January 22, 2018

FAIRY TALE FLASH - Memory is a Fox by Laila Amado

Sometimes I remember being a fox.
The night forest was open to me...
Sometimes I remember being a fox. The night forest was open to me, full of smells, sounds and stories. Crawling through the undergrowth, I heard all its rustles and whispers: the dry shuffling of lizards, the wispy shivers of fallen leaves, the slow unraveling of milky green shoots. Drawn by the soft little things squeaking in the dark and the anxious throbbing of their hot hearts, I slid through the tall grasses. I remember petals tickling my belly in the meadows, when the summer air was thick with the syrupy scent of blooming clovers. 

Memory summons winters when my fur grew full and luscious, the white tip of my tail swishing across the snowy ridges of the abandoned fields.
He was a good man. He saw a wounded fox slinking painfully across the far edge of his garden, the poor critter with one paw mauled so badly it was hanging by a thread. He brought out milk in a little bowl and let me hide from my pursuers in the shed. His mouth was soft, his eyes were the color of buckwheat honey, and there was a quiet sadness in the way he moved. I let him bandage my paw with clean linen - his hands cool and gentle against my wounded flesh.
His wife, she was not so kind. This was one evil woman he took to his bed. She screeched and whined, and clawed at his soul, and she smelled of other men as she came for me with a scythe in her hand. But scythe or no scythe, a mere mortal was never a match for the kitsune and the veins in her throat were so close to the skin. I tore her up and licked her bones clean, I took in her essence and I now wear her face.
He is a good man. He told the priest that the gods had heard his prayers, that for all the sleepless nights and for all the gifts laid at their altars, and for all the red ribbons tied to the branches of the holy trees, his wife’s heart has mellowed and her love for him is so sweet.
I clean and I cook, and I keep all evil away from his house. There are pots to scrub and plates to wash, clothes to mend and garden to weed. And when the day is through and all things are done, I stand over our child’s bed. In the light of the lantern, her hair is a mass of dark coils, her face is upturned and the veins in her throat are so close to the skin. He calls me and I go to him. He is a good man but I still remember being a fox sometimes.
Laila Amado is a migrating scientist, a mother, and a misfit. Occasionally, she writes fiction. 
Follow her on Twitter @onbonbon7 
Cover Layout by Amanda Bergloff @AmandaBergloff
Check out Jude's novelette:


AMOffenwanger said...

Very beautifully written, and an unexpected plot. Thank you for sharing this!

Guy S. Ricketts said...

Ooooh, wonderfully done! I will remember this story for a long time to come!

Shobana said...

Brilliant - loved the style of writing especially.

Paul said...

Enjoyed that :)

Jane Dougherty said...

I'm a fan of foxes so I loved this story.

Unknown said...

Riveting with intense striking images. And a happy ending.