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The Busy Highway

A turtle waits by the side of a busy highway to get across. A rabbit suggests a different choice.

David Gane
David Gane
3 min read
Expedition through the jungle.
Photo by Marcus Dietachmair / Unsplash

☠ Readers beware: This story is from a writing project I did between May 24 to June 24, 2021. The goal was to write a new story every day. Although I'm happy with them, they are first drafts and many could use some work.

The turtle waited by the side of the highway. The traffic zipped past, not slowing down. His friend, the rabbit, raced up and stopped beside him.

“What’s going on?”

“I’m waiting for a break in the cars so I can get across.”

The rabbit looked up and down the busy road. There was no end in sight. “I don’t know. I’ve heard stories that no one in the forest has gotten onto the other side.”

“Well, I must,” the turtle said. “I’ve heard that on the other side, there’s food and lakes to swim in, and I can live my best turtle life.”

“All right, then I’ll wait here with you if that’s okay.”

They stood together, side-by-side, for a very long time, but nothing changed. The rabbit could see the turtle was getting frustrated. He’d stretch his long neck out and look for a break, and when he didn’t find one, he’d take one step and then another to get a better view.

“Don’t get too close. You dying won’t help,” the rabbit cautioned, and the turtle would step back.

But this didn’t appease him, and he grew restless and turned and moved slowly down the highway, looking for a better place to cross. The rabbit accompanied him, occasionally rushing ahead to scout and returning with the bad news. “I do not see anywhere for you to cross.”

“But I have to. The forest is nice, but it’s not giving me my best turtle life.”

They continued to wait long into the night, and the rabbit struggled to stay awake if the turtle got it into his head to cross.

By the following day, they were both exhausted.

The rabbit finally had to ask, “What if the traffic never slows down? How long are you going to wait here?”

“I don’t know. Maybe as long as I must.”

“But you said the forest was nice?”

“Yes, but not as nice as the other side.”

“Well, what if you never get over there? What are you going to do?”

“I... I don’t know. All I know is that over there is my best turtle life.”

“But is there not food over here and places to swim?”

“There is.”

“And I’m over here, and we have good fun, don’t we?”

“We do.”

“So how about we head back to the forest for now?”

The turtle did one final look at the busy line of traffic before reluctantly agreeing. “Fine, but as long as can come back next week and see if the traffic has slowed down.”

“Sounds great.”

The rabbit and the turtle went back into the forest and swam and ate and hung out together. Each week they’d come back and look, but the traffic never slowed down.

Then one day, when the rabbit asked if he wanted to go look, the turtle said, “No, I think I’m fine.”

And they never went again.

Writing Notes:

This story was written last minute because I tried to write for today wasn’t working out. The other story was science fiction, and I’m not sure if I will ever finish and share it.

This one came from a question from the poet Omar Sakr: "Ask yourself: what will you do if things don’t get better, and also the world doesn’t end? Who will you show up for, and how?"

I didn’t really get close enough to the question, but it is the story I went for.

Fast Fiction

David Gane Twitter

Co-writer of the Shepherd and Wolfe young adult mysteries, the internationally award-winning series, and teacher of storytelling and screenwriting.


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