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Road Kill

             Too furry for a deer and too big for a dog, he thought as he caught the animal's stare. Once spooked, those creatures moved fast. The animal turned and fled. Jeff stomped the pedal and the old Chevy pickup lurched forward.
             The creature ran down the highway least obstructed path. In Jeff's estimation such logic made it just another dumb animal fit for the hunt. This kill would be easy because whatever it was, its short and slow. It mattered little to Jeff if the weapon were his sporting rifle or his half-ton pickup. Today he had already emptied a chamber into four squirrels without leaving the pickup, just to get in a little target practice. Shooting them or steering into them, it was all the same. "Hunting's hunting'," he said if asked about the big pile of animal remains in the back of his truck. But no one ever asked because Jeff was only a man doing the job he was paid to do.
             Tonight the Jeff had surely done his work. The truck had caught its target dead center without Jeff's hitting the brake, and the pickup sent it flying. The animal came down on Highway, and came to rest along the shoulder about a hundred feet from where it had been struck. Jeff had to practically stand on the brake to avoid hitting it again, and as he swerved the rear of the truck fishtailed into the muddy trench along the side of the road. .
             From behind the wheel he examined the dark lump that lay motionless near the front tire. He took his flashlight from the glove compartment and flashed it on the creature, but it remained still. Slowly he stepped from the truck. The animal's dark fur had matted on the side where it had been struck and it lay in a gradually expanding pool of blood. Jeff still could not make out exactly what he had hit, and the animal's thick fur made it impossible to tell its front from its back. Jeff extended his leg and prodded the fur with the toe of his boot, holding the flashlight's beam steady on it, but he could not even locate a face beneath the fur.

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