February Bloom: "Rats of Kindness"
Many thanks to Cora B. for sharing a good deed experience that inspired me to write this month’s flash fiction story titled Rats of Kindness. Here’s an excerpt from what Cora submitted.
I was driving under a highway overpass and saw a dog darting in and out of the ramps. I pulled over to intervene, but it kept running, crossing 6 lanes of traffic, so I left my car and started running with two other drivers pursuing the dog. It headed for a quieter road next to the highway. Everyone searched under an endless row of parked cars. When I returned from retrieving my car, they’d found the dog hiding under a silver sedan, refusing to come out. But when a man stood for a cigarette, the dog moved toward him. He grabbed it and the dog licked his face. He was going to find out if it was micro-chipped, but if not, wanted to keep it. I have never seen a terrified dog warm that quickly to a human.
"Rats of Kindness"
The subway system served up 250 miles of tunnels woven into webs that facilitated transport at day or night. Most riders stayed in train cars. Other life forms navigated the dark and dank places on foot, knowing each snaky turn, crumbling crack and platform exit by paw. Curious beings sometimes explored the underground turf and then exited after a few hours; others, seeking shelter, spent the night before ascending to daylight’s assault on their hard lives. On this occasion, a single being seemed stuck below too long.
“What’s it doing down here? They’re supposed to stay on the platforms,” said one of the four-legged.
“It’s been strolling and stumbling one way, then back again for days,” said the other.
“We’ll have to report it; they’ll all want to know,” they whispered to one another as they leapt the tracks back to the rest of the colony, nestled between two midtown stations.
The colony debated and negotiated in their native Quad Ped tongue.
“It damned sure doesn’t belong here. It’s not our kind, and they’re always trying to get rid of us.”
“I don’t trust them.”
“To tell you the truth, I feel kind of bad for this one.”
“Yeah, me too. I don’t think it means us any harm.”
“Poor thing. It’s probably lost.”
“They mostly stay in their place; let’s help, just this once.”
“Oh, why not? We can make an exception. C’mon.”
“Why not?” the pack echoed back.
Colony leaders tasked two of the four-leggeds with crafting a rescue plan for the wandering being because of their language skills. They’d picked up conversational Bi-Ped on food foraging expeditions in the upper world’s trash bags, always left out in the open. The colony huddled, high-fived, and hurried their scurry along the track toward until facing and startling the now bewildered being. So they all rose on their haunches and waved their front paws in unison to convey a warm greeting.
“Hi there, misplaced being. We’re here to assist you. Please follow us,” the two four-leggeds directed in Bi-Ped tongue.
The four-leggeds morphed into a connected line, mouths clutching tails, and marched forward, paving a way for this human being to reach the light at the end of the tunnel.
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