The lone lamp post of the one-street town flickered, not quite dead but definitely on its way out. Suitcase by her side, she paid no heed to the light, the street or the town. A car was coming down the street and with her arm outstretched and thumb in the air, she had a plan.
A long black shadow slid across the pavement near their feet and the five Venusians, very much startled, looked overhead. They were barely in time to see the huge gray form of the carnivore before it vanished behind a sign atop a nearby building which bore the mystifying information “Pepsi-Cola.”
She was aware that things could go wrong. In fact, she had trained her entire life in anticipation that things would go wrong one day. She had quiet confidence as she started to see that this was the day that all her training would be worthwhile and useful. At this point, she had no idea just how wrong everything would go that day.
She looked at her student wondering if she could ever get through. “You need to learn to think for yourself,” she wanted to tell him. “Your friends are holding you back and bringing you down.” But she didn’t because she knew his friends were all that he had and even if that meant a life of misery, he would never give them up.
I recollect that my first exploit in squirrel-shooting was in a grove of tall walnut-trees that shades one side of the valley. I had wandered into it at noontime, when all nature is peculiarly quiet, and was startled by the roar of my own gun, as it broke the Sabbath stillness around and was prolonged and reverberated by the angry echoes.
She considered the birds to be her friends. She’d put out food for them each morning and then she’d watch as they came to the feeders to gorge themselves for the day. She wondered what they would do if something ever happened to her. Would they miss the meals she provided if she failed to put out the food one morning?

Justin Young
Author: Justin Young

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