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Oh, Deer!

Deer-people and pregnant fruit

By NICHOLAS WILSONPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 9 min read
'Blossoming Pear Tree', Claude Monet (1885)

The pears looked different that springtime. Like they were pregnant. I told my class their bellies were full of stories from underground, told through their roots. They all thought I was stupid but Miss Kandahar gave me an A.

When he was younger than me now, Henri stopped eating pear from the tree. He said it 'wasn't his turn', but he didn't stop me from eating them.

I always ate from the pear tree. I love pears, especially our ones, with their red, squishy bellies. They’re too juicy to eat inside and too soft to carry with you, so you've got to eat them up there, by the tree. Henri thinks I’m always ready to eat, so it makes no difference. It's not true, I actually just eat really quickly. I don’t mind though because I actually like when Henri says I have 'hollow legs'. Like I'm a big tractor that needs fuelling every few yards. Or a big monster that needs sacrifices, like Moloch the greedy goat king in the Bible.

My favourite spot to eat pears is under the tree, looking away from the house. You can see Red Lake and Yellow Lake from there and sometimes you can see Liv and Dolly Chatnaprandian in the backyard playing with their fat pigs. I like going to the tree in the late afternoon since I'm always hungry by then and its not too hot to run or too cold to swim in Yellow Lake (any later the sun disappears and, even though it gets longer sun, I don't like Red Lake as much). Yellow Lake isn't really called that but I call it that because if you swim down to the bottom really far out, you can scoop up yellow mud (you have to be careful not to get nipped by the mudcrabs) and throw it over the fence to the dogs. They always jump up to catch it and then start barking when they realise you tricked them!

Yellow Lake is really called East Lake or West Lake, but I'm not sure which one. I've seen it on a map before but I can't remember what it looked like. I wish I'd kept it. I burned it accidentally for a show-and-tell at school. I was gonna say that some pirates buried some gold and silver under the lake and I wanted it to look old. I took it to the Chatnaprandian’s bonfire and it turned all black and ashy before I could even put it out. Henri called me a pigs-head that day when he was trying to put it all back together. When I started crying though he said that he remembered it all anyway so it didn't even matter.

One day after school that Spring, I was walking home from the bus and saw something on the hill under the pear tree. It was getting on since I'd gone to chess practice after school, and the light was already a dark-orange, like roasted chestnuts. From the other side of the house, I could see someone jumping around under the pear tree. I remember I dropped my bag on the grass and my mouth was wide open. The thing under the pear tree looked like one of those Deer-people that used to live in the house. It was 10-feet tall and was jumping around like it had sat on a scorpion! Henri told me one day the Deer-people were gonna come back to find whoever had been eating their pears…

My legs were shaking, really, really bad and I thought my knees were gonna snap backwards like the Deer-persons, which scared me even more. I left my bag somewhere in the long grass and ran to the kitchen window. I climbed in that way, since the front door was facing the pear tree and I didn't want the Deer-person to see me, particularly because I'd eaten a pear just that morning. I crawled through the kitchen all the way to Henri's room and saw a bunch of pictures all over the ground. They were drawings and they were so scary that I had to cover my eyes. They were all done in crayons and the papers were crumpled because of how strong the Deer-person must have been. I knew it was the Deer-person's as soon as I saw it. I still remember one was a big wheel with all kinds of letters and big red feet and hands on either side. The toes and fingertips looked like the pregnant pears on the pear tree - so swollen that an ingrown nail would've popped them right open!

In Henri's room, you can pull back a plastic flap on the wall to look out at the garden. I tried this, but I couldn't see all the way up the hill, so I ran around to the kitchen and looked out the window. I remember my jaw dropped practically against the floor when I saw Henri walking on up the hill. I didn't know what to do! Maybe the Deer-person would let him go because he doesn’t eat his pears. Oh gosh, Henri used to eat the pears when he was little! But maybe enough time had passed…one thing was for sure, if I went up there, the Deer-person would slice open my belly like one of his pears.

