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A Stupid Way to Die (a short story)
The day began much like any other. He gently closed the door to the house, intent on not waking any of his family that still slumbered within. He was generally gone before the dawn although with Spring becoming well advanced it was becoming more common to see the dawn attempting to break over the hills surrounding his home before he left. But not this day; the weather had shown that it would be clear today once this fog lifted. "Man, it is really foggy" he thought as he made his way across the deck and to the steps leading down to the driveway.
His first start came when the security light went off as he hit the stairs. "Hm" he thought. "Last night we couldn't get the darn thing to work yet here it is, snapping on when I don't expect it and scaring the crap out of me." Shaking his head he continued down the steps and walked the short distance to his car. He opened the rear door, set his things within, closed it and then got into the car. Cranking the old engine over, he shifted into reverse and backed up. He saw a flash in the tail lights and stomped the brakes. Looking closely, he saw their cat run from behind the car and make its way up the stairs to the safety of the deck. "Stay outta behind me, cat." he mumbled as he continued backing up before turning the wheels and heading off to work.
The morning light failed to make much of an impact through the heavy fog as he drove to work that morning. The river bottom was even darker due to the river's moisture adding to the dense blanket of fog hanging over it. "Man, this stuff is thick as pea soup" he said to himself, slowing down enough to assure himself he was traveling safe. As he came out of the bottom on the other side of the river he breathed a sigh of relief. Then he saw the deer.
Why do they do this? Stand quietly on the side of the road until you get near, then bolt across the highway in front of you? He slammed on his brakes, alternately hoping he would stop in time and that if anyone was approaching from behind him they would stop in time. He saw the deer's hooves slipping as it tried desperately to find purchase on the slick, wet roadway. He got stopped just as the deer's hooves found the traction it needed and the accident was avoided. Muttering to himself he hit the gas again, going just a bit too fast for the conditions.
As he approached the top of the hill, his memory kicked in. There was an intersection just ahead that had had a fatal accident only a couple of days before. It was a blind intersection as the road he was traveling on had a slight rise in the area approaching the crossroad. Someone either stopped and attempting to turn off the highway and onto the crossroad could not be seen by someone approaching on the highway, or someone on the crossroad would be hidden from the person on the highway. A car had pulled out onto the highway and been struck by the person on the highway, killing them instantly. He slowed down yet again and seemingly crawled through the intersection.
Safe and sound on the other side, he sped back up a bit. A mile up ahead was another dangerous intersection much like this past one. There had been a wreck there only yesterday. Two people severely injured and several others less so. He had been caught in the traffic behind that accident on his way home from work for about five minutes before continuing on. That one had come about from some idiot texting and not seeing the car stopped in the highway attempting to turn left onto the crossroad.
He approached this intersection with care and on high alert. The fog made it difficult but after a few anxious seconds he was through. "Alright, nothing else too dangerous between here and work" he said to himself.
Up ahead was one last S curve, across another river, and another mile or so to work. The fog thickened again as he headed into the first part of the curve when it happened. Something caught his left eye's peripheral vision as it approached his side window. He reacted instinctively, yanking his steering wheel to the right and taking his car off the road. Slamming on the brakes, he panicked as he lost control of the vehicle, tires sliding on the wet grass and gravel taking him directly towards the woods on the side of the road. Careening through the trees, he saw a huge tree trunk approaching the car then the impact came. Hard.
His head slammed into the steering wheel. He fought losing consciousness as the blood streamed down his face. His seat belt had held him in position but the impact had been so hard his seat had snapped off its rails and that allowed him to move forward, compressing his chest against the steering wheel. His breath was difficult to draw in and the amount of blood on his face and chest told him he was in trouble. As his breathing became more difficult he knew he was in serious trouble. He struggled to turn his head, wondering what he had seen to make him react like that. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a patch of something white on his driver's side window. Just before the blood eclipsed his vision, he realized what it was.
Bird crap. A bird had crapped while flying over and it had slapped against his window, scaring him into jerking his steering wheel like that thereby causing him to wreck and probably die. He is dying because of bird crap.
What a stupid way to die.