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Stranger, Take My Helping Hand

Chapter Text

It is not in the nature of foxes to be storytellers, though they may lie when it suits them. Rather, they share what they know to be real – real enough, as a fox sees it. Where and how to bite. What pieces to eat first. The sounds to make to warn off others from the danger they themselves are in. And if it is the case, when to cry out not with warning but with a promise. To call out to each other what creatures to follow along after, and what might well be promised to them for having followed.

Foxes are clever creatures. They are clever enough to know when they are not the swiftest or the strongest, or even the creature most capable of fully understanding the world.

What might well be promised, for some very clever foxes of a very careful place, is a rare meal always worth the chance it might come. A rich meal, a meal for days to come; soft, sweet, the gentle meat torn and gorged upon, swallowed down still warm. The creature most capable, the creature which feasted first – as is meant to be, here in this place, this creature is always to feast first – sits back from the meat, having had its fill.

A gentle feasting for this one, though no less complete; not the pieces but the blood.

A strange feasting, to the foxes; a creature feasting on those much like itself.

When the creature feasts on those not entirely like itself, its eyes shimmer and its fangs shine. When the creature sits back, to let the foxes and ravens and all manner of other hungry beasts come and take their turns, its eyes and fangs slide away until its next hunt and the next feast.

The foxes which follow along after the creature are not given to curiosity about from where it might have come. Foxes have long memories, but not long enough to carry the creature’s arrival. Foxes live in the long moment, with no great intentions for what might yet come to pass and what has since come before. As they know the world, as they see it to be real, the creature is simply what exists, much like snow and much like trees.

Sometimes the creature sings. Not as a fox might sing, though sometimes it comes close enough to fool them – a suitable lie, as a fox might see it, as a fox might sing back to be certain and unknowingly play to the lying of things. Sometimes the creature speaks, as the other ones like it speak. Never to the other ones as they speak to each other, stomping their boots and rattling their guns. This one speaks to those only it can see, to call out their joy and sorrow and pain, sounds even a fox can understand. Sometimes the creature runs, spinning through the breaks in between the trees, along the empty roads and through the ruins, a happiness from being placed in the world.

The creature is careful in its hunts, being alone. This suits the foxes. That is as fits the world, being careful when hunting alone. It is swift in its hunts. This suits the foxes as well; quickly killing for the best meals.

What does not suit the foxes is the day the creature disappears, and with it, the soft, sweet, gently eaten feasts.

But foxes lie as it suits them, and believe that one day it might yet return to them.