are still alive. He was not going to spoil the reunion.

"Why have you come now?" Veron asked.

"That is a long story," Bambi said. "That is why we are here. Let us lie down some place; this is not going to be easy to tell."

They all lay down in the middle of the opening and Bambi poured out the events of the last year. When he was done, there was not much happiness left.

"So my sisters are dead, my older brother has been chased away, and you are leaving forever," Veron summed up.

"Yes," Bambi said in a low voice. "That is why your mother and I wanted to come to see you once more. When I go back to the old forest, it is unlikely I will ever be able to get back here."

Veron took a deep breath. "I am sorry to hear that, Father, but this is my home. I am herd leader and I must stay. Stabo has been of great help, but the others look to me and I will not let them down."

"I know, my son, and that is why I am so proud of all of you," Bambi said also with obvious pride in his voice. "There is one other thing. I do not think Geno will ever come back, but if he does, you must go get Stranger. Geno is big, powerful, and knows how to fight. It will take all of you to chase him away or defeat him. I do not think he is that foolish, but you can never tell."

"I understand, Father," Veron went on. "If he comes back he will not be welcomed here. Between Stranger, Stabo, and me, we will take care of him. I cannot believe what he has done."

"If there are problems and you want help," he said to Stabo, "Your mother and I live in the clearing next to the pond."

"Yes, Father," Stabo said. Veron also nodded his head.

He look up at the increasing light. "Too late to go back tonight," he said. "If the herd leader does not mind we will stay here today and go back tonight."

"The herd leader will never mind a visit from any of you," Veron said with a smile.

They all spent the day in the clearing eating and talking to each other. There was little sleep. By the time dark came, it was time to part. Sad as it was, there was no avoiding it. Veron, Stabo and the others left to take care of the herd. The three of them left and walked back. As they were about to leave the clearing Bambi stopped and suddenly turned around to take one last look at Veron, Alana, Stabo and Gena leave the clearing with their fawns. Another tear came to his eyes. He looked directly at him.

"You know I do not like your bear, but he is right about one thing. No matter what happens, the best of us will go on."

With that the three of them left the clearing to get on with the rest of their lives no matter how long or short those lives turned out to be. Because in the end, that was all any of them could do.

The End

For Now

 

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