Flash Fiction Challenge: The Strangest Adoption

Photo by K. S. Brooks

They had found him in the undergrowth, probably just where his mother had told him to stay. She did not ever return for him.

“Something must have happened to her. Maybe wolves – or hunters,” Tom said.

“Poor deer. We can’t just leave him here. Something will come along and eat him for certain,” said Henrietta.

Tom gave an indignant gobble. “What are we to do about it?”

“Let’s just see if he’ll come along with us,” she answered.

The little fawn followed Tom and Henrietta all day. Tom didn’t like it one bit. The fawn was clumsy and made too much noise. He was sure to attract trouble. Even so, it was clear Henrietta’s mind was made up.

In 250 words or less, tell us a story incorporating the elements in the picture. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

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8 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: The Strangest Adoption”

  1. Henrietta’s mind was made up. So as usual Tom relented to his wife. He had learnt long ago not to argue with her. Tom worried that the youngster was going to get them all killed. Didn’t his mother teach him how to blend in? Tom just wished Henrietta would stop taking in strays. She was heart broken when their last adopted chick left them. Tom was so deep in thought that he didn’t hear the rustling in the tall grass. The fawn let out a warning bleak. They all dropped down in the grass and waited. If luck was with them the Hunter hadn’t seen them. But then they heard the hound baying. They knew the hound’s nose would lead the hunter right to them. Sure enough the hound came right to them. Tom started to take flight. But then he heard a familiar voice. “Pop, Mom…that you?” “Son” Henrietta greeted their adoptive hound dog. “Good to see you again.” The hound dog said “I will lead the hunter away.” The hound took off running and baying. Henrietta gave Tom a knowing look. Tom rolled his eyes. He will never hear the end of it.

  2. Henrietta was not the best at flying, her recent encounter with a BB from a hunters shotgun had left her able to fly only short distances and then only from an elevated perch. The fire was closing on their position quickly and without regard to beast or foul. Tom gobbled at the fawn, “You must run, your mother would not want you to remain here.” Tom flew into the sky to get a turkey’s eye view of his surroundings. He returned with a gobble, “Just as I remember, the river is just ahead, but we must hurry, we don’t have much time. Henrietta ran as fast as she could, occasionally awkwardly leaping into the air only to remain airborne a few seconds. With so much dry underbrush for fuel the fire was gaining on the threesome. The underbrush was also impeding her movement. Now with the heat of the fire lapping at Henrietta the fawn took hold of her neck and with a flip tossed her onto his back. Henrietta wrapped her wings around Fawn’s neck and fawn bounded over the underbrush with ease. Tom was watching from above as fawn gave a leap into the fast moving river. The roar of the water increased as Fawn swam as fast as he could, but from Tom’s point of view He knew Fawn wasn’t going to make it. He swooped down with his huge wings spread wide and told Henrietta to hang on as he pulled them both to safety.

  3. “Lookie here!”

    The human voice came from the bushes. Henrietta looked over at Tom, who had also stopped walking.

    “I told you that dumb deer was going to get us killed!” Tom grumbled.

    “Shhhh, it’s okay, little guy. Just keep still and quiet,” she whispered to the fawn in a motherly tone.

    “What? Whaddaya see, Cletus?”

    “Two turkeys and a baby deer! That’s like surf and turf, with turkey instead of surf and deer instead of steak!”

    “Wouldn’t baby deer be like eatin’ veal? That don’t sound right. Maybe it’s eel?”

    “You moron, if it was eel, then it’d be surf and turf. So it cain’t be eel. Now shut up whiles I figure out how to catch ‘em all.”

    “Ketch ‘em? Why’s don’t we jes’ shoot ‘em?”

    “Ammo’s expensive. These animals look slow, maybe even mintilly-challenged ‘er somethin’. I bet we can trap ‘em, then kill ‘em, and never fire a shot.”

    Tom and Henrietta exchanged wide-eyed glances. “Mintilly-challenged?” he repeated under his breath.

    “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” She nearly smiled.

    “That those two couldn’t catch herpes in a whorehouse?”

    Henrietta’s jaw dropped. “Why Tom Turkey, you watch your beak! There’s a young one here!”

    Tom winked at Henrietta. “You and hoof-brain don’t move. I’ll be right back.” He took flight.

    A branch cracked, followed by high-pitched shrieking and loud buzzing. Tom returned, somewhat out of breath.

    “What’d you do?” Henrietta asked.

    “There was a hornets’ nest right over them.”

    “Oh goodie!” she gobbled gleefully. “Little deer, we’re having meat for dinner! Yum!”

  4. The hen wove her way through grasses to where brush edged the meadow. Her drab brown and grey feathers blended with dry grass and slender branches. Beneath the brush lay a shallow nest scraped from earth and lined with leaves. Twelve broken eggs lay in the nest, licked clean.

    Fawn followed hen, the tom following the fawn, the birds moving with a grace that belied their size. The fawn’s sharp hooves struck an occasional crack from a dry twig. After a moment, the hen sat at the nest, not on brittle wetness but near. The tom moved away, circling nest and brush in a widening gyre. Settling to the ground beside the hen, the fawn placed its head close to her feathers, their similar hues camouflaging the animals.

