February 2020 Competition Winner

Posted 6 months ago under Uncategorised,

Peggy Lee was born in the UK but raised in the south of France. After completing a BA in modern languages and an Open University degree in English Literature and Creative Writing, she moved to London in 2016 to work as an editorial assistant for a trade magazine. She then spent a year working part-time as an assistant for a literary agency and publishing house, and part-time as a bookseller at Waterstones Piccadilly. She is currently doing a creative writing MA at the University of East Anglia, UK.

Road kill

The car takes the curve in the road without breaking, drives straight through the road sign, hits the fence and flips over onto its back. The field is waterlogged, flooded by the recent, heavy rain. The car wheels spin uselessly in the air. For a few seconds, nothing happens.

I don’t move.

I’m sheltered on the porch of the house opposite. It’s empty; we’re alone.

A small noise, a thump, and the driver’s door creaks open, slowly. A man tumbles out on all fours. His arm is hanging at an odd angle from the elbow down and he grunts in pain every time he exhales. He walks to the edge of the field where the road sign lies destroyed and sits on it, surveying the scene. He can’t see me in the dark, but I stand immobile, afraid he can see my eyes shine in the moonlight.

He’d been driving too fast. First, I heard the sound of the engine. The crack and roar of the throttle but underneath a whine at being pushed higher than the gear allowed. I could hear the screech of the breaks. I knew he would struggle with this particular bend in the road, and I waited.

The man suddenly stands up. He walks to the other side of the car, wrenches the door open and reaches inside with his good hand. He pulls out a woman, hand clenched under her armpit, her hair dragging in the mud. She lies there immobile. There’s blood on her t-shirt and her skin. He leans down, cocks his ear above her mouth. I want to tell him that even I can see that she’s dead, that it’s obvious from the greyness of her skin and the odd angle of her neck. He checks for a pulse. He stands up. Checks his phone. Seems to deliberate for a few seconds and then sets off down the dark road, round the treacherous corner and out of sight. The earth settles in his absence. The wind sighs in relief and the hush gradually becomes ridden with rustles and chirps.

Now is time, if I’m to get to her before the beasts of the forest. I stretch my wings. My neck. I launch off the porch, up, up above the trees and encircle the body once, twice, three times.

Time to get me some road kill.

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