“Go home, Matt,” said his angel, swooping in front of him. “Lay down next to Mommy and take a nice nap.”
He grunted a negation, not wanting to move his slobbery fist, and kept walking. A whispering, rushing, humming sound slithered up the hill behind him.
“Matt! Over here!” The angel flew off to the side of the road, hovering over the ditch. He’d take a tumble, but the ground was soft and it was safer than what was coming. Matt shook his head and veered away, farther into the road. The noise grew louder.
A rustle of leaves. Beyond the ditch, a squirrel stood, acorn in its paws. “Matt! Look, Matt! Kitty!” Angels are not allowed to lie — but to Matt, all little animals were kitty. Speaking Toddler is allowed.
“Kitty!” Matt grinned and turned off the road, falling into the ditch as the angel backed up to observe and the speeding car topped the hill—
Matt’s wail snapped Mommy awake in an instant. In a panic, she slammed the screen door open and pelted up the road, finding Matt trying to climb out of the muddy ditch. “Matt!” she snatched him up. “What are you doing out here? Look at you—you’re all muddy! You’re getting a bath, then you’re going into your crib until you have a nap, and I don’t care how much you cry about it—”
Something in the road caught Mommy’s eye: a small crumpled white thing. A wing poked up from the heap. “You’d think the chicken trucks would do a better job keeping them in the cages,” she muttered. She turned and took her son home.