General Fiction posted January 26, 2022


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A short tale of almost.

Stop!

by AliMom

Stop Contest Winner 
It was becoming more and more difficult to cross this intersection. They'd cut down most of the foliage along the edges of the road and the trees were almost entirely gone. From where she stood she could see almost to the end of the field where there used to be a dense forest. It was all gone now. Urban development? Suburban expansion? She didn't know what to call it but it was invasive.

The people who had moved here in the beginning, who craved the tranquility of a peaceful, soundless moonlit evening or the quiet stirrings of an animal or two, were astounded by the rapid addition of others to the area. Ironic, really, considering the more who built here, the less they got what they came for -isolation, a retreat from the madness of the city.

The thundering noise of cars and trucks, especially the big ones, once they extended the road, made it almost impossible to cross in spite of the signs and lights. Just last week several friends had been struck while trying to cross the paved blacktop. She was certain many more would lose their lives. There was no way around it.

Their senses were under daily assault. The acrid smell of burning rubber and motor oil. The burning eyes from exhausts and bright headlamps which blocked the dancing stars at night. The sudden change from soft grass to hard ground. Even the food tasted different accompanied as it was by debris and pollution which settled lazily coating everything edible. There was no escaping it. This was her new life and she was going to have to live in this shared space. A smaller, dangerous space with fewer resources and more traffic.

The ground where she stood lay bare, scraped and sanded in preparation for the new hordes of invading people. Structures of all types in various stages of construction blocked the horizon. She could barely see sundown from this low vantage point anymore.

Entire families had been uprooted, displaced, or shut out of homes they'd been in for years and years. The bird sounds had been replaced by the sound of tires speeding past on paved roads smoothed out for just such a purpose. Speed, she thought. What was this great rush to get from one place to another? When would they stop to smell the flowers?

She supposed when the structures were completed all of the speeding would slow down and the occupants would take up residence in their new spaces probably never giving a thought to the ones they'd displaced.

She stretched forward to see if anything was coming. All appeared quiet for the moment. She beckoned her child forward who had been waiting a short way back for safety, with a sweep of her neck. She longed for a cool drink of water which she could have on the other side of the road. There was a pond there. Or there was some time ago. The one on her side of the road had been drained and covered over. It made her angry to think about it.

She nudged her baby across the road, gently but forcibly so he would know this was not the time for play. He'd just reached the soft edge of the opposite side with her behind when headlights seemed to appear out of nowhere barreling over the small rise beside where she stood. She turned to face her nemesis protecting her young from injury and bowed her head in preparation for the hit to come.

"STOP! Dad, a deer!"

The car's breaks screeched to a halt leaving rubber and smoke in front and behind, throwing everyone and everything forward in the vehicle.

Startled, and not quite sure what to do, she stood stock-still transfixed in the glow of the car's headlights then she scampered across the barren ground, heart thumping, on unsteady legs to catch up with her fawn.

"Whew! Not too many of those left around. That was a close one. Good lookin' out son," the driver said speeding away into the night.


Writing Prompt
Write a story of any type. But at some point your character must shout: Stop!

Stop
Contest Winner


I visited Palm Coast, Florida recently where they are building so fast, they are chasing the beautiful wildlife away. Just a few years ago bear, armadillo, alligators and the like could be seen everywhere. In fact, just six months ago wild turkeys ran through my sister's backyard and deer blocked the street in the evening looking for places to forage. Now they are all gone. Four new houses have sprung up though. Three more are being built. I'm not sure where the poor animals have gone.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.


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