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He draws himself alongside the glistening road. Others are there, and as one they bask in the sultry fumes that ruffle their dozing pelts whilst they burrow into the black rainbow. He pays homage to those who also made it in time. They are laid out like dancers at obtuse angles, noses sniffing the safety barrier, legs in arabesque across the cat’s-eye spotlights. Although lifeless, bodies remain plump, many almost intact, intention of movement in those stiffened limbs.

The unschooled believe that death occurred here—plucked abruptly—but that is not the case. This one was injured in the woods but undertook to approach the traffic with his last purposeful stare. He will inspire pity, sorrow, disgust. Left in the woods he’ll be tracked down. Gnawed away whilst chewing over his own final salivarous breath. No peace. All pain. And a shamed seeping back to the earth to be absorbed out of existence.

He too opened his eyes in wonder at birth. He too frolicked with joy on sunshiney mornings and under storming skies. He knew friendship. He knew camaraderie. He knew family. Like the others, he was told of the choice at death—to accept or to force meaning. So he strives to his final love, the road. The place where death lives and breathes at ninety miles per hour. Death is seen. Is observed. Has implications. He chooses to die here in peace amidst the roar of exhausts and gear changes. No other predator will come close. The motorized top dogs shake the earth with their power and merciless orbits. And if death refuses to come, one push into the sea of tarmac and the end comes swiftly. Heaviness and lightness combined in one beautiful moment.

He stretches luxuriously toward the road. Into eye-line and comprehension. Breathes in the carbon monoxide. Dreamily he overlooks the pain in his shattered bones. He looks along along along and waits to thunder into his beyond.

Flash Fiction by C S Bowerman
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Published in Summer 2017


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