The Stranger: Stepping Out

In the third story about the Stranger, a series of personal tragedies have devastated the Stranger. His own mate has left him. This he will not accept and so must undertake a perilous journey to get her back. On the way, he will be challenged by by many situation, some ugly and violent, There was also be major changes made to his life. This will cause much personal hurt and sorrow.


7. Unexpected Aftermath


All of them stayed close to the small meadow for the next few days. From time to time he could hear the sound of the killing sticks from the lake, no doubt killing some hapless creature. The noise then stopped. While the rest all waited in the safety of the deep forest, Bambi and him went near the meadow. There they saw signs of Man’s presence in the remains that still lay in the thick green grass and were being picked upon by birds and other predators of the forest. It was not a pretty sight to look at and he was glad the others were not with them. One thing both Bambi and he were sure of was the Men had come back and had come for the meat because there were no racks on deer this early in the spring.

Bambi had called many of the deer to him in the little clearing and told everyone to avoid the lake and the meadow. The deer listened and afterwards there were no more sounds of the killing sticks. They did not know if Man had gone or not. There was only one way to find out. Bambi then showed him and Gorro a way to climb the hill without being seen by those below. He mentioned his own father had showed him this path. He could tell it was not used often. By then Gorro had managed to get over his shock and asked to come. Bambi reluctantly agreed. He also went with him to look for himself. There was no way he would try and go back to his forest with Man prowling about. Early in the morning before the greater light rose, they climbed the hill. It was steep and rocky at places, but his back did not protest. The first rays of the sun had come over the lake when they got to the top.

Bambi took them to a place on the side of the hill where they could see down below on the other side. It was open with another forest in the far distance. In the open area grew tall grasses, and through it flowed another stream that emptied into the lake. There was nothing there except the lingering smell of burnt meat.

“This is where Man puts his Man cave when he comes to the forest,” Bambi told them. They could all see they were gone.

“If so then they are gone for now,” he said.

“It should be safe to use the meadow again,” Bambi uttered, “But only if we use it at night.”

It was then he looked back and saw Gorro looking around. He was holding his nose in the wind and smelling.

“Gorro, something wrong?” he asked.

Bambi also turned around and looked at his son. Neither of them detected anything.

“A strange smell,” Gorro answered tensely. “Something I have not smelled before. I caught a scent once and then it was gone.” He then looked in front of him. “Excuse me,” he said and walked to the other side of the hill.

Both Bambi and him tested the air and could smell nothing except the smoke from where the Man caves had been. He wondered if Gorro was getting too nervous at what happened and was imagining things.

“Father, Stranger, over here,” they heard the young male call.

They both hurried over and saw Gorro standing in front of some bushes and sniffing at the ground. As he got next to Gorro he smelled the putrid odor again in his nose. Gorro was also looking at a pile of what looked like ashes from a fire lying on the ground.

“Is that the scent of Man?” Gorro asked.

“Yes, Son that is,” Bambi said. “That was good of you to find it. Man has been here.”

He wondered why Man had climbed up here when he looked over the bushes.

“Look,” he said and pointed his nose over the hedges. Below he could easily see the lake and the meadow and he could easily see the place where Ronno and Marol had died. It was a perfect place to watch deer on the meadow.

“That is why they came,” Bambi said. ”They can see clearly from here. When the greater light came up, Ronno and Marol stood there and Man saw them.”

“I cannot see our thicket, Father,” Gorro added.

“And that is why we are alive and Ronno and Marol are dead,” he told them. ”If you are close to the hill, Man cannot see you.”

Bambi nodded and then after Gorro looked closely he turned. “Yes, now I understand,” he said. “Man can only kill what he can see. If we are not seen they cannot kill us.”

“Then you have learned a great lesson,” he told Gorro.

Gorro beamed like he had found something of great value, and he had.

"Not only that, when they are up here we could not smell them or hear them," Bambi said and then stopped suddenly. He turned away from them and walked several steps back to the other side of the hill.

Gorro and him looked at the big deer wondering what had happened. Bambi  just stood there upset at something. Finally after a moment he turned around, he could see tears in his eyes. Those black piercing eyes looked very sad, then he spoke with some effort. "It is exactly like when Man used the odor of the skunk to hide himself from us at our old home. That was when your older sisters  Gurri and Gerta were killed."

