The idea of vampire deer. The image of a grown man staring at the stars with his hands “pleated” over his eyes. Timothy’s phrase, “they’re lost in the headlights of your gaze.” These are the things that stayed with me after I read “Vampire Deer on Jekyll Island.” For me, the background, the failing relationship—those things, for good or for bad, barely registered. Mark’s story spoke to me about the ways in which we see the world, or in other words, the way in which we imbue the world with life.
Timothy and Courtney are both dealing with a failing relationship. Courtney drinks. Timothy, on the other hand, escapes into the world of imagination.
He maps his fancy onto everything. It’s not that the dumb deer have acclimated to humans, but that they are “caught in the headlights of [Courtney’s] gaze.” And those deer are not simply cud-chewing cervids, but lupine bloodsuckers, “vampire deer.” You can argue that his whole game of pretend is simply a gambit to get Courtney’s attention. He begins talking about the deer as “wolves” to make conversation with her, to back up his contention that Jekyll Island is “creepy.” But the very nature of the conversation suggests a particular way of relating to reality. He is not content to simply accept the world as he’s been told it is. His mind is active and creative and whimsical. He’s not prepared to accept a deer as a deer, just as he’s not prepared to admit “defeat” at the story’s end.| | | Next → |