Out-Foxed

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: BoMoWriCha Prompts


Written for a BoMoWriCha prompt, to write a story where your main character is an animal.

Submitted: June 22, 2018

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Submitted: June 22, 2018

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Out-Foxed

My senses are what keep me alive. I am always looking, always listening and always sniffing for any sign of danger. I have learned to sleep with one eye open and one ear up. I always position myself so that the wind blows straight up my nostrils. There are so many predators to be wary of, especially man.

It’s a nice day, warm and quiet. The breeze is gentle, nothing much more than a gentle caress against my fur. It feels unthreatening and so I will venture further than normal away from my den. I know just where I’ll head towards, off to the fields where I can breathe in the freedom while looking for my dinner.

The grass is high, almost as tall as I am. I wade my way through it and it is only when I sit up, raise my head, that I can see above it. It is just a sea of green and dried out brown. The summer has been a hot one and the grass, just like those that live in it, has found it hard to survive.

Many of the small brooks and streams have completely dried up and the water levels in the nearby lakes and rivers have receded. I, for one, will not be sad to see a return to the rains of autumn.

Barking in the distance! It’s a long way off, though. I believe I can safely ignore it, so I sit there and survey my surroundings. Nothing catches my interest, so I stand back up, stretch, then saunter casually away across the field.

But maybe I’ve been too hasty in dismissing the barking as inconsequential. There is definitely more than one dog and they sound like they have got closer, nearer. I turn to head back to my den but I’m not going to be able to. They are between me and my place of safety! What am I going to do?

There’s no time to think, to consider. I just need to trust in my instincts and go where my mind tells me to go. I lengthen my stride, trying to put on a spurt of speed to increase the distance between me and the dogs.

My heart thumps wildly as I hear the tone of their barks change. They are howling now, clearly excited. And that can only mean one thing. They have picked up my scent and are on my trail. I now know exactly what it feels like to become the hunted.

Zigzagging wildly in an effort to throw them off, I race my way across the field. The baying is at so many pitches. There are at least eight hounds in hot pursuit, maybe even more. I can’t hear hoof beats, can’t pick up the vibrations from the ground, so at least the human element are on foot, although no doubt they are carrying those fire sticks of theirs.

I’m glad the grass is long, but I know that still it will not hide me completely. My movements will make the blades move and sway, but they are not above me, those hunters, not in the sky. Maybe they will be blind to that tell-tale sign.

Ahead is a house, a farmyard. The last thing I want to do is to head towards a place of human habitation but what choice do I have. Those dogs are too close behind me for an attempt to find elsewhere. I’ll just have to hope that somewhere inside that yard there will be somewhere that I can take shelter. I only need to wait until they have passed on by and then I can make my way back to my den.

I make a mad dash into the yard, leaping between the bars of the gate. It’s not going to keep them out, I’m not fooled in to believing that for one moment. After all, if I got through, so can they.

Frantically scanning now, I am terrified to hear a door open, to hear someone step outside. I am expecting to hear shouts, have to duck things being thrown towards me, but instead a door is flung open. Why do I go inside? Desperation perhaps, but as soon as I am through the door it slams shut behind me and now I am trapped.

What do I do? What any other cornered animal would do, I guess; I move as far in to the furthest corner and curl up as small as I can. There’s nothing that I can do apart from tremble and listen to the victorious baying outside. Any second that door is going to open and I’m going to be ripped apart by all those sharp teeth.

Instead I hear shouting, angry, confrontational. I wish I could understand the words being said. The door stays shut and the dogs are now moving away. I can hear the disappointment in their barks, so close to the kill they could no doubt taste my blood.

Silence, so what now? I’m still trapped, unable to escape, to make my way back home. I stand up, circle around in movements of ever-increasing size, constantly sniffing, alert.

When the door begins to open, I am back in that corner, curled up tight. Nothing good can come of this, can it? I wish that I could just disappear.

The light streams inside the shed, the door now wide open. There are two humans outside, keeping their distance but still looking at me. One of them is much bigger than the other. Like a vixen and cub, I guess. They are just watching though, not shouting, not threatening; their voices are soft.

Slowly my trembling subsides enough for me to get up on my feet. To get out of the door I’m going to have to get closer to those humans. Can I trust them? If they meant me harm they would not have saved me from the dogs, so I stand up and all my instincts scream against what I am about to do.

With my body trembling so much I can barely walk, I approach the door. Slowly, slowly, and then I make a mad dash through that door and past those humans and out in to freedom.

I’m tempted to continue in my mad dash but instead, I pause, turn and look back. Without them I would be dead by now. I cannot thank them but I’m hoping that glance will convey those feelings, before I run back across the field towards my home.

 

(1087 words).


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