99 Word Flash Fiction: I’m going to save the kangaroo I ran over.

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

This afternoon I headed around the corner from where I lived to take my skywatch Friday photo down at the lake. As I went past this house, which has always reminded me of Gone With the Wind, I saw these kangaroos grazing on the front lawn. Never one to let a photo opportunity pass I snapped oodles of these relaxed happy animals marvelling that this is suburbia, not a zoo and within easy walking distance from where I live. How lucky can I be?

On arrival home I see Charli’s prompt and have to substitute deer for kangaroo. I know nothing of her four legged creatures but I do know kangaroos and I know if you hit one when driving the damage is equal to that a deer may cause. Kangaroos have a technique to save themselves that unfortunately doesn’t work with cars. They will initially run away from the car but then double back quickly and jump in front of the car. They figure that other animals can’t turn and run in the other direction with any speed, so they get the animal chasing them in the first direction and then a quick turn and off.

The kangaroo ran. It turned. The thud followed by a tumbling sound under the car left me fearful that it was dead. It lay very still on the road. Our earlier gaiety gone as we made our way to the stricken animal. It was alive but barely. Blood ran from one nostril. We rolled it onto a blanket and lifted it into the car. The vet lived over the hill. There may be a chance.

The stunned kangaroo panicked and stood on the back seat towering over us. Afraid, we vowed never again if there was a next time.

In response to Charli’s 99 word flash fiction challenge where she invites:

This week’s challenge is two-fold:

  1. August 5, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write the common premise: “I ran over a deer (or other animal) and have decided to nurse it back to health.”
  2. But before you write, daydream. Do something out of your normal routine for 10 minutes. Go outside, sit and stare into space. Rest in a meditative yoga pose. Lock yourself in the bathroom. Mow the lawn, or do the dishes. Let your mind wander to the story and daydream before you write it.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. Commenced a masters by research in 2014.
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46 Responses to 99 Word Flash Fiction: I’m going to save the kangaroo I ran over.

  1. Norah says:

    We have small groups of kangaroos living near to us too. I don’t see them every day, just when I pass their way, but I do enjoy it when I do. It is not good for kangaroo, car or people when an accident occurs, and I am always saddened to see the dead animals on the side of the road. I’m pleased I have never been in a similar altercation with a kangaroo. However, many years ago when crossing the Nullabor on the way to Perth I did hit an eagle which swooped down for carrion which was in the middle of the road right in front of me. It came from nowhere and so swiftly there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t believe how unfortunate it was to kill such a majestic bird, and so terribly sad.
    Great flash. I like that “you” attempted to do the humane thing for the kangaroo. How scary to have it recover and rear up in the back seat. I can understand the reluctance to ever try the same thing again!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I would have been devastated also by hitting the Eagle. If there is one flying around I can’t stop watching it glide around. Sometimes you just can’t do anything to prevent hitting a creature whilst you are driving but it doesn’t make you feel good about it and there is far too much road kill beside the roads.
      We did hit a kangaroo once and take it to a vet who wasn’t too happy to have his Saturday afternoon at home interrupted but total fiction the remainder. Wouldn’t it be terrifying though.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Growing up, my father hit a number of birds on the road — an owl in a similar swoop, a pheasant, a quail that flopped onto the hood. Each time I clearly recall my mother shouting, “A Chicken! You hit a chicken!” It became a macabre family joke. But I understand your grief in hitting something so majestic. Irene conveys that so well in the line, “Our earlier gaiety gone as we made our way to the stricken animal.”

      Liked by 3 people

      • It was tortoises I remember as a child. Funny how those little sayings become etched into our every day. We have one where a maiden aunt went to germany and was invited to buy something at the patisserie. Delicious looking German cakes and sweets but she wanted Scotch Finger Biscuits. When told they probably didn’t make Scotch Finger biscuists she retorted “Well they could do if they wanted to.” Now the entire family uses the phrase at any opportunity. I just hate killing anything living. Even wasps I struggle with.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Norah says:

        An owl! A pheasant! A quail! The quail probably thought it would take a free ride. I understand how the incidents would become a family joke. Irene’s flash was rather good at expressing the emotion. Anne’s pointed out another good reason for nursing a hurt creature back to health. I must get by and read the other responses soon. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • Sherri says:

        This thread here reminds me of when I used to get off the school bus, walk down the drive to our house (the one in Suffolk, out in the middle of nowhere) and always desperate for a wee, walked into the downstairs loo only to be scared out of my mind by a pheasant or two hanging upside down behind the door, blood dripping out of their beaks. Fresh roadkill, picked up by my mother’s husband. I refused to eat pheasant until only recently, when it was cooked in a red wine casserole. It was always ‘watch out for the pheasant!’ when we were out driving, but in this case, it was a question of trying to hit it rather than avoid it…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Road kill sends the horrors through me also. I remember heading to Newcastle to help out with a disaster they had, one of the girls was late for the pickup. When she finally arrived her excuse was that she came across a dead kangaroo killed on the road between when she had travelled it the night before and early morning. She had to take it home and get it in the freezer. Made my stomach turn.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sherri says:

        Yuck! Mine too Irene, I could never do that! And infact I would never have thought of kangaroos as edible until a few years ago when certain restaurants here started offering kangaroos burgers, along with ostrich and buffalo. Low in cholesterol apparantley… 😮

        Liked by 1 person

      • But very strong meat. Common as dog food here but all my dogs have got diarrhoea from it as it really is strong.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sherri says:

        Oooooh… o:O

        Liked by 1 person

      • Charli Mills says:

        Funny! As to life, yes, I hated fishing growing up — first I was expected to drown a worm, and second, I had to suffocate a fish. Then I met the Hub who taught me the joy of barbless fly-fishing, catch and release!

