Monday, March 28, 2011

The Fox

“Wake up,” my father said. “I have something to show you."

In my bunk bed, in the dark, I only saw his thin face. The rest of his body below me and gone.

“Where’s mom?”


“Can we wake her?”

“We can’t.”

He rubbed his dark eyes and scratched his thick stubble.

“Come,” he said. “There’s not much time.”

We drove in his truck along the dirt road. No lights where we lived, only houses then fields.

“Where we going?”

“You’ll see.”



The clouds in the sky covered the moon and the stars. The trees at our sides were moving but still. Only a dim light from the truck to shine on our path.

“One day,” my father said. “One day. One day.”

The truck pulled over and my father got out. He didn’t ask me to follow, but I knew that I should. I was in my pajamas; cold, no jacket. My father took out his long riffle.

“Look,” he said. There was a fox at my side. Its body was mangled, but its face still alive. It turned back and forth, blinking and moaning. Its eyes bright blue, wide and afraid.

“You see it?” he said. “Look at it long.”

And I looked at it. We both did. We both could say nothing.

“It came out of nowhere. I couldn’t miss it. I couldn’t.”

He adjusted the gun and rubbed his dark eyes. He nodded. I nodded. The the bullet stung both my ears.

At home he was smiling, I saw dents in his teeth. He lifted me high and put me in bed. Higher and higher up to my bunk. He hadn’t lifted me so high in so many years.

“I love you, boy. Remember, I do.”

My eyes were closed, but I knew he was there. Just his face at my side. His body below me. His body was gone. Humming all night a song that didn’t exist.

In the morning was mother.

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