As the day went on the storm grew larger by the minute.
The light drizzle first attracted the kids. Jumping in the forming puddles, they danced around. Then came the downpour, when all the children ran to their homes seeking shelter as the storm grew fierce. The nearby creek began to fill to the brim, held back only by sandbags placed earlier in the day. The wind was whipping up, the previously light breeze turning into a violent force, ripping signs out of the ground and knocking trees on their sides.
In the midst of the storm was Carlos, a squirrel about the size of a soup can, only weighing around a pound. His dark short fur caused him to become colder by the minute as he struggled to hold on to life amid his little yelps for help. All his friends had gone to seek shelter in a nearby hollowed tree, yet he was swept away by a gust of wind, dropping him in a man’s yard.
He knew that if he wanted to ever see the light of day again he would have to fight the pain and get into a safe place. So Carlos crawled to the doorstep and lay down; protected by the overhang, he let out a deep sigh of relief. Assuming no one would see him, Carlos sprawled out on top of the house's doormat. It may have been damp from the occasional whiff of rain blown into the doorstep but it sure beat the pooling grass and the hypothermic temperatures.
Little did he know a man inside the house noticed him. He had been peering through the window watching Carlos attempt to get comfortable as the storm raged on, contemplating if he should help or not. Suddenly, the man opened the door slowly to see Carlos shaking from the cold, eyes closed, barely breathing.
The man looked down at him with a empathetic gaze.
Now being a squirrel Carlos couldn’t really talk to the man so all he did was shake his little head and reach for the man.
Suddenly, the man decided to scoop him up in his hand and brought him inside. As Carlos was brought in he was dumbfounded by the size of the house. It looked like a small condo on the outside, yet once he was inside it was like a luxury mansion. The house was all lit up with the heat blasting, alternative music playing dimly, and the weather channel on his TV. He walked over to what appeared to be a pile of small towels, grabbing one and wrapping Carlos up in one.
As Carlos lay on the countertop he began trying to figure out what was going. Why had a random stranger just taken him in and decided to help him?
But as the man was inspecting Carlos’ fur, he noticed the bite mark of the Vesuvian tick, a greenish-red welt that began to crust. And that’s when the man, his eyes glazing with sadness, knew -- today was Carlos’ last.