Tel A’Har called a halt when they came to the edge of the meadow. They had moved cautiously but swiftly through the long grass, as the meadow was large, open and exposed compared to the woodland that preceded it. The crossing had been a terrifying experience, despite the shrouding provided by early morning mist and the long grass. The summer migration was at least better than the winter one, when the grass was much shorter and the monsters hungrier.

Before Tel A’Har stretched the worst part of the journey. It was a smaller crossing than the meadow, but it was so much more exposed. There was nothing to hide behind, under or inside on its unnaturally regular stone-like surface. This was the trail left by the speed-monsters. No-one had ever actually seen one and lived to tell because they moved so fast and were so fearsome. On the occasion a young, brave buck managed to see one and survive, their thunderous roar and hot stench left nightmarish and fragmented memories.

Still, they had to reach the other side, and scouts had never found a way around the trail. Tel A’Har sat up on his haunches and scented the air thoroughly. It smelled safe, so he gave the signal and the small group cautiously stepped onto the hard, black surface.

5 thoughts on “Migration”

  1. Really enjoyed the slow watership down realisation – starts so sci-fi-ish and slowly becomes clear. Great choice of name – at once fitting and misleading.

    Had a bit of a problem with these two sentences contradicting each other: ‘No-one had ever actually seen one and lived’ and ‘a young, brave buck managed to see one and survive’.

    Otherwise love the slow reveal and dangerous exciting world you outline. Especially liked the last paragraph with he first distinctly animal ideas and a string sense of forth-right , honest braveness.

  2. Agree with ES – I liked the gentle duncton wood vibes and the slow reveal of who the characters are, and was pleased with the name – exotic but fitting. I thought the two sentences dealing with “crossing” and “exposed” were too similiar to each other (the ones in the first and second paragraphs).

    I had a similar concern as ES regarding the deadlyness of the cars – I would expect the deer to see them from afar from time to time so no one having lived to tell the tale seemed odd.

    Oh, I forgot: this is a story about a herd of deer migrating. Part of their route involves crossing a road – something they don’t understand and are horrified of.


      1. Oh dear! Not a deer… I did think they had to be small to hide in the grass, but the “buck” confounded me! My bad :)

  3. Thanks for the comments. I did mean rabbit, but the story works for deer too :-)

    I see the contradiction in the sentences about seeing the monsters – I should make the first one something like “No-one had ever actually seen one and been able to describe it… “

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