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Sika deer wander the empty streets and subway stations of Nara, Japan. Racoons play in the surf at a vacated Panama beach. Wild turkeys scratch around a playground in California.

The pandemic has emptied out our public spaces… of people, that is. But this era of isolation has changed the lives of animals, too. With so many of us shuttered indoors, non-human creatures have shown up in all sorts of new places. For this prompt, step into an animal’s shoes (or hooves, paws, talons!), and write from their perspective during the Covid-19 pandemic. What would your creature of choice notice about its surroundings, newly deserted by humans? 

To get a sense of how to inhabit an animal’s POV (point of view), read the passages below from The Silver Brumby series, by Elyne Mitchell. Notice all the sensory details Mitchell uses to take us into the perspective of the wild horses. 

From The Silver Brumby:

Thowra and Storm were naturally very frightened of men and dogs because they had been hunted by them, but they were also very curious. 

After they had been some weeks in the Cascades, they gathered up their courage and climbed onto the little knoll where the stockmen’s slab and shingle hut stood above the creek. Though it had been empty for a long time now, there were still strange smells lurking round it (...)

Thowra sniffed all round the hut. He was looking for something but he didn’t know what. The cold wind blew a tin billy that had been left hanging under the eaves of the hut. As it swung towards Thowra he jumped backwards and Storm snorted with amusement. 

‘Let’s go,’ he said. ‘There’s nothing here. The sky looks very peculiar, and the others are a long way off.’