Prompt Images

Melody was driving down the road, minding her own business, when she was confronted by a disturbing sight. As she rolled up, she knew what it was, but the inevitability didn’t make it any less horrific.


She knew what that roadkill had once been, or at least, she had a shortlist of likely guesses, all of which were increasingly fuzzy, cute, and pitiable. She found herself imagining it had a family, and she wondered where they were now. Had they seen it happen? Had they gotten away safely? Or had this creature died all alone?

She felt the loss of her own family members in that glimpse of splattered tissues, and her stomach turned.

She knew what that roadkill could have been.

She thought of a doe who might have birthed another fawn in spring or a cat who might have found a loving home before winter’s bite took over the evening air. Even the sour smell of skunk could not have stopped her from having flickering thoughts of what it might have done with the rest of its life, waddling here and there with its puffy tail. The remains in her rearview mirror were those of a creature robbed of its potential. She averted her gaze.

She knew what that roadkill was now.

It was Death. Did it feel pain, she wondered? Was it a quick death? Had it suffered? She hoped not. She could no longer see the remnants of life on the rapidly passing pavement beneath her, but the merciless reminder of the impending finality of her own existence remained.

Though not all is dark and grim in death, Melody knew. She was still here, wasn’t she? Yes, she supposed she was. Perhaps she would move the hiking trip up to this weekend instead. Yes, she decided she would. Tomorrow was not guaranteed, but that only made today all the sweeter. Melody sent up a small prayer for the small creature to wherever it might need to go, and then she smiled behind her sunglasses, a bit more excited to be alive.

Ariel Cross

Ariel Cross is a fantasy author and blogger with a love for representation and subversion. To them, happiness is a warm glass of mead on a cold day.

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