It had been one of those perfect days. Blue sky, puffy, white clouds floating lazily over their heads. She and her beautiful little boys spending a day at the zoo, childish laughter in the air. Maybe that’s why Lacey had let them run ahead. My instincts told me it was safe. I just let them go. She’d been smiling when she heard the scream.
There was Zack down below, who’d somehow fallen into an enclosure. A huge reptile was charging him. Her youngest, Ben, screamed for her, his eyes wide in terror. Lacey held him close as she yelled for help. The shot from the zookeeper, the one that killed the creature, filled her with relief and sorrow.
Now, the world knew her name. She had no idea the creature that died was one of a rare, endangered species. The backlash had begun. Lacey was a bad mother. Her child should have been shot instead of the animal. She should have been shot. She was an idiot. A welfare mom. A drug addict. A loser.
There was a knock at the door. Her next door neighbor stepped inside and she braced herself for another attack.
“I’m glad you and your kids are okay.”
Lacey collapsed into her arms and started to cry.