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Maybe if I hadn’t been so very tired that night, I wouldn’t have hit him.

Maybe if I hadn’t be thinking about the very long day I’d just had, I wouldn’t have been a distracted driver.

But I had been tired, I had been distracted. And that deer had stood, like the big dumb animals they are, right in the middle of the road, caught in my headlights, staring at me as my 45 mile per hour four door Chevy plowed right into him. Maybe, if I’d been paying attention, the big dumb animal wouldn’t have sailed right through my windshield head first, landing squarely in my passenger seat.

I’d stared at the animal and watched as his eyes glazed over, antlers going every which direction, blood pooling in the seat. I looked at him in shock, dazed and confused, and continued to stare as his mouth opened and closed.

And then I heard him speak. “We—“, he breathed. “We’ve been trying to warn you—” he wheezed, kicked the air over my cracked dash, and took his last strangled breath.

I looked on at the dead animal in my seat, then finally said aloud the last thing I remember. “Whuuuuuut.” Everything promptly went black.