We found our buck sailing on the edge of the forest. The sun was gone, and the birds were up to roost. He drifted in silence through webs of deep grass like a boat in the twilight, stirring up a bow wave of moths and froth which glittered around him like spray. He was in his element; foxgloves bowed, and the grass lapped against him.

His evening dreams smelled of myrtle and asphodel and we closed the gap until seventy yards lay between us. Then a bullet slipped through that warm blur of midges and pollen to strike him amidships. He rushed for one taut moment, confused by the damage and unsure. Then he sank into the long grass and it closed above him with a swirl like water.

An owl tacked into the wind and passed away over the hill.

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