Like Bambi he felt the memories of that terrible day flood back to him. It was all he could do to keep from breaking down himself.  It was before Gorro was born. The yearling male looked at them. He walked up to his father and then nuzzled his neck. Finally he spoke up. "Father, as you told me, we can do nothing about what happened before. We can only make sure it does not happen here again."

" are correct," Bambi told him. "Gorro, I think you have learned more than one lesson here."

"Yes, you have," he said and nuzzled the side of Gorro's face.

He decided to change the subject to something more pleasant. “Now young male, my back feels fine. Let us go back to the clearing, and I will show you some of my tricks. That is if your father doesn’t mind."

“Not at all,” Bambi said forcing a smile, and they all walked off the hill back the way they came.

They walked into the deep forest toward the smaller clearing. As they passed from where the trees had burned to the location the trees had not burned a sudden breeze brought an unusual scent to his nose. In fact there were several scents. It was not Man, they were scents from other deer, if fact it smelled like several deer. Both he and Bambi stopped. Both took in the air as did Gorro.

“Male deer, Father, three or four of them, but I do not recognize the scent,” Gorro told them.

“There are four of them,” he replied. “I certainly do know them. It is those four males I met with Ronno.”

“I also know them,” Bambi spat out. “Remember I told you there were a few other males who were looking to be leader here. It is Tarro, the leader of that pack.

They continued on quickly, they both entered the clearing. There were multiple scents, but no one was there. The outside males and the other doe from his family had been there recently.

“FALINE,” Bambi called out.

A short while later Faline walked out of the forest. She was limping slightly. Little Eta was also limping. Bambi and Gorro ran up to her.”

“What happened?” was all the big deer could say.

“Four males came here and said they wanted to chase you out. They said after what happened to Ronno, you were not fit to be leader anymore. When I told them you were not here, they kicked me and little Eta. Claris, Ate, Cara and Carie came up and they all left saying they be back for them later.”

He looked over at the small fawn. She had been kicked. He rubbed his nose along the fawn’s side and tried to smell anything unusual. She had been hurt, but not seriously. He was suddenly filled with a great anger.

He stood up and faced Bambi and Faline. “I think she will be fine, but she will hurt for a while.”

By now, Claris led the others into the clearing. He walked over to them trying not to let his anger show. “Did those four really say they be back after all of you?”

“Yes, Claris,” told him calmly. “They were loud, rude, and kicked poor Eta,” He could clearly see and smell she was  upset. The others looked worried.

They threaten all of us," Ate told him.

That got him really angry. He turned and looked at Bambi. “We need to deal with this,” he said flatly.

“Right now,” Bambi told him he could feel the anger in his voice.

“You know where they are,” he asked anyone.

“If it those four you told me about before, Father, they live on the other side of the hill near where the other stream flows into the lake. I have seen them there before.” Gorro also looked red eyed. He was ready to tear something apart, but he would be useless in a fight with four year old males. He was just too small.

“I have seen them there myself,” Bambi said trying to keep calm. His eyes were turning red again like when he beat Krono. “Stranger and I will take care of this. Gorro you stay here and protect the doe.”

“But Father. . .” he started to protest.

“NO ARGUMENT!” Bambi shouted. “Son, you are not old enough or big enough to fight these deer. In two seasons, yes you will be, but not now. You stay here and do what I say.”

Gorro looked hurt, but Bambi was right. He would only get in the way.

“We will be back later,” he told the others.

With that Bambi and him left walking deliberately, but not in a hurry. They walked until they got to Bambi and Faline’s old thicket.

“Take the other way around the hill. There is a path my Father showed me that is shorter.” He could still hear the anger in Bambi’s voice.

“My friend we just cannot go into this like two angry deer feeling The Season,” he said. “We have to think about this. We will be fighting four of them. We need skill not anger here.”

“Understood,” Bambi answered. “The wind is blowing off the lake. If we are behind the hill they will not hear or smell us coming.”

“Good,” he said.

They walked on in front of the hill passing in front of where the Man cave was located so recently. He could still smell a tinge of smoke. They walked along the side of the hill that rose almost straight up from where they were earlier. He could see where they had stood before looking down at where the Men had been. He was thankful Man was not here now. They were mostly in the open and could not flee because of the hill. What few trees and bushes that grew were small and could not hide them well. It was not long before they came to the other side of the hill. He could see the small stream ahead. Bambi stopped suddenly.

“Pass the hill near the stream is a part of the Meadow that extends to the lake. Beyond that meadow is a group of burnt trees. The four of them like to bed there.”

