Will follows the feathered stag. He knows that this is not safe, this is not wise. He knows the stag isn't real.
But it steps out of the woods, and looks at him and then turns as if to run but doesn't and he knows it is waiting for him. He knows it wants him to follow. So he does.
He doesn't put on shoes. He does close the door.
It runs when he steps off the porch, but stops again when it's almost out of sight. They continue like this, the stag running and then stopping to watch Will as he steps barefoot over the carpet of twigs and pine needles. Distantly he is aware that his feet are bleeding, but that doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is the stag's endless eyes.
He and the stag are not alone. Garrett Jacob Hobbs steps out from behind a tree and walks with Will for a time. Georgia Madchen reaches out and runs her fingers over Will's face. He reaches up to touch her fingers and comes away with a palm full of ashes.
There's a boy, standing in the trees. Will doesn't recognize him and the strangeness of this is almost enough, but then the stag runs again and Will has to follow.