Our eyes locked, and a brief second lasted a few minutes.
The gaze drove my heart to pump harder and revved up the adrenaline shooting through my body.
The beast stared me down, my eyes fixed back on it. Light flickered through the trees on the back roads of Louisiana, but I could still discern a sadistic grin forming on my adversary.
It welcomed me to its turf, the Kisatchie National Forest, daring me to continue on my journey.
My mind flashed back to previous encounters with such a beast, and my hands clinched the steering wheel even tighter.
Moseying about, minding my own business, I commuted to my first reporting job a few years ago in East Texas only to be blindsided by a deer that darted from nowhere. With a thud it nailed my car, and with a girlish squeal I swerved out of sheer fear and pure shock.
Only a few miles from where I drove a few days ago, I fell victim to yet another deer attack.
Returning from a basketball game, I popped over a hill blindly. Appearing in the light of my high beams, a deer stood planted in the middle of the road.
Basketball vanished from my thoughts and the familiar terror again welled up inside me. I found myself in need of making a snap decision. Should I slam on my brakes and hope the beast moves or cut sharply around the deer and hope no traffic is coming from behind the hill ahead of me?
I hit the brakes and the deer dedicated itself to playing a game of chicken. The deer lost, as did my car.
Only a few days ago, I again stared at my mortal enemy n the deer.
Knowing the fates of its relatives, it mocked me from the side of the road, awaiting vengeance.
Calling me into its lair, it held its ground threatening to make a run for me, but instead chose to startle me by its mere presence and cold gaze.
Zipping past the deer seconds after first encountering it, I also zipped past my turn unknowingly, falling for the deer's tactics.
Meandering deeper into the heart of Kisatchie, I developed empathy for those who have been lost in the Bermuda Triangle.
Breaking from the spell of the deer, I realized that I missed my turn, but only after traveling well beyond where I should have been.
I survived that encounter with the evil deer, but I know many more chapters of this life-long saga lay ahead.
My mind and my previous car bare the scars of doing battle with deer, and I know more scars could have been inflicted if the deer chose to do so.
But, some things are worth the risk.
And I consider a 10-hour trek back home to Louisiana to see friends one of those. No deer or any other wild beast will deter a trip to see friends.
Greg Gelpi covers education for the News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753 Ext. 247 or firstname.lastname@example.org