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Authors: Alissa York

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BOOK: Fauna
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“Shit!” He brakes hard, the truck fishtailing sickeningly before it judders to a halt. “Shit, did I hit it?”

But Edal’s already out of the cab, walking stiffly, miserably, back to what she knows she will find: the shell cracked along its latitudes, blood rising up through the faults. She knows the best she can hope for is that it’s already dead—that neither she nor Guy will be obliged to deliver the final, merciful blow.

She can see now it’s larger than she thought. This is no pretty, painted thing. Mud-dark and twice the size of the one Letty killed, this can only be a snapping turtle—most likely a female loaded with eggs. She’ll have to be careful if it’s still alive.

Glancing back, she sees Guy bent over into the back of the cab, doubtless digging beneath their hastily packed bags
for his shovel and bin. Yes, she thinks, the least we can do is clean up the carnage, prevent the body from becoming an ugly, unrecognizable smear.

She gets as close as she dares. She was right, it is a snapping turtle, an ancient, weighty mother in search of this year’s nest. And she was wrong—the shell isn’t cracked, it’s perfect. In fact, every part of it appears miraculously unharmed.

Guy’s still a ways back, but not so far that he can’t read the look on her face. He lets out a whoop. Lets everything drop and comes running, his arms rising up at his sides.


Many thanks to the following individuals for sharing their time and expertise: Sergeant Ben York, B.C. Conservation Officer Service; Gary W. Colgan, Director, Wildlife Enforcement, Enforcement Branch, Ontario Region, Environment Canada; John Almond, Area Supervisor, Halton-Peel-Toronto Area, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources; Ryan Gold of A. Gold & Sons Ltd. scrapyard in Chatham, Ontario; Mara Sternberg and the staff of the Veterinary Emergency Clinic; Tracy McKenzie and the staff of the Animal Rehabilitation Centre; Lieutenant Commander Albert Wong, Senior Public Affairs Officer, Department of National Defence; Linda Coleman, Communications Advisor, Department of National Defence; Michael Mesure, Executive Director, Fatal Light Awareness Program; Dr. Ronald Brooks, Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph; Alan Macnaughton, Toronto Entomologists Association; Ian McConachie, Senior Communicator, Toronto Humane Society; Tara Harper, Bruce Peninsula National Park; Dr. Robin Love; John Routh.

In addition to these walking, talking sources, several books and websites deserve special mention:
Ring of Bright Water
by Gavin Maxwell;
Kipling: A Selection of His Stories and Poems
, edited by John Beecroft;
Watership Down
Richard Adams;
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
by C.S. Lewis;
Wild Animals I Have Known
by Ernest Thompson Seton;
White Fang
by Jack London;
Toronto the Wild: Field Notes of an Urban Naturalist
by Wayne Grady;
A Little Wilderness: The Natural History of Toronto
by Bill Ivy;
The Beast in the Garden: A Modern Parable of Man and Nature
by David Baron;
The Nature of Coyotes: Voice of the Wilderness
by Wayne Grady;
Raccoons: A Natural History
by Samuel I. Zeveloff;
Raccoons: In Folklore, History and Today’s Backyards
by Virginia C. Holmgren;
Just Bats
by M. Brock Fenton;
The World of the Fox
by Rebecca L. Grambo;
A Wing in the Door: Adventures with a Red-tailed Hawk
by Peri Phillips McQuay;
Ontario Birds
by L.L. Snyder;
Outside the Wire: The War in Afghanistan in the Words of Its Participants
, edited by Kevin Patterson and Jane Warren;
Fifteen Days: Stories of Bravery, Friendship, Life and Death from Inside the New Canadian Army
by Christie Blatchford; Fatal Light Awareness Program at
; Don Watcher at
; DND and the Canadian Forces at
; the Cardiomyopathy Association at

My thanks to the Canada Council for the Arts for their support during the writing of this book.

Once again, I’m deeply grateful to the dream team at Random House Canada and Vintage Canada, especially my treasured editor, Anne Collins, who never misses a trick.

Special thanks and welcome to my agent, Ellen Levine.

As always, heartfelt thanks to my beloved family and friends. To my husband, Clive, as much love and gratitude as twenty-one years can hold.

’s fiction has won the Journey Prize and the Bronwen Wallace Award, and has been published in Canada, the U.S., France, Holland and Italy. Her most recent novel,
, was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. York has lived all over Canada and now makes her home in Toronto with her husband, the writer and filmmaker Clive Holden.

Copyright © 2010 Alissa York

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review. Published in 2010 by Random House Canada, a division of Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto. Distributed in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited.

Random House Canada and colophon are registered trademarks.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

Every reasonable effort has been made to locate and acknowledge the owners of copyright material reproduced in this volume. The publishers would welcome any information regarding errors or omissions.

Excerpts appear from
Watership Down
by Richard Adams © 1972, HarperCollins Publishers
Ring of Bright Water
by Gavin Maxwell © 1960, Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
by CS Lewis © 1950, The CS Lewis Company Ltd.

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
York, Alissa
Fauna / Alissa York.
eISBN: 978-0-307-37570-4
I. Title.
PS8597.O46F37 2010     C813′.54     C2010-901384-0


BOOK: Fauna
3.54Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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