Your mind flashes through everything you were ever told in driver’s education class. In one moment you realize that attempting to swerve at the speed you’re going will cause the vehicle to roll.
Please don’t be a person.
You put everything you have into slamming your foot down on the brake pedal. Your eyes focus on the enormous dog that’s just dashed in front of your car a split second before you feel the impact.
“Shit!” You half scream, half cry.
Your body snaps forward, the seatbelt saving you from coming into deadly contact with the steering wheel. You open your eyes, unaware that you’d closed them. Reaching over with a trembling hand, you put the car in park.
“Are you okay?” You hear yourself ask Sharon.
“Yeah, I think so.” She answers, her voice as distant as you feel.
For the first time, you’re glad for the old model car, because no air bags went off in your face. You lean forward, searching for the dog you just hit. It’s dark out and the one remaining yellow headlight from your car isn’t giving much light.
I can’t believe I just hit a dog. Guilt instantly clenches your gut as your recently deceased cat comes to mind. Alpo had died old and happy, not on the side of a cold, dark road. Maybe it’s just hurt and I can get it to the vet. Maybe they can save it. Please be okay, please be okay.
You fumble with the seatbelt latch as you glance to the right of your vehicle. Beyond where Sharon is sitting, still wide-eyed, there’s a field of high grass, perhaps alfalfa, and beyond that, you can just make out the lights of a house.
“What are you doing?” Sharon asks as you allow the seat belt to slide off of you.
“I’m not going to just leave it.” You snap at her as you reach for the door handle.
“No way. That thing was huge, you can’t go out there.”She reaches for your arm.
“Someone’s dog could be lying on the side of the road hurt.” You yank away.
“That wasn’t a dog. That was like a dire wolf …”
“Get a grip, Sharon! This isn’t some horror movie.” You pull on the door handle, confused as to why the doors not opening and then realize it’s still locked.
“Okay, you’re right, but even if that’s someone’s pet, if it’s injured it may lash out at you. That thing could literally take your face off.” Sharon continues to plead. “It was a big dog.” She looks you straight in the eyes as she talks.
On one hand, you know she’s right. Any injured animal could be dangerous, let alone the behemoth dog you’d just plowed into. On the other hand, there are no wolves in your state, so it had to be a family pet. The idea of leaving any family pet to suffer on the side of the road was something you didn’t think you could live with. You glance at your friend and turn more fully to face her.
“Sharon, I can’t just leave it.” From your angle, you can see the field and the house you believe the dog came from, clearly. A flicker of light catches your attention. It bobs with the motion of a person walking. A flashlight. “See, they are looking for their dog.” You point behind her as another light comes to life and then another.
By the time Sharon get’s turned around in her seat there are fifteen flashlights weaving through the field. “Okay, that’s creepy.” She states.
You shake your head at her trying to ignore the hair rising on the back of your neck in agreement to her statement. “Maybe they were having a party and the dog got out.” Another light flickers on as you both stare through the window, and then another.
“Yep, and they’ll find their dog. So can we please go?” Sharon asks turning back to you.
“Hit and run, that’s what you’re asking me to do.”
“It’s a dog, not a person. There’s no jail time for that.” She replies.
You huff at her. “It’s not right, Sharon.”
You glance behind her, noticing that the majority of the field is now covered with bobbing lights. You count to twenty before you lose track. “What if they don’t look this far?”
Sharon leans over and blares the horn.
You push her hand away, stopping the onslaught of noise. “What are you doing?”
“See, they’re coming now. Let’s go. Please.” She points back to the field.
She’s right, even though the road is still at least a quarter mile from the nearest light, it’s obvious that all flashlights are pointed in your direction. In unison, the lights begin to bob faster and grow bigger. Whoever is carrying them are running, at what seems to be an alarming rate, towards your car.
“Please?!” Sharon begs, her voice near panic.
Do you decide to stay and lead the people to their beloved pet or is Sharon’s paranoia overriding your guilty conscious?
Please help the story along by leaving a comment on which decision you’d make. You can leave it here in WordPress or on whichever social media site you find this on.