Flash Fiction: Nature’s Way

thCAAP2ZZHAugust 2, 2013 — Driving home Monday night, I hit a raccoon. My tires made a horrible thumping sound as they met the masked creature, sending shock waves through my body.

Two of them crossed the dark wooded road timed perfectly to my arrival. I couldn’t avoid them without causing an accident with the vehicle behind me, or slamming into a tree. One went down, I noticed glancing into my rear view mirror as I kept driving, and the other circled the road in a panic.

Realizing the enormity of what I did, choosing to take a life over damaging my car, I drove along wondering why two traveled together. I felt bad for both, but more for the one that witnessed my crime and panicked. Had I destroyed a relationship, leaving one to ramble the woods aimlessly and alone for the rest of his or her life?

I didn’t do it on purpose, I pleaded with my conscience when it left me sleepless that night. My conscience answered it didn’t matter, that it would be less upset if I had hit a person because animals are innocent and humans are flawed.

The next morning, a few peaceful moments passed before I remembered what I did. I trudged through my routine sheathed in regret, and as I walked out the front door to drive to work, I knew I was caught. Two squirrels, one missing part of an ear, sat on my front step looking as enraged and intense as squirrels could manage. They didn’t scamper away when I passed as most squirrels would. They bravely stood pat, their fury tails still, and straight.

I walked to my car with my head hung low reasoning if they attacked me from behind, I deserved it. One scurried by me causing me to jump as he headed down the street, towards the woods and the scene of the crime. The other strutted beside me, and without fear, judged me as if to say it’s not about revenge, it’s about putting things right.

With a heavy heart, I left the squirrel behind and drove down the street towards the work crew chipping away at an old oak tree that uprooted during last week’s storm. They blocked off the street to finish the job, but I made it through before the last barricade was in place.

As a squirrel ran onto the road, I noticed it was the same one that greeted me only minutes before, the same one missing part of its ear. I hit the brakes in time to stop as the old tree began to descend my way, a surprise for both the workers and me. I took a deep breath knowing it would be my last as the crew shouted and ran for cover. I glanced back at the squirrel, frozen in the street, and realized I had nowhere to go.

 

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