The Fox

The fox is angry, and when the fox is angry, it digs.

It can’t stop itself; the fox scratches at the walls of its burrow, wanting to go deeper, tiny black paws a blur as dirt flies from the foundation, making the home shaky. The fox understands, on some level, that this is a risk, but when the fox is this angry it has to keep moving, keep digging, otherwise it will turn its claws against itself, rending through the russet fur to get to the tender skin underneath.

When the burrow isn’t enough, the fox goes out to the forest floor and frantically sifts through the soil, making a new hole. A series of holes, actually, each one more ragged and haphazard than the last. The fox is angry because nothing is as it should be. The fox’s mate is absent, its food tastes bland, it’s tired of running the same paths among the trees and going nowhere. The fox wants this anger to fuel it, to help it change, but there is a pressure inside that makes the fox nervous, makes it think that the explosion, when it comes, will be internal.     

The fox knows it cannot control the trees or the birds or the other foxes. It is just sick of taking what it can from the garbage, unfulfilled by the brief, confusing interactions it has with the other creatures in the woods. 

Some days the fox hates everything with a fury that scares it.

It can taste blood in its mouth. It can feel its teeth fasten on necks and claws bury in flesh. It can smell fear, but isn’t sure if it belongs to its prey or itself. The fox is made of fire and wind, but these elements cannot stay contained in an organic body. They will destroy it.

The fox’s paws are stained crimson, its pads are cracking, claws are breaking, but still it digs. And all the while the fox is thinking of nothing and everything, the firestorm inside it threatening to spill from its jaws. The fox must keep going down, gouging through the earth, because there’s a piece of itself buried somewhere and the fox cannot remember where.

Night falls. The fox keeps digging. An owl watches from the trees, patiently waiting for a meal.

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