It was nearly midnight, the fog hugged close to the road surface. Reflected headlights limit visibility to less than 10 feet. Slow going for sure. Other than the fog and the eerie glow of the streetlamps, the residential street offered nothing to hinder my progress.
And then I saw it…a fleeting glimpse. Brownish maybe, but it could’ve been the effect of the fog and headlights. It was upright, but short; frozen in place. From fear, or the cold?
There was no time to react, except to grip the wheel tighter…which didn’t change a thing. Unable to see far enough on either side of the car to swerve left or right, I slowed but preceded ahead, waiting for the inevitable thump, thump. My stomach sank.
A slight tick is all I hear…or did I feel it. Certainly not a deathblow. Maybe there wasn’t anything there at all. But I couldn’t be sure and I turned around at the next street. If it was still there, I needed to try and help.
I drove at a snail’s pace back to where I thought the event had transpired. Emergency flashers on, I stopped when I saw the victim. Lying on its side, it apparently hadn’t moved. I scanned the immediate vicinity for a blood trail, or anything that would indicate injury and hopefully life.
Stepping out of the car I saw the extent of the damage: a small nick along the spine, a scrape of its skin. I needed to save it. There was no other course of action. Cradling it in my hands, I carried back into my car and set it gently on my lap. Looking it over, I found no other visible damage.
It was safe and coming home with me.