Life and a Bottle

Prom had finally arrived in the small city of Frontwater and all the students were bustling around to arrive on time. Husky Robert was dressed in his high school’s colors, a black tuxedo with a yellow undershirt with a red rose corsage on the front. He had brushed his black and white fur more carefully than normal for this special occasion and made sure that everything was perfect about his outfit. As he drove down the road he glanced to the side, seeing a couple in nice prom attire walk into a bar.

How could anyone be so stupid? Robert thought to himself, twitching his tail. The only reason anyone drinks is to get away from their lives and hide, and what’s the point in hiding here? Everything is so diverse and everyone is accepted. Just look at my best friend! He’s a cat.

Drinking had never appealed to Robert even though he had tried it a few times before, only once ever going over the limit with it. He shook his head at the memories and focused back onto the road. Oh well, I am not going to let someone else’s bad choice ruin one of the most important nights of my high school career.

After a few minutes Robert pulled into the parking lot of hotell where the prom was being held. His light blue eyes scanned the cars as he tried to find a rusted red truck amongst the newer vehicles. Instead he spotted its owner, a russet cat that stood next to two girls that Robert recognized but could not name. Great, he’s at it again.

Robert pulled into a space that was not too far away and stepped out the car. “Hey Austin, have any luck?” He asked with a smile, seeing that his friend was now alone.

“Shut up. When I score one of these days, you’re going to wish you listened to my tips,” Austin laughed, fixing his corsage. Austin’s suit was not as nice as some of the others around, but it was a lot considering his family’s income. “So, are we going in or not? You know that I can’t leave my date waiting.”

“Last time I checked, you didn’t have a date.”

“That doesn’t mean I can’t find one inside.”

Robert shook his head and the two started to walk towards the front door. The hotel’s lobby was decorated in the school’s colors, and large posters on the walls guided the students towards the dance. At the front desk, an older lynx that Robert recognized as Mrs. Gardner stood to be sure that only Tributary High students went in. As Robert and Austin padded to the front desk, Mrs. Gardner smiled and nodded at the two.

“Hello boys,” she cooed, flipping through a small book on the desk to check their names off. “You both look very nice this evening.” She adjusted her glasses and gave them both a warming smile. Even though Robert and Austin had opposing opinions about her, they both nodded and thanked her for the compliment. “Oh and I’m sure you both have done your essays before you came here, correct?”

“Yep,” Robert answered, wagging his tail slightly. Over the course of the year, he had come to love Mrs. Gardner’s class and had learned more from her than any teacher before. It was thanks to her that he had decided to go to college the following semester.

“I’ll get to it eventually,” Austin sighed, starting to walk off towards the party. Robert rolled his eyes and followed, but Mrs. Gardner quickly stopped him.

“Robert, can I speak to you for a few minutes before you go?” Robert stopped and walked back over to the front desk, looking back to see that Austin had not waited on him. Mrs. Gardner reached into the desk and pulled out a small envelope that was adorned with a college seal. “I received this from West Oakland University today.”

Robert’s heart stopped as he looked at the envelope that contained his future. Of all the colleges he had applied to, West Oakland had the most prestige and the best professors. He gazed at it for several seconds before taking it from his teacher and opening it, making sure not to ruin it. His eyes began to scan down the page, quickly picking out certain parts to read. “Dear Mr. Robert Tarrison, we are pleased to inform you that we are accepting you to West Oakland University… and you will be receiving our Scholars of the Future Scholarship, which will award you $15,000 per year for four years….”

Mrs. Gardner’s smile brightened as Robert stood speechless. I-I really just got accepted? To West Oakland University!? And I got $15,000 a year!? “I…this is amazing!” he finally said to her. “Thank you so much for helping me!”

“Of course,” she said, sighing softly “I’m a teacher for a reason. I’m always glad to hear when my students succeed. Now, enjoy your evening and make sure you’re careful.” Robert nodded and trotted into the large ballroom with a smile stretching across his face.

With a quick scan of the room, Robert finally found Austin talking to a small group of girls near the drink table. Will he ever learn? He walked through the crowd of people, trying not to step on anyone’s dress. Just as Robert arrived, the girls walked away and Austin shook his head, growling softly. “Fine… don’t need you anyways.”

“Having fun yet?” Robert asked, patting his friend’s shoulder.

“Oh yeah, just loads and loads of fun,” Austin said sarcastically, shaking his head. Robert laughed and looked around for some of their other friends. He quickly found two of them, a dark furred horse boy and a taller skunk girl. The same time he saw her, the girl spotted him and waved.

“Robert! Austin! Over here,” she said over the crowd, pulling the horse with her towards them.

“Hey June,” Robert said, looking from her to the boy, “and Aaron. How are you two?” Austin seemed too busy looking for his next target to notice that more of his friends had arrived.

“We’re good, and you’re looking really nice tonight. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you in a suit before,” she quickly said. “So, what’s up?”

“I just got accepted into West Oakland,” he answered proudly. June congratulated him over his new achievement and the three began to talk about each of their plans for college.

“Hopefully I’m going to be accepted into Viewport,” Aaron sighed, shaking his head. “They have one of the best football teams in the country and I want to play Tight End there.”

“I already told you that you will. Why wouldn’t they?” June said casually, sipping the drink she had picked up half way through the conversation. “Anyways, do you guys want to go get a group photo? They look great and the photographer is selling them cheap.”

“Sound good to me,” Robert replied, reaching into his back pocket and finding nothing. “Great… I left my wallet in my car. I’ll be right back. Do you mind waiting for me?”

“Sure, we’ll stay right here,” June said happily as Robert waved and walked back through the crowd. He headed out of the lobby into the parking lot, looking around to see if it was safe to cross the street to his car. It had quieted down since he had gone in to the point of almost no one being there except for a few late arrivals. He opened the driver’s side door of his car and found his wallet sitting in one of the cup holders.

This makes how many times that I’ve left this here? He thought to himself with a chuckle, before closing the door and walking back towards hotell. After a few steps away from his car, a bright light hit his peripheral vision. His head snapped towards the large truck that was speeding towards him. He stopped, watching the light swerve as it grew closer. Shouldn’t they be slowing down now? And why are they swerving so much-

At that second he realized that the driver was not going to stop and there was no time to move. Robert could not tell how high he was thrown into the air, but as he hit the ground he felt excruciating pain. The truck screeched to a stop as Robert gasped for air and darkness began to take over his vision. He tried to move his body but quickly found that all he could do was twitch.

Slowly he began to fade back and forth between consciousness and darkness, only catching bits and pieces of what was happening. He heard the sirens and people talking around him about how his condition was bad and how the driver was drunk. I knew drinking was no good…. This just proves it. Then he felt himself riding with sirens around him, unsure about where he was but realizing that the pain had gone away. In the background he heard two people talking about how there was not much time left and that they were losing him. He coughed and thought to himself So much for college… and so much for me. He softly chuckled to himself before his life slipped away. All because one person thought it was a good idea to drink….





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