I thought about running to the Chatnaprandian's but remembered that they were staying at the river, which was like a million kilometres away. I knew I had to do something, because otherwise I would spend all night alone. My foot began to tingle like it had been stung from the inside by millions of bees so I must have been sitting there a while.

BANG! Something dropped in Henri's room. I rushed for the front door. I wasn't sure whether I was more scared of being outside or inside. Up the hill, I couldn't see anyone. No Deer-person, no Henri, just the pear tree. It seemed safe enough, plus no lights were on inside and it was getting dark, so I started running. I grabbed a rock on the way and it didn't even slow me down, I was so scared. If I'd had more time I would've grabbed my slingshot but it was under my bed and my room is all the way at the back of the house, even further than Henri's!

As I ran, the sun was setting, so it felt like we were switching posts. Only a little sunlight still shone on the pear tree. By the time I got halfway up the hill, just one pear was lit up by the sun. It looked like it was ready to explode, but it was hanging on since it needed to save enough sun to keep the tree alive until the next morning.

I couldn't hear anything except for the kingfishers and the crickets. Henri says, at sunset, the crickets go to work and we go home. I always feel bad for them, since they don't get to play during the day.

Near the top of the hill, there's a big rock you can kind of hide under. You've got to be careful not to touch it though because it's covered in poison moss. Up there, I sat and listened to the crickets. I wanted to yell to Henri, but my throat wouldn't let me. After a while, I could hear something. It sounded like drumming. It was close but also far away. I was way too scared to sit up and look, so I just closed my eyes and started crying because I pictured the Deer-person galloping around the tree.

I opened my eyes just a crack because I heard a splash and some rustling in the grass next to me. A pear had landed and splattered all over a rock! It was so pregnant that it dotted my socks with dark-grey patches and made my knee all sticky! I had a feeling it was the pear that swallowed up all the afternoon sun since it was so full of yellowy-juice.

I began shaking even though I wasn't cold and the music got louder and louder. My nails began to turn white at the tips because I was holding the rock so tight and the ground pounded along with the music. The Deer-person was dancing! I started crying again and pictured the Deer-person leaping around Henri, who was spinning on the wheel from the drawings. He spun so quickly that I felt sick and the blood stopped flowing to my head.

All of a sudden, the music stopped, the crickets stopped, the galloping stopped and all I could hear was ringing. I stopped crying and the rock slipped from my hand. Even my breathing stopped. I could hear someone calling my name, but it sounded like the voice came from inside me.

'Jamie! Jamie! Jamie!' The voice was muffled, like the person yelling it was standing in a room covered in fluffy velvet.

My eyes got all blurry, and I could only see enough to make out a figure moving towards me. It picked me up and as it lifted me, I fell asleep.


'Jamie! Jamie, are you OK?'

Everything became a little clearer, like focusing a camera, and I made out the face above me as Henri's. I leaped up and hugged him.

'You're OK!'

I started sobbing and yelling that we needed to leave because the Deer-people were back and that Henri shouldn't have let me eat all those pears!

He was talking to me but I couldn't really hear him. The next thing I remember, I was sitting at the kitchen table with the big blanket around my shoulders, while Henri made us some dahl. Turns out it was Henri dancing under the pear tree.

'Yeah, I wanted to surprise you... I got the radio from the shed fixed up and I knew you'd be heading up to the pear tree after school'.

I told him to never surprise me again and he promised he wouldn't, but I’m not sure I believe him. We sat and listened to the cricket on the radio and he told me that tomorrow after school he would eat a pear in front of me to prove that the Dear-people weren't real.

'But what about the drawings?'

'You like them? I was designing the logo for the band we're gonna start now that we're rockstars. Plus, I've figured out our name: "smashing pears!"... get it?'

Short Story

About the Creator


Please someone listen to me. It's very important.

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