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.
“You’re just too old, Nelly,” Baby, the chihuahua across from her, taunted. “Tough luck.” Baby had a new sign plastered to the front of her cage. She was all to happy to tell Nelly what it said. “Adopted.”
Nelly heard footsteps in the dark corridor. All the dogs, except Baby of course, stood and wagged their tails, ready to put on a show.
An unfamiliar human knelt in front of Nelly’s cage and smiled.
A new sign was placed on Nelly’s cage. She didn’t need Baby to tell her what it said. Adopted.
Another delicious thrill ripped through Hannah as Carter pulled her close and kissed her again. He smelled like spearmint. She hadn’t felt a high like this in a long time. Not since those first few dates with Michael, her husband. Michael seemed so far away, so dead inside. She needed to feel alive.
Carter opened the front door of his apartment and told her to make herself comfortable while he went to open a bottle of wine. She complied, pulling off her uncomfortable shoes and padding barefoot into his small living room.
There it was. A deer head, mounted on the wall. Her stomach twisted and she suddenly felt incredibly nauseous. She abhorred hunting. She was surprised to feel tears welling in her eyes. She imagined a beautiful, defenseless creature, running gracefully through a forest, a life stolen just so she could end up a trophy on some guy’s wall. She didn’t know Carter at all. And she missed Michael. Maybe there would even be a baby one day. One that would survive.
Carter returned to the living room, holding two wineglasses, only to find her gone.
Darkness cloaked Eva’s brain as her shaky hands turned her steering wheel down the gravel drive. Rolling down the window, she welcomed the cool breeze, the smell of sweet grass. She nodded at the ranchers, who tipped their hats. They knew her around here; she wasn’t really predisposed to long conversations. Not with humans anyway.
She stood on the bottom rung of the wooden fence. Maisy clomped over, a beautiful, gleaming black mare. She rested her forehead against Maisy’s face, letting her breath match hers until the fog lifted.
According to a Bristol University professor, chickens are smarter than human toddlers. New chicks can keep can track of up to five numbers. They can also grasp the concept that an item that is out of sight still exists, something that human babies don’t understand until age one. Read more here.
According to the Humane Society of America, “turkeys dig family and stick together. Wild turkeys forage in groups and roost in trees together. Turkey mothers diligently teach their young survival skills, and turkey brothers stay together for life.”
Fun fact – according to PETA, Cows “are generally very intelligent animals who can remember things for a long time. Animal behaviorists have found that cows interact in socially complex ways, developing friendships over time and sometimes holding grudges against other cows who treat them badly.”