    Light faded from sky and from mind as animals slipped to sleep. At dawn the fawn was gone, drawn to water beyond the trees. The hen followed the gobbler in a slow, upright walk that transformed to a crouching run. They burst into flight that segued to a long downhill glide as a coyote threaded trees toward the birds.

    Birds forgot fawn. Fawn, already half in shadow, faced the hungry sun. Coyote, indecisive, instinctively seeking an easy meal, followed the shoulder of the hill, feet crackling on eggshells in the morning silence.

  5. Farah Fawn followed her feathery friends all day. She saw no real reason for doing it but had nothing better to do. Henrietta’s feathers glistened in the glow of the sunlight and made Farah think of silk. Henrietta and Tom had adopted the teeny toddling thing when they found her all alone on a meadow meandering and muttering to herself.
    They spoke not a word, for their languages were so different; it was not an option. Suddenly, Farah stopped and so Henrietta and Tom also came to a hampering halt. They had to hurry home, just what was this fawn thinking? Nothing, most likely, tittered Tom. Farah rooted through a pile of acorns, beech nuts, and other plant foliage. Tom thought she had gone crazy. Henrietta realized that their winter had just become a whole lot better; Farah had found a fabulous stash of food including snails, slugs and slimy worms to munch on! Delighted, Henrietta tooted and told Tom to stop tittering.
    They ate in silence, Farah standing near them, watching in still teenage contemplation, satisfied about the gift she could present her feathered friends with. Munching on some herbage, Farah dreamed with open eyes about her heritage when suddenly the mightiest hart ever ran onto the clearing. Farah recognized her father immediately. Without hesitation, hart and fawn leapt away, leaving astonished Henrietta and Tom behind in bewilderment.

  6. After about an hour, Tom turned to Henrietta and said “This is ridiculous.”

    Taking a strip of leather from his pocket, he tied the fawn to a nearby tree.

    “And that’s that.” He said with finality. “Let’s get moving.”

    Tom started traipsing away, much more quietly now, amid the undergrowth. Henrietta took one look back at the sweet fawn and turned to follow Tom.

    After about an hour of walking, they heard a noise ahead of them. Peering out from behind some brambles, they saw … the little fawn. Still tied to a tree.

    “What the heck?” Tom said, standing up. “We can’t have gone around in a circle…can we?”

    Henrietta went up and petted the fawn. It was the same one.

    Tom got out his compass. “C’mon!” and started out in a different direction. Henrietta struggled to keep up with him.

    They moved in a straight line and within a half-hour, they came upon the same tree, and the same fawn.

    “This is impossible.” Tom said.

    “I think we should untie him and take him along,” Henrietta remarked.

    “No way.” Tom told her. “Leave him. We’ve got things to do.”

    Tom turned and started walking away. Henrietta heard a growling voice behind them.

    “You had your chance to do what’s right.” The fawn’s eyes glowed fiery red. It started growing, transforming itself into something horrible…something demonic.

    Tom and Henrietta stared, slackjawed in fear and amazement. The undergrowth started smoking under the “fawn’s” taloned feet.

    “You failed the final test.”

  7. They had stopped talking about raising their own chicks before the incident that allowed them to break free of the farm. Tom was set on survival now and didn’t want to upset the balance. He didn’t think Henrietta would survive being penned up again.

    Henrietta took to the fawn like it was a chick of her own. At times she would steady it as he stumbled over the rough terrain. She found it surprising that it was so unsteady on four legs. Still Tom pushed them on.

    “Just a bit more, Precious,” Henrietta said to the fawn.

    “I can’t believe you named it,” Tom said. “We will never be able to let it go now.”

    “Oh pish,” she said. “It’s just a baby. How can you not love it?”

    “First off, I wouldn’t have named it,” he stopped. There was a scent in the air, something new but not unfamiliar.

    “What did you…” Henrietta started to ask, but Tom cut her off. He flapped a wing at her, pointing off to the side with his other one.

    It was too late, the blast from the shot gun hit her full on in the chest. Henrietta dropped before his eyes, dead. A second blast hit him as well. The last thing he saw was the fawn scampering off into the woods.

  8. Perri pounced on the snake as it struck, snapping its neck with his hooves before anyone else could react. His feet smashed the serpent until bloody pulp littered the forest floor. No doubt another carnivore would soon take advantage. An odd thrill raced through Perri’s limbs. It felt good to protect his family.

    “Oh dear! Oh dear!” said, Henrietta, his adoptive mother. Her panicked squawks rose in pitch as she ran in circles.

    Tom’s big red waddle trembled like Jell-O. He stood rooted to the ground, every feather on his body fluffed out. The snake’s head lay at his feet, its deadly fangs millimeters away. Perri stopped Henrietta and nuzzled her until she calmed.

    “Papa, snap out of it,” said Perri. He gave Tom a nudge. The big turkey nearly fell over.

    Tom closed his beak and backed away from the snake. “I’m alive,” he whispered. Then his voice rose in volume. “Dammed good thing I insisted on taking you in after your mama died. Henrietta would have left you shivering in that clearing for sure.”

    An indignant squawk escaped Henrietta’s beak. Perri rolled his eyes. Nothing like a near death experience to alter memory. Tom constantly reminded Perri what a burden he had been as a clumsy young fawn. Henrietta had been the one who had insisted on caring for Perri. Even so, both turkeys had raised him, kept him safe from danger. They made a strange family, but a family none the less.

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