Sitting at his laptop to do his pre-season reconnaissance as he called it, he reviewed the recordings from the an-cam to see if it warranted a return to that overgrown cellar hole to erect his tree stand before bow season began next week.
This clearing was especially attractive to deer because of a gnarled apple tree, the only surviving witness to the time when a family would have occupied a house that would have stood where now there was a barely perceptible depression that held fifty-foot maples.
Though tumbled stonewalls provided ample evidence that all these wooded acres had once been fields and farmsteads, the wildness of the treed land made it hard to imagine, but thinking back to that overgrown cellar hole surrounded by thick brush and swamp on one side and steep ledge on the other, it was somehow easy to imagine that that particular farm would have been isolated and poor even back in its heyday.
Looking through the images from the an-cam he knew the trek in to that spot had been worth it; the motion sensor had been activated by a doe and her fawn and then another, and finally an enormous ten-pointer.
He sat up, intent on the screen, curious as to why the deer suddenly froze, then leapt away into the woods and out of camera range; he shivered involuntarily, knowing for certain only that he would not be hunting in that area.
Forever afterwards he would try to reconcile the presence of a little girl in an old-fashioned dress and thick leather shoes in the middle of the woods in the middle of the night, a little girl who smiled right at the an-cam before vanishing far more abruptly than the deer had.