Here it is, in total, the Day 20 story. I hope you enjoy it.
Trumpets sounded in the distance, and the hunt is on. Run, little fox, or the dogs will catch you and the men with their rifles will sight you and shoot you and skin you and eat you.
In many ways, it’s the same as it always was, little fox, but clearly the rules have changed. What was once a fair challenge has been overwhelmingly tilted into the favor of the hunters. Where once you might have had thousands and thousands of acres in which to evade the hunters’ bullets and knives, now there are fences and dangerous highways and other critters fighting for the same safe refuge.
Through the woods, little fox, but lready the dogs have got your scent, and the men on their horses are getting closer. You can smell their rancid stench and hear their excited yells.
There has always been a hunt. Once upon a time, little fox, a man alone would chase your ancestor on foot, armed with a club, perhaps, or a makeshift blade of questionable durability. A man alone chasing a fox, that was a fair contest, and it didn’t always end in bloodshed.
You’re a wily one, little fox, though I’m not sure turning back to their cabin will be of much use. There, they have additional implements of killing, all the tools of cooking, boxes and boxes of ammunition.
There’s a gunshot. They’ve taken a rabbit. I’m sorry, little fox; that might have been your dinner tonight. Yes, there’s a moment of celebration amongst the hunters, but don’t mistake their brief joy for satisfaction. There are not after rabbit, though it would make a fine stew. The hunt is still on.
Ah, I see you’ve already got a way of getting inside the cabin, so even if they locked the doors you’re safely inside. Look around, little fox. See if there’s anything to help you. The dogs are fast on your trail. You haven’t got much by way of time.
The hunters circle the cabin in two groups, surrounding it from both directions. I count five of them, little fox, and three dogs, too many to fight on your own.
I wonder: are you alone, little fox?
You’re desperate. The dogs won’t stop barking. Two of the hunters have dismounted and approach the door. What will they do to you, little fox, if they catch you alive? The dogs have found your point of entrance. There’s no way out of the cabin.
Obviously, little fox, you are done running, and you’ve transformed, taking on your feminine aspect, which an age ago might have been a surprise to these hunters but not today.
I admit, little fox, you are a beautiful creature.
They’re inside, the two of them, and you’re waiting for them, gloriously nude, perfectly displayed, and even seasoned hunters such as these can be momentarily distracted by such fine, delicate grace. They don’t even see the rifle in your hands, one of their own, until you’ve pulled the trigger. Crafty little fox. You’re quick enough with the second shot, and accurate with both, but the other three, the younger hunters, less experienced but more emotional, come quick behind them, weapons already raised.
The next shot takes out the middle hunter. Sly little fox, you didn’t fire it. The front hunter, surprised, turns but never fully realizes what has happened. Your shot is low this time, and you must shoot again lest you needlessly and mercilessly prolong his agony.
You drop the rifle after that. You run to the last hunter. He opens his arms