In the backseat Fortune starts to think about how he is really going to miss swimming at the pool and the cool splash of a big cannonball.
The color of the road signs, the leaves of the trees, the blue of the sky move together as the van speeds west across the highway. Fortune has trouble jumping over things with his fingers because of how fast they are going.
His fingers trip and fall and suddenly he is caught up in a forest.
Fortune doesn’t recognize anything around him. All he knows is that he is surrounded by woods and he can make out only two colors: brown and green.
Jeff speeds up to pass another car and the trees around Fortune speed up too. There are brief moments when Fortune looks out his window and can see straight into the center of the forest.
He imagines the bears and moose that are eating there and how green everything must be around them. He thinks about what it would be like to hear the growl of a bear up close and not just on the Discovery Channel. His hands are on his stomach and his stomach is making noises. The noises make him think about what it would be like to eat grass all the time and never even know what a chicken finger or a chocolate milkshake was.
Can the animals see him from where they are? Are they looking out from the woods into the road back at him? Are they jumping his van with their paws?
Fortune knows they can hear the roar of the engines and the sound of the horns and that is most likely why they are hiding. He thinks they must be able to smell blood and death coming off of the pavement of the highway. Animals have a really good sense of smell. They have probably lost family members to semi trucks and vans like the one Fortune is in. Fortune doesn’t blame them for being scared of the road. He is scared of places where things die too.
His pillow feels soft against his chest in his arms. He closes his eyes and dreams about what it would be like to become America’s very first highway crossing guard for animals.