Jeanette saw the body first and breathed a low sigh. Her husband, Will, at the wheel, noticed but kept his eyes on the road. Their sharp-eyed young twins, Jane and Teresa, quickly spotted it too.
“There’s another one!” Jane said.
“Oh, no!” Teresa moaned. “That’s the third one since we left home.”
The car whooshed by the corpse, neatly composed in the shoulder, and yet they all got a good look at it.
“Why does that happen, Daddy?” Teresa asked.
“They don’t seem to understand what cars are. They just run out in front of them.”
“Why don’t they stay at home where they belong?” Jane asked, looking at her mother.
“It’s hard to say, dear. Sometimes they run away from home. Their families can’t or don’t take care of them. Often they just don’t have homes. They’re out looking for food and shelter and they accidentally get killed.”
“That’s terrible,” Teresa declared. “Why doesn’t somebody help them?”
“There are too many, honey,” Will said. “And you could never know where they all were to help them, even if there was enough time and money. It’s sad, but there’s nothing that can be done, really.”
There was a silence in the car for about a mile, filled only by the engine’s whine and the thud of the tires rolling across the broken and pitted highway pavement.
“He was a nice-looking boy,” Jane said. “For a boy, anyway,” she quickly amended.
“The girls we saw first were pretty, too,” Teresa said. “I hope there aren’t any more dead kids on the road today.”
“I hope that too,” Jeanette said. “But that’s just part of life. Here, though, let’s not let it spoil our fun trip. Shall we play a game of Highway Alphabet?”
The girls bounced in their seats and began scouring the landscape for something beginning with an “A.”