She went into the woods looking for the deer.
In particular, a doe with a white fleck on its brow in the shape of a star.
It had appeared to her once during the summer while on a picnic with friends.
Though a fleeting glance, she could just make out the mark on its face before is fled into the trees.
But it wasn’t the doe that brought her back.
It was the watch.
That summer day she had her watch necklace on, an heirloom of her great grandmother, and quite suddenly, it had stopped.
No one could make it work again. Even the old clockmaker in town, who knew the inter-workings of a clock as well as he knew all his children and grandchildren, could not determine the cause.
“It seems,” he said in a steady but worn voice, “That the watch simply does not want to work anymore.”
“It doesn’t want to work? But a watch doesn’t have a mind or will,” she replied.
“Well, this watch seems to,” he said.
Despite no one being able to repair it, she kept it in her jewelry box on her dresser.
It was not until today that she had taken it out and discovered it was working again. Yet, it did not move like a clock, but like a compass. She had followed is directions back to the place of the picnic and into the forest.
She reached the pine woods when the watch stopped.
But she kept going.
The doe was out there, somewhere, she was quite sure. And it had something to do with the watch.
She heard the trampling of branches in the woods and swerved to see. Nothing moved in the woods. All was quiet, except the sound of birds in some distant tree top, arguing about when to fly for winter.
She wondered why the clock would lead her here, and then finally stop. Perhaps there was some magic in the air that hid the deer from sight.
Examining the clock again she found it the same as before. Stopped and silent.
Again, something was moving through the brush. The crackle of twigs and leaves snapping beyond a ridge of trees.
She pursued it, but soon the woods went silent again, and she heard nothing but the birds.
When nothing else had moved for a quarter of an hour, she decided that it was time she went back.
But she would be back, and she would find the doe.
She was sure of it.