“Understood,” he nodded. “You want to try and talk to them, or just pound their tails into the ground.”

“I am going to a lot more than pound their tails,” Bambi said.

That made it clear in this mind what they were going to do. With that they got to the side of the hill and looked. There was a small stream and open space to the trees. Just inside the trees he saw four male deer standing close together. It was now full light.

“That is them,” Bambi said in an icy cold voice.

He looked at the open ground. The others would see them coming. There were a few trees on their side of the small stream.

“Keep the trees between them and us,” he told Bambi. “They will not be able to see us until we cross the stream. It will give them less time to prepare.”

They moved quickly from behind the hill to behind the trees by the stream. There they stopped. The four deer took no notice of them. The wind from the lake blew their scent away from them.“Alright, we will walk up to them at a trot,” he said. “We will see what they will do. If they are smart, they will try and surround us and attack our flanks as we fight two of them in our fronts. They will expect us to charge. Lash out with your front hoofs. Use your rear hoofs on the other two if you have too. Hit hard this time. No playing, we are here to hurt these deer.”

Bambi nodded and they both stepped out into the open and walked quickly toward the four large males. He was surprised they got almost halfway to them before they were even noticed. At once the four deer lined up. Then the two deer on the ends stepped aside.

“The two on the ends will try and hit us in the flanks,” he repeated. Bambi just nodded.

They four deer stood still. The two largest ones were in front. This was beginning to remind him of how the dogs attacked. Both Bambi and he covered the distance quietly not giving away anything they were going to do. Just on the outside of the trees they met. As they got within five lengths the bigger one Tarro spoke out in a haughty tone. “Are you here to beg us to leave your doe alone,” he said with a sneer. With that Tarro and Ellis put their heads down ready to charge. They take their charge and let the other two attack them doing the damage.

Both Bambi and him dropped their heads pretending to charge. As Tarro and Ellis stopped to received their charge, both Bambi and him stopped suddenly and then raised up with both front hoofs as quickly as possible. He hit the deer in front of him in the chest with one hoof and under the jaw with the other. Bambi landed both hoofs on the chest of the big male. Neither male was prepared for that attack. The two deer on the end were stunned for a moment then put their heads down and charged. They came up and both Bambi and he turned quickly with their back to the charging deer and both kicked back hard with their rear hoofs. He caught his deer in the head with one hoof and scrapped the side of his face with the other cutting it open. He heard a loud crack as Bambi handed both hoofs on the head of his deer. The deer he hit fell back staggered bleeding heavily from the mouth. Bambi’s deer fell back and collapsed onto the ground like he had been hit by Man. There he lay still.

The deer in front of him was just now getting up. He brought his front hood up in a slashing move across the deer's face. His hoof hit the male on the neck just behind the head. His deer went flying sideways. He then turned around facing the deer behind him. He placed himself between the two deer that he was attacking. The first deer now at his back was just getting up. The second deer in front was also getting up, blood pouring from the side of his face.  He kicked out as hard as he could to the deer behind him. He felt both hoofs hit hard in the deer’s shoulder and felt something give with a pop, He then lowered his head and charged forward to the deer in front of him who had also begun to charge. He hit him with his shoulder and got down low. The other deer was no fool, he went to shift his weight so he could not get leverage only he was moving slowly as if still dazed. He hit the deer hard and then brought his weight up. He started to lift the deer up and as he did he put all of his strength into his four legs and pushed as hard as he could. He felt something tear on his back. He managed to push the deer over his back legs and flipped him onto his back. He then leaped up and came down on his belly with both front hoofs.

“Daoff,” the deer coughed as all the air was knocked out of him. He then rose up and stomped the deer hard in his flank. He heard snapping noise from inside that deer’s side. He stomped him three more times before the deer stopped moving. He then turned to face the first deer he attacked who by now was just staggering on his feet. Bambi was pushing the bigger deer forward  into a tree. The other deer was looking at this and seeing an opportunity positioned himself to attack Bambi on his flank. That deer stupidly had lost sight of him for a moment. He dropped his head again and charged forward. The other deer saw him but too late. He hit the deer’s flank so hard with his shoulder it stunned him for a moment, but he was still standing. The other deer looked like he had been kicked like a small stone. His deer flew backward rolling on the ground. By now Bambi had knocked his deer to the ground and started to stomp on him. He decided unlike Krono last year he was not going to stop Bambi this time. Any male that kicks a fawn, he didn’t care if he lived or died. He watched Bambi stomp on Tarro until blood flowed out of his mouth and he lay still.  He then went up to the first deer he attacked. As he slowly got up he charged him hard again hitting him and knocking him into a tree. He then walked over and stomped on his flank once and then bent over. By now Bambi was walking over toward him.

