Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: RASH (04/12/18)
- TITLE: Morning Surprise
By Jennifer Champion
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Thirty feet away, at the edge of the sidewalk staring back at me was a bobcat. It was grossly underweight for a cat of its size and leaned heavily on its right side. As it rested against the retaining wall that separated my front yard from the street, it looked at me. Its countenance was weakened and although I should have been terrified, was not.
I put my coffee cup down on the bench by the front door and took a step forward. It did not move nor take its gaze off me. I took another step forward until now my foot was on the concrete driveway. The large cat attempted to take a step back but buckled and fell. It was indeed hurt. My pace quickened when I realized this animal could not hurt me.
As I approached, it laid on the sidewalk and rested its head on a soft bed of wild yarrow growing alongside. I knelt down feeling confident in my decision to come so close to an animal that if well, could easily maim me. I reached out to touch its face and noticed a wound. This bobcat had been in a fight and by the looks of it, the altercation had been many days ago. The blood had dried in clumps, its ear was torn from its head only to be held there by a small piece of fur, and its bottom lip was rent from side to side.
This beast of the neighboring woods needed my help. I remembered I had a first aid kit, bottled water and jerky in the trunk of my car. I walked over, opened it and grabbed a stick of dried turkey. It must have smelled the turkey as I peel back the plastic packaging because it started to stand and walk slowly towards me. There was no threat being made, it was imply hungry and I could provide food. I held out the meat stick and as it came closer to me, a sound cracked violently through the morning air. Birds did not sing their melodious song and in front of me, the bobcat had fallen. Its blood poured out onto the gray driveway and ran into the road like the river Nile. This cat, my morning surprise, was dead.
I looked across the street and there stood my neighbor with his rifle. He seemed proud of himself for he had rescued me from a mangy wildcat or so he thought.
“What have you done?” I cried out to him in anger as I ran across the road to him.
He looked at me and said, “I saved you from that thing. It was about to attack you.”
His decision had been misplaced and misinformed whereas the bond that I had developed with the hurt animal in my yard was surreal and my morning was ruined. Its death brought a gloominess on the day ahead. From over my shoulder, I peered back at the creature, lifeless and alone behind my vehicle. I pulled my cell phone out and called into work. I told my boss that I would not be in at all because I was not feeling well. It was not a lie; I truly felt sick to my stomach.
My neighbor walked back inside his house and I was left to clean up the mess he had made. I needed to bury it. I needed to forget what happened and move on with a fresh cup of coffee but in the end, I knew my life would never be the same.
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