You made a crazed sprint, your body no more than a tiny brown and white blur. Four fuzzy feet barely brushed the ground before you were in the air again, your body reaching as far as you could. The median, safety, but you didn’t stop, charged ahead. I don’t know if you saw the car.
I watched you. You were under the cabin, still on your feet, and then you were tumbling round and round as fast as the wheels spun. You were still alive as I passed you, your broken body struggling in the light of the streetlamp. Your long ears twitched, your tiny legs kicked at the air and the ground. I slowed and turned the wheel until my tires ground against the curb. I didn’t want to run over you. I didn’t want to touch you. I pulled my white sedan to the stoplight and stared at the back of the white SUV, pale horses.
Maybe you recovered. Maybe there was a small chance that you hadn’t gone under the wheels, that you were stunned, but recovered, and managed to complete your journey unscathed. Maybe someone saw you and knew what I didn’t and helped you. I’d like to think so.
How many times have I passed the bodies of your brothers and sisters, mashed beyond recognition into the scalding asphalt? Roadkill.
Turkey buzzards with hulking bodies cloaked in black feathers pick at the flesh on the side of the road, until one of them doesn’t see the pale horse and becomes the meat. How many times have I seen the mangled remnants, vessels, that used to carry life, and I adjusted my course so that my tires wouldn’t get dirty?
I cannot see those scraps of flesh the way I saw you—the fur and viscera stains on the roads hold no connection to the creatures they used to be. Encased in the metal cabin, the hot stink of them cannot reach me as I drive by.
But you, in your last moments still struggled for life. Did you know what had happened to you? Did you know what was ahead for you? Could you sense an end, a transfiguration, about to occur?
The white SUV never braked. I doubt they saw you or felt your tiny body beneath the heavy wheels. It wouldn’t have mattered—they wouldn’t have had time. And so, you were broken.
As I drove the same route home from work I averted my gaze from the spot where I witnessed you fall. Shame and denial twisted uneasily in my stomach, and I imagined the road was empty.