The Screaming Armadillo

Contributor: Kristina England

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Danny and Joe hiked up the mountain trail. Danny nervously balanced from one rock to the next.

Joe shook his head. "Pick up the pace, man."

"Listen, I am accident prone and have asthma. I warned you ahead of time. Go ahead without me. I'll catch up."

"No, you never leave another hiker behind. Besides, you aren't supposed to hike by yourself."

"Says who?"

"Says the official hiking association. Although, I suppose people do it."

"I'd say so. Thoreau would have never written Walden Pond if he brought along a friend. It's the only way you get real peace and quiet."

Joe sighed. "You know, I'm beginning to see Thoreau's reasoning."

Danny stopped. "I have to take my inhaler. Wait, what was that? Oh my God, is that a bee! I'm allergic to bees. Well, I don't know if I am but I hear if you are allergic to dust..."

Joe held his head. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw something move.

"A baby armadillo!"

Danny was sucking at his inhaler and flailing one arm at a mosquito. He exhaled and stopped moving.

"What do we do?"

"What do you mean? I'm going to pick him up."

"You're what?!"

Joe looked at the armadillo, which returned the same curious look. Joe walked slowly over clucking his tongue. Before the baby armadillo could prepare itself, Joe reached down and picked it up. That's when the poor thing let out a scream.

"Rrau! Rrau!"

The screaming got louder as the animal twisted and turned in his hand, fearing an impending doom.

"Oh, I'm sorry, honey," he said putting down the scared animal.

He heard the sound of tree branches snapping and turned around. Somewhere in the distance he saw Danny flailing down the mountain.

He sighed. "Hope he looks out for snakes."

The armadillo grunted, then shuffled away into the woods.

- - -
Kristina England resides in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her poetry and fiction has been published in Gargoyle, New Verse News, Linguistic Erosion, The Story Shack, and other magazines.
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