The Deer's Antlers

Some creative writing homework I did during my GCSEs.

The Deer's Antlers

Reaching into the archive I found some creative writing I wrote for my GCSE[1] (I think) English homework over 15 years ago.  The brief was to write a short story that built suspense and intrigue - hopefully you feel this meets those criteria!  Parts were co-written with my Dad, who helped me with my English Language and English Literature studies.  Turns out my original notes for this story aren't complete, so I've filled in where necessary.

A shorter post than my usual offerings, normal service to be resumed next week.

It was Thursday night, I walked into the local pub noting the crackling fire giving a cosy warmth to the Tudor beams.  My drink ordered, I sat down at the bar next to a shabbily dressed man, he'd clearly been hiking through the nearby woods - a long trek.  A large scar adorned his face, clearly once a painful injury.  The man looked up at the deer's head on the wall.

"I bagged that one!" he said, nodding at the wall.

I looked up and saw the deer, preserved forever, its beady eyes right into my soul.  Intrigued, I and the barman looked at him.  The man seemed pleased to share his tale, and continued.

"I could see this deer in the distance.  I had my shotgun with me, heavy in my hands.  The deer was just sitting there, as still as a rock, its eyes looking straight into mine, unblinking.  I ran towards it, getting faster and faster, but the deer remained still - not a care in the world.  I had a clear line of fire."

I noted the man's empty glass.  The bartender did too, as interested as I was and keen for the man to continue his story.

"Have another pint, on the house." said our host, handing the man a lager, beckoning for our friend to continue.

"Cheers.  As I was saying," he said, taking a sip, "I had a clear line of fire and got closer and closer.  My shotgun glistened in the sunlight, having not seen action for many years.  There was a loud bang and I put the shotgun down.  Grabbing the deer's head by its antlers, the head came away.  I sold it the year after that, it spooked my children."

The man finished his pint, got up from his bar stool and grabbed his coat.

"Oh, by the way, for a boot fair that was a good bargain.  I had never used the shotgun anyway, just inherited it from my Grandfather who used to be a farmer nearby.  Was surprised the stall holder accepted the trade to be honest."

Winking at us, he made his way to the door.  Halfway through he turned back and noticed our stunned faces as our imaginations were wrenched back from dreams of a big game hunter in pursuit of their prey.  Our eyes drifted to his scarred face.

"The scar?  Someone dropped a box behind me at the boot fair, made a tremendous bang, must have been heavy.  I jumped at the sudden loud noise and caught my face on the antlers."

The man left, leaving me and the bartender to our stunned silence.  Moments later he popped his head back in.

"Thanks for the drinks guys, that story gets 'em every time!"

Banner image: Deer "clip art" from

[1] General Certificate of Secondary Education, an exam in England generally taken at age 16.