Opening Nights


Henry got hit about six a.m. The squeal of tires waked her, and Shaara was half up by the time the first cry came, racing through the rec room in bare feet with her gauze night-shift and her red hair flying, banging out the kitchen door, her stomach knotted. He had dragged himself up the drive, and he stumbled there, raised his head for one long complaining moan, dropped it, was already dead by the time she squatted and pressed a hand on his side. Then it was the fat woman out of the Ford van howling, "I'm so sorry! I wouldn't for the worldhe just ran right out!" The bristled ruff was warm but his long Shepherd legs stuck straight out in front with unnatural formality. There was no mistaking he was dead. Shaara thought that she could handle Henry but that she could not handle the woman, who was high-pitched and wringing her hands, clearly trapped. Maybe she would already be gone if Shaara hadn't come outside so quick. Hit and run, Shaara would have advised her. But aloud she mumbled reassurances, tucked her shift between her knees, stroked Henry's feathery tail, and waited out the woman's angry innocence.

© Janet Burroway. All Rights Reserved.