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Just a Normal Day

by dharker 

Posted: 23 September 2010
Word Count: 546

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The day started as normal... rise at 05:00, toilet, shower, shave, dress then on the road for work. On autopilot, I took the sweeping country roads in my stride, thinking about the day ahead and the usual bag of crock the day promised to bring.

As I rounded a corner, a rabbit shot across the road, forcing me to brake and interrupting my reverie.

“Watch it Bunny!” I exclaimed as it shot off into the hedgerow on the left. Just as I set off once more, another rabbit ran out, followed closely by a fox.

“Watch it Bunny!” I warned again. However, something about that encounter didn't feel right, and for reasons I still don’t quite understand, I decided to stop the car and walk back.

As I approached the corner, another fox ran across the road and headed purposefully up the hill. Close on his tail were a pair of rabbits, a hare and then a badger. Flocks of sparrows, starlings and a couple of sparrowhawks flew over the ever growing procession of wildlife. I stopped, spellbound - in awe of this miraculous pilgrimage. Slowly I walked forward as more and more animals crossed the road, all so intent on their journey that all animosity was lost. There were creatures large and small, those with wings, with legs and those without either; Predator and prey walking and trotting side by side – stoat by rabbit, adder by vole.

I carefully opened a gate and joined the throng; a muntjac deer hind paused, gazed briefly into my eyes and then moved on. I had the strangest feeling that she had just allowed me to accompany her.

As we neared the top of the hill, the animals in front had slowed and stopped. Rank upon rank stood, sat or perched. Reaching the edge of the congregation, I, along with my new muntjac friend, turned around and sat on the cold, damp grass. A fox sitting to my left, briefly sniffed at my arm, looked intently into my eyes and then gently rubbed his jowl against my elbow. I tentatively lifted my hand and ruffled his ear and, seeing me shiver, he shuffled closer to share his warmth.

At that moment all went quiet… The chirping, the snuffling and the bleating stopped; My attention, and that of every living creature on the hillside, drawn to the rising sun. A warm breeze suddenly rose and sighed through the grass, the hedges, and the trees. An overwhelming feeling of euphoria filled my mind and body. Warmth and light seemed to bathe every cell and I felt strangely at peace.

The benediction over as quickly as it had started, animals started to rise to their feet and make their way down the hill. After a moment I too stood and dusted myself down. The muntjac and the fox, my two baptismal buddies, exchanged glances and then walked with me and waited while I closed the gate. Finally back at the road, they stood together briefly watching me walk to my car, then ran off in separate directions.

Back at my car I sat, trying to make sense of all I had just witnessed. Today was Midsummer Day; and I somehow knew that I would never again have "just a normal day”.

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Comments by other Members

Desormais at 08:07 on 23 September 2010  Report this post
This is a lovely magical piece of work Dave, I enjoyed it very much. At first I thought the flight of the animals might herald something sinister happening, but as it evolved it became clear it was something enchanting. I liked the bit about the fox, sniffing and rubbing against the writer's arm. I'm a sucker for stories about animals and this was excellent.

Extremely well written, with a great deal of warmth.

Well done!

tusker at 08:56 on 23 September 2010  Report this post
I loved this too, Dave.

A magical story to enjoy on this grey autumn morning.


Cholero at 10:40 on 23 September 2010  Report this post
Lovely story Dave, beautifully paced and full of memorable images. I especially liked the moment when the fox brushed its jowl against MC's arm after looking intently in his eyes. Properly a 'moment'.

Like the simplicity and fable-like quality; also the understatement and matter-of-factness.

I've got the same thing to say as last time about maybe an over-reliance on stock-phrasing -pretty much the whole piece is made up of a sequence of more or less familiar phrases or colloquialisms. I say this especially because there are some truly great bits of language and rhythm there, eg:
The muntjac and the fox, my two baptismal buddies
stoat by rabbit, adder by vole.

Thanks for an enjoyable read.


Catkin at 11:08 on 23 September 2010  Report this post
Yes, lovely story - it's really sweet! I was drawn in by this, and I really wanted to know what was going to happen. That's most of the battle won, isn't it, when you manage to hook the reader and make him or her want to read on?

I also thought it was going to be something unpleasant, like that story about all the cats leaving Coventry before the big bombing raid, so it was a nice surprise to find out that it wasn't.

I agree with Cholero that there are too many stock phrases, and I think you should think again about using "mentally exclaimed", because the idea of "exclaiming" mentally doesn't seem quite right to me, somehow.

dharker at 11:19 on 23 September 2010  Report this post
Many thanks everyone for all your great comments. Again I have to agree, Pete and Catkin, about the stock phrasing - it's a habit I'm going to have to try harder to break. I tend to write as I speak and I'm sure this is where a lot of this comes from. Please keep on nagging me about it... I'll try harder!


crowspark at 12:46 on 24 September 2010  Report this post
Hi Dave

Another excellent flash. Really enjoyed it. I liked the repetition. Consider (maybe, as this is fairy tale ish watch it bunny watch it foxy, watch it brock although this might be over the top)

Loved the ending.

Re "stock phrases" this can be dealt with during editing. Watch out for mixed metaphors as well ;

Thanks for the read.


Bunbry at 19:30 on 28 September 2010  Report this post
This was great fun Dave! My only reservation was this line
somehow knew that I would never again have "just a normal day”.

Not really sure why, just didn't work for me.

But otherwise great.


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