Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Entry #51

“Night Blindness”
by Rebecca Snowden


She felt it before she saw it, the dull, soft thud of metal meeting flesh. She heard the headlight shatter, the violent crunch of the fender crumbling and then—silence.

Be careful, her husband had said before she left the house. Keep your eyes open.

She’d blinked, for just a second. A small moment, but one with consequences.

The deer lay a few feet in front of the car, its legs splayed out at odd angles. A fawn, its brown fur mottled with white, soft nubs in place of where antlers would eventually grow. Most likely, he’d wandered off from his mother and gotten too close to the road. A small moment, but one with consequences.

Its mouth was open, the soft pink tongue exposed to the cold. A thin trickle of blood ran down to the pavement and its breath came in short, shallow gasps. The eyes, a glossy black, rolled wildly in their sockets.

She reached out a hand and laid it flat against the deer’s heaving side. The hind legs kicked feebly, animal instincts taking over. She could feel its heartbeat slowing, weakening. She had never killed anything before. This was not a power she relished.

The only witness to her crime, a lone utility pole, stood silent in the darkness. She wanted to offer up an apology, a prayer. She owed the deer this much at least. In the glare of the remaining headlight, she knelt in the snow and paid her penance to the moon.

15 comments:

Jaye Wells said...

Great job, Rebecca! I really liked this one.

Flood said...

I felt her helplessness at not being able to do anything the bring the moment back for the deer.

Touching, Rebecca.

Rebecca said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I suck. Thanks, though, for pretending I don't.

Scott said...

Uh, no you don't. I wouldn't bother to say anything otherwise. I can totally relate to this piece, which is well written. There is nothing more painful than watching an animal die that you have killed.

Sue said...

That line:

"A small moment, but one with consequences."

It appears twice and as I read through I half expected it to be the final line of the story, though I do like that line: "she knelt in the snow and paid her penance to the moon."

JLB said...

Well written - I think everyone can relate to this piece either as an observer or a participant.

Writing Blind said...

Thanks, everyone, for being so nice. I've read so many other great stories in this contest that I'm not sure if mine can really compare. And Sue, thanks for giving me that idea about repeating the line again.

fringes said...

I loved it, Rebecca. You did a great job of cycling back to the original photo. Very nicely done.

Bhaswati said...

Please don't sell yourself short. The writing is good and the emotions strongly conveyed, despite the word limit. Great job.

k l gilbert said...

You conveyed the emotions of this woman so realistically through your writing. Living in NEPA I can't tell you how many times I have hit an animal. Honestly, that last paragraph reminds me of...me, when I hit an animal. The whole story rings true. Good writing.

cesarcarlos said...

A really talented, powerful way to capture a life changing instant. Well done.

Lisa said...

Such vivid description and intense emotion with a handful of words. Very well done.

INKcogKNEEdough said...

Rebecca,

"a small moment but one with consequences",,,,that line alone grabbed my attention the first time. Using it again was even that much better. Using it to show a paralell between the deer and the driver and the consequences of thier actions was flat out awesome. Great piece, thanks for sharing

INK

jason evans said...

Rebecca, congrats on the honorable mention!

I like the covergence of the main character and the deer--this mistake of both. The consequences of that mistake are different. Guilt for her, death for the deer. Well written and paced. High marks overall.

Writing Blind said...

Jason, thanks. I was worried that it wasn't edgy or shocking enough. I'm glad you liked it.