Avalyn had never been so still in her life.
Every muscle in her body was clenched tight, and she didn't dare breathe. The branch beneath her was slowly dipping lower due to her constant weight, but she banished every thought in her mind except one.
I can't miss this shot.
The albino deer in the field below moved with trepidation, eventually lowering its head to graze the grass. It's white coat spotted with the occasional red-brown shimmered under the noon sun. The only sound was the rustle of the wind. It was the most beautiful and serene moment Avalyn had ever experienced.
The deer raised its head in alarm as Avalyn lowered her camera. Now she would hold this moment forever. She smiled to herself as she settled into the tree, stealing a few more moments without her camera this time. There had been reports of a rare sighting of an albino deer for the past couple of months, but no one had been capable of snagging a picture of the elusive creature.
Avalyn had packed her camera gear and set out to the last reported place it had been seen. Eight hours of hiking the woods had led her here. She studied the creature, wondering at its innocence and naivety, and how it still managed to survive the elements even when everyone wanted to cage and study it simply because it was different.
It was rare and beautiful, so naturally, men wanted to hang it on their walls and women wanted to splash it all across social media. Here, in this moment, Avalyn wanted a picture for her wall...for posterity. She didn't want to tarnish this memory by allowing the world to mark it up. The creature deserved to be remembered honorably, but sadly, it lived in a world that put a story on a pedestal and quickly forgot it 24 hours later.
A low buzz jolted Avalyn out of her reverie. She frowned at her pocket; she had put her phone on silent for the day. When she looked up again, the deer was staring straight at her. She sighed as the phone continued to buzz, so she finally gives in. The magical moment is gone.
She had over forty missed calls and texts. Twenty of them from her best friend, asking her if she's still alive.
"Avalyn? Avalyn!" Lily shouted. She winced at the intrusive sound coming through her phone. "Thank God, I was afraid you'd fallen on a rock or something."
Avalyn sighed, watching the deer run off. Lily was overprotective at best. "Lily, you act as if I haven't spent a day in the woods before."
"And you act as if there isn't a killer on the loose."
"Don't be so dramatic. You don't know if anyone has died." Avalyn swung her legs over the branch, preparing to jump to the one beneath it.
"Dramatic? People are going missing, and you're just c'est la vie like it can't happen to you."
"I'm not pulling a "c'est la vie" as you put it, so relax. I just needed to do this, Lily."
There was a pause on the other end. "You needed to risk your life for a picture?"
Avalyn rolled her eyes as she finally landed on the ground. "Believe it or not, these woods are safe and I can take care of myself. It's not just a picture, it's a moment, and I'm glad I captured it for my wall."
She can just picture her friend pacing in her room with worry, and she feels bad for causing her the distress.
Lily breathed out a long sigh. "Fine ok, I get it. When are you coming back? Some photography guy is looking for you."
"What? Why on earth didn't you lead with that, Lily?!"
"Sorry! He's been here a while, and really wants to meet you. I'm surprised he hasn't ditched yet."
Avalyn shoved her equipment into her bag and tripped over herself trying to leave the field. "I'm on my way, do not let him leave!"