Hoof Prints

On the drive to my new home, I realized that somewhere along the way I lost a button. It wasn’t a jacket button. I would have noticed that earlier, when the wind was stronger and we were packing the boxes into the car. No, it was a button that I found out in the woods one day. It was small, wooden, and had several nicks in it. I sewed the button into the shoulder of my jacket once I found it. My mom always says I’m a bit of a goblin, always picking up and collecting everything I can find.

“Honey, are you okay back there? You’ve gotten a little quiet.” My mom didn’t know about this button specifically, but she quickly realized I was upset by something.

“I’m okay, just thinking about things.”

“You missing the old place already?”

“Sort of, but I’ll be okay. I swear.” I answered her as honestly as I knew how to. I didn’t know how to explain to her about how it all was connected together.

“I know you will be, but you can always talk with me.” She reached back into the rear seat and ruffled my hair. She had become an expert at reaching back. When I was younger I would always have her keep her hand on my cheek while she was driving.

We were moving to the far side of town, far away from everyone I knew. I could no longer walk to Matt’s house down the street anymore. And it wasn’t even really in town either. It was in a new development that they were building after cutting into some woodlands that had been there longer than the town.

“Honey, I know it’s new, but the place will be better for you. The school in that neighborhood is really good. It’s even safer. And I’m sure you’ll find some other kids who will love to be your friend.” She sounded sincere, but it still felt distant to me.

A month later I found the button again. I woke up to the sound of my bedroom door closing. It took me a while to sit up and wake up, but on the bedside table was that button, just sitting there. I rubbed my eyes and looked again, and it was still there.

I pulled off my blanket and slung my legs off the side. I looked down and saw a path of light blue glimmering hoofprints coming from my door to my bedside table, and then back to my door. Besides the moonlight, the glimmer of the hoofprints was the only thing lighting up my room. I grabbed the button and put it in the pocket of my pajama pants.

The wood creaked as I stumbled out of bed. I rubbed my eyes, and then started to follow the tracks. I peeked out through the crack in the doorway. The hallway was lit only by the glimmering hoofprints going down towards the steps leading downstairs. I rubbed the button in my pocket and opened the door slowly.

It creaked open, and then I tiptoed into the hallway. Sneaking past my mom’s room, I heard a noise downstairs. It sounded like it was in the kitchen. Maybe something clicking against the tiles.

While slinking down the stairs, I could see a brighter blue light glow from the kitchen. The angle was still not good enough to see what was causing it but I knew I had to see it. I had to know what was in my room, what brought back my button. I still had to slip past the living room in order to see it, but in my excitement I started to move more quickly.

I knocked over a box we still hadn’t unpacked. As it crashed to the ground I looked up and finally saw it. It was staring at me, startled by the sound. Standing in the kitchen was the washed out outline of a glimmering and glowing blue stag. It stood just a few inches taller than me, maybe as tall as my uncle. It’s pure white eyes stared into mine and I knew that it was safe, but still, I was startled by the sight. As I finally looked away from its eyes I followed its antlers up and realized they extended throughout the whole room, branching and splitting like the boughs of a tree. They crisscrossed each other, sharing the same space as each other. As it tilted its head I could see them pass through the walls and countertops.

“Honey, are you down there?” My mom yelled down from the top of the stairs.

I turned quickly to shout back up to here, “I’m fine mom, was just getting a glass of water!”

Before I could turn back, I saw the blue light dim and disappear. It must have run off. I filled a glass of water and went back up stairs.

“Be more careful. You scared me, I thought there was someone in the house.”

“I’m sorry, I’ll try to be quieter.”

I haven’t seen it since that night, but whenever I lose something, I seem to find it again within a week. I don’t know if it’s the stag, but it makes me feel good to think that it is.

I convinced my mom to plant some trees in the backyard. Just a few saplings of ash. She didn’t understand at first, but thought it would be a good way for me to make a mark on my new home.

It’s small, but I hope it helps the stag feel at home again.

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2 thoughts on “Hoof Prints

  1. Yes love the spooky! Forest spirits are a blessing and I only hope to meet one. Maybe we all have met a nature spirit at some point, returning our lost items.


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