Tobacco, sweat, and saltwater; a hint of citrus and coconut rum. The smell of the Keys was perhaps most familiar, most identifying. That statement, of course, would be unfair to creatures that called them home. Particularly, the tiny deer that inhabited the middle key of Big Pine. Come dawn or dusk, they were out in numbers, or at least what was considered numbers for them. Here they were generally safe from the larger critters that would hunt them two hundred miles north, primarily ancient reptiles and elusive cats of two varieties, one substantially endowed in the realm of tails and the other, not.
One of the key deer, a buck, emerged from a thicket of trees, gingerly stepping onto a quiet road. A nearby rooster scoffed at him. “Afraid! Always afraid! Deer deer, always afraid, always running!”, he mocked. His black tail feathers glistened green in rays of the setting sun, the same rays having bleached his brown hackles