Forum: Arts / Fiction

Roadkill -- personal narrative, PLEASE critique
By loonycakes
On Fri Aug 31, 2007 06:49 PM

Roadkill is something that we see every day. Sometimes we’re just observers, who hardly notice that little lump on the side of the road as we speed past it, our minds on other, more important things. Sometimes, we’re the aggressors, who don’t have enough time or concern to slow down, and just hit the little creatures like they’re speed bumps. But, in general, no one cares. I mean, after all, it’s just roadkill, right?

Not to me. I was 6 years old, barely tall enough to ride the roller coasters at King’s Island, obsessed with all things Disney, and in general your average little girl. I cried at The Fox and The Hound, I could recite The Little Mermaid by heart, and I was a different Disney princess every year for Halloween. But my favorite movie by far was Bambi. Living almost totally surrounded by forest (which, though not very thick, was to my young mind an untamed wilderness), I had a lot of affection for all the wild animals. Every deer was Bambi or Faline, every bunny Thumper. Thankfully, I didn’t meet any Flowers. I was quite the little nature-lover.
And then it happened. I walked outside, basking in the cool morning air. The sun was up, but hidden behind the thickly forested green hill across the road. It cast a dim light over the entire valley – dawn reenacted at 8:45. I could hear a low rumble from my porch, and I took off down the steps, my backpack bouncing cheerfully against my back. I reached the bottom of the hill exactly as the long sunshine-yellow bus shuddered to a stop in front of my driveway. My timing was so perfect that as soon as my feet hit the end of the slope, where the driveway ended and the road began, I only had to look both ways and cross. Maybe that’s why I didn’t notice it at first.

I took off across the road, walking quickly, head down, counting my steps. Same old worn black asphalt, same old cracked and peeling yellow paint. And then something new. Uh oh. Oh no. Oh no. My baby doll blue eyes met suddenly with empty amber ones. Cold and glazed over, they stared up at me, and I felt bile rise in my throat suddenly. Its grey fur was matted with blood, flattened with an impression the perfect size of a tire track in the middle of its body. I blinked, trying to find the strength to tear my eyes away from its own, but in vain. Hollow, fearful, frozen forever in that panicked, helpless look. I realized suddenly I’d been holding my breath. But with my first inhalation the sickeningly sweet smell of death hit my nostrils, and once more I had to fight back the acid rising in my throat. I wrenched my eyes from the sight and ran the rest of the way across the street, clambering onto the bus hurriedly. I slid into the first empty seat, my face white and my heart thudding wildly. I closed my eyes rather than look out the window and chance seeing those eyes again, but they were in my head and wouldn’t get out. Because Thumper’s heart wasn’t thumping anymore. There was a dead rabbit in the middle of the road.

Ten years later, I still can’t stand the sight of roadkill. When we pass it on the road, I close my eyes before we get too close. I prefer it when I can’t really tell what it is, and the animal is just splattered. Just blood and bones on the side of the road. But the worst kind of roadkill is the kind where I can still tell exactly what kind of animal it is. When I can tell that that’s Bambi lying there on the side of the road, with his ribcage crushed and his guts on the side of the highway, my heart suddenly feels like a stone dropped in my chest, my windpipe tightens so that I’m choking on my own emotion, and the familiar sting splashes up in my throat. But what affects me even more than any of those sensations is the memory of that rabbit’s eyes in the middle of the road. That’s why I like the animals
splattered. No eyes involved. Just the basics, blood and bones. That way, I don’t have to face what it really is. Just like the dead rabbit in the road in front of my house. Roadkill.

1 Replies to Roadkill -- personal narrative, PLEASE critique

re: Roadkill -- personal narrative, PLEASE critique
By schuhplattlerPremium member
On Tue Sep 11, 2007 06:22 PM
I like it, but I can't tell you where to market anything that short.

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