“Listen, fawn,” he said gritting his teeth. “The only reason we are letting you live is so you can tell the others. Anyone who attacks Bambi, his family, or my mates will get this same treatment. You were all easy to defeat because we know how to fight and you do not. You give this message to anyone else who thinks they can be herd leader here. Try and hurt Bambi and I will kill you like we killed Tarro and your other friends.”

With that he stood up and walked away. “GET UP,” Bambi yelled at him. The deer got slowly to his feet looking terrified.  Bambi still looked like he was ready to kill him. When he got to his feet Bambi came over and used his front left hoof to raise the face.

“Leave my forest, do not come back. If I ever see or smell you again, you are dead.” With that Bambi pushed him down, he staggered, fell, and then got up quickly and ran into the open space like a bear was after him.

After that they went over to examine the three deer on the ground. Tarro was still alive but was dying. He was bleeding out the mouth and the side. He looked like he wanted to say something but he couldn’t. He next looked at the deer Bambi kicked with both hoofs. He felt along the side and his neck. He was already dead. His neck looked broken by the force of Bambi’s blow. Bambi was looking at the one he had stomped flat.

“This one will not get up. The scavengers will have a fine meal with him,” Bambi said almost with glee.

“Tarro will be dead soon and this one is already dead. I think the scavengers will feast here tonight,” he said then he looked at the big deer. “Are you alright?”

“I think so,” Bambi answered still out of breath. “Tarro managed to kick me, but it does not hurt much. How are you?”

“I feel fine,” he answered and looked around. “They thought we beg for mercy or attack them normally. Our quick attack and our tricks unbalanced them and they never got a change to regain any advantage before we beat them.”

Bambi walked over to him and looked him over as he did to Bambi. “The wound on your back opened slightly and there is a trickle of blood, but it is not serious.”

“I see nothing wrong with you except the cut in your chest which is not bad,” he told him.

They both looked at each other and smiled. “You know for a Stranger, you fight well,” Bambi said.

“So do you,” he told him. “Let us go back to the clearing our doe will be worried.”

“One thing first,” Bambi said.

He followed Bambi out into the meadow, there were almost no deer in sight since it was day. Bambi stood in the middle and let out a loud thundering call. “COME HERE,” he ordered at the top of his lungs.”

Normally Bambi would never call a gathering in the daytime, but there were no Men nearby, so the meadow was safe. There was also the matter here to be taken care of. Bambi called again and waited. Slowly other deer appeared. Most were males, a few were doe and fawns. Soon he could not count the number of deer in the meadow when he looked over and saw Claris, Carie, and Cara all standing to together.

“Where is Faline, Gorro, and Eta,” Bambi called out.

Claris trotted over to them. “Faline and Eta were hurting so Ate told them to lie down and rest. Gorro stayed with them along with Ate.” They she looked past the two of them and saw the three deer lying still on the ground just inside the trees. She looked at them both in shock but said nothing and went back to stand with Cara and Carie. Bambi waited until he saw no more deer come. There were more than enough to hear. The word would get around quickly.

“There are three deer lying dead over there. They attacked my family and threatened the mate of The Stranger.” Bambi’s voice was bellowing almost triumphal. “I want to make it clear that any deer that tries to hurt our families will get the same thing. You think you can be a better herd leader than me, then challenge me. If you try and hurt those close to me, then I will show you no mercy. Remember that,” he said before adding. "Are there any questions?"

Bambi looked at all of them like he was ready to take on anyone who stepped forward. No one made a move. He then stepped up alongside Bambi.

“Do not think you can wait until I go back to my forest to then try and hurt my friend’s family. I can be back here sooner than you think and like Bambi, I will show you no mercy. Remember this day. Are there any questions?” he repeated shouting at the top of his lungs.

Most deer looked at them and then the three still figures lying still in the woods. Already birds were starting to circle the bodies. No one said a word. He didn’t expect any discussion.

“Man is gone, but we will continue to use the meadow at night,” Bambi said. “This was all I wanted to say. I will call you all together again when it is necessary.”

With that the two of them walked back to the small clearing. Claris and the others followed silently behind.


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