        Liked by 1 person

      • That would be the kind of fishing Roger and I would like. We only go fishing when we have someone prepared to do the killing for us. So sad.

        Like

  2. lucciagray says:

    Grear flash! I’ve never seen a kangaroo. Sounds terrifying to have him stunned in the back seat 😂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. ChristineR says:

    We had a kangaroo skid into us, we were stationary at the time, waiting to turn right. It bounded into a car coming the other, though the driver stopped in time. It had two broken legs, so had to be put down. They cannot be mended. Our local police get called out for that. I wouldn’t fancy one in the back seat!

    Liked by 1 person

    • A horrible thing to watch and have happen. Yes I wouldn’t want to have to deal with an injured kangaroo trying to protect himself. In the back of the car would just be horrific. Glad that part was fiction.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ChristineR says:

        You’d have your upholstery ripped to shreds, Irene. And they must be heavy too, if the dead cat I moved off the roadside over the weekend is any guide. Poor Moggie. I love seeing kangaroos every day. There more of them about as the army base opened up their gates for awhile, to let them out. They’d culled the infirm but still had more than they could sustain within their boundaries.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think you’d problem get a king hit from behind with his back legs that’d send both you and seat through the windscreen. After that I don’t think I’d care about torn upholstery.
        I’m glad they only culled the infirm ones as they are great to see as you know. Anything that is dead or unconscious seems to weigh a lot, even the fish I thought were small that I pull from my outdoor pond on occasion.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I would be horrified! I hit a tiny, little bird once and freaked out, calling all sorts of vets until one would take him in. I named him Charlie. He lived. True story.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Until I read the comments, I thought the entire story was true. I also thought you were a bit crazy to load a kangaroo into your car. Interesting dilemma where you live. We used to have raccoons visiting us every night. They’d lounge on our back deck and the babies would play in a water tub we put out there. One adult became very fond of me and would sit just on the other side of the screen, putting his paw up until I’d put up my hand. Have also seen the males fighting with each other, so we know not to go out and get involved.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. TanGental says:

    Sadly I seem to have clattered into a lot.the worst being an extremely rare pine marten in Scotland. Loved the flash

    Liked by 1 person

  7. julespaige says:

    Often we because of local farms we have fox, muskrat, opposum and skunk on our road ways. Occasional cat, most dogs I think are maintained a tad better since we have a leash law here. Though the leash law is supposed to be for all pets including cats, ferrets and birds etc.

    Before they stopped accepting kittens and cats at the local shelter I was able to save a stray kitten about ten years ago. Most often there is no clean-up for small ‘road-kill’ so ‘they/that’ evolve into ‘sail-rabbits’ which is just really any animal that gets run over to the point of well not being able to know what it was as it is now completely flattened… and nature takes care of it, via the vultures or other animals.

    I have seen a red-tail hawk swoop from the sky and snag a rabbit in my neighbors yard.
    Thanks for stopping by my piece on the prompt. ~Jules

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know if I’d want to see a red-tail hawk take a rabbit but eagles and hawks I find impossible to take my eyes from when I see them. I had a chicken hawk in the hen house and it was a nightmare to get rid of and not before she had got rid of a number of chickens.
      Most of our road kill goes the way of your “sail rabbits.” What I find interesting are the army of ants that seem to come from nowhere and of course the birds. Foxes are a pest here. Are they native where you are?
      I love reading the responses to Charli’s prompts as they are all so different and interesting to see others creative angles. My problem is I am time poor at the moment and I can’t get around as much as I would like.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great photos and story.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Charli Mills says:

    The part about the kangaroo waking up in the backseat makes your flash dark comedy! Especially with the narrator leaving us uncertain as to their fate. I imagined they are well-muscled animals and would take out a car easily. Great take on the prompt!

    Liked by 2 people

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  11. Sherri says:

    I can see why this house reminds you so much of Gone With The Wind Irene! And to see actual, live kangaroos grazing on the lawn outside like that, I find just amazing! I saw two dead foxes on the road yesterday (very common) and I don’t even like that, the thought of hitting anything with a car, but it does happen. Your flash had me wide-eyed with horror and then loved the unexpected ending as the kangaroo stood up on the back seat! Wow, that would be quite the fright for all concerned, and no wonder a reminder not to stop and do that again! Love it 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  12. joannesisco says:

    That explains the kangaroo carnage from cars. Their instincts are causing the poor things to run directly into danger 😦

    I think I would be pretty alarmed to have a kangaroo pop up in my back sear!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I certainly would be alarmed. Knowing their instinctive response to danger keeps me very aware if I see a kangaroo grazing on the side of the road slow down even though they don’t seem to be posing a risk. Better still, don’t drive at sunset or sunrise when the risk is at its highest. Sad seeing the carcasses but I wouldn’t want one popping up on my back seat either.

      Like

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