The Seven Five Nothing

The Seven Five Nothing are a collection of hyper-short stories, each written in a single sitting with no editting.

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13. Elephant.

I remember the day there was an elephant in our street. I woke up to find my best friend Ricky banging on the door. He'd seen it first and couldn't believe his eyes. He quickly came running to my house to tell me, and so, I threw on some clothes and ran out the house to see if it was really true.

Our parents were still asleep and it was just after dawn, but I was sure that Ricky's knocking must have woken up my whole house. I didn't wait to explain - I just ran out the house.

'I saw it!' he yelled, running a few feet ahead of me. 'It was right outside the window.' He picked up the pace and I chased after him. It wasn't very long till I saw it too.

It was incredible. Right there, right in front of us, a baby elephant. He was stood outside somebody's house, rooting around in their rose bush.

'I can't believe it,' I said, my eyes wide.
'I know,' Ricky replied. 'I told you I saw it.'

We watched the little elephant in awe as he pulled mischieviously at the rose bush. He was only as tall as my shoulders, maybe six months old when I think back on it. It was obvious he was hungry, this was breakfast. Around his eyes, painted circles of blue, and swirls of more blue paint on his behind. His floppy ears shook as he tugged at the bush, that strong trunk pulling and pulling.

'Where do you think he's came from?' I asked.
'I don't know. The zoo maybe.'

And then the elephant pulled off a part of the bush and continued along the street.

We followed, giggling at the wondrous absurdity. Soon, a man walking his dog saw the elephant too, and he looked at us to check whether he was seeing what he thought he had seen.

'Yes,' Ricky said, 'it's an elephant. An elephant in our street'

After a while, the word spread and soon there were twenty of us following the elephant. We walked, laughing and amazed by the surreal sight of a painted elephant walking through suburbia first thing in the morning.

A few minutes more and there were twice as many people behind him, and it grew and it grew. Before I knew it, I couldn't count how many people were following the elephant.

'I think he came from the circus,' one lady said.
'No,' said another, 'they put them in cages too tight to escape.'
'The zoo,' somebody else said.
'We should call the police,' came another.

And after a while, there were as many theories and solutions as there were people, everybody seemingly with their own idea of what to do with the elephant who was now well beyond our street.

It was a carnival, almost. The sky warming slowly, hundreds of people walking behind the baby elephant, smiling and soaking up the wonder. If we'd wanted to, it wouldn't have taken much to stop the baby elephant from wandering, maybe a couple of men could have stopped him, or a lady with some fruit. But whatever it was, nobody took the opportunity to. Instead, we all walked behind, waiting to see where he would go.

'He's going home,' said a voice. 'It must be the zoo, because the zoo is that way.'
'Why would he be going back to the zoo?' another dismissed. 'He's run away for a reason.'
'Maybe somebody let him out by accident. Maybe they sabotaged his cage.' And so the voices went on and on. And soon, the people had stopped, arguing more and more about where he was from, where he was going, what to do with him. Ricky and I kept following, and the group got smaller, as more and more they focused on their own voices, looking at each other rather than the baby elephant.

And then we realised were he was going. It was me that saw it first, the road.

'He's going to be hit!' I shouted. But the adults kept talking, louder and louder.
'You're right...' Ricky was panicked. 'The elephant is going to be run over!' But the adults didn't hear us, and they were no longer looking at the elephant.

Ricky and I chased him, trying to get to him in time. But we were too small to do anything, and when it happened, it was the saddest thing I'd ever seen in my life.

As the hundreds stood around the scene, nobody knew what to do. The sun came up and the crowds drifted away. Ricky and I watched them take the elephant away, and we wondered why nobody had helped him before it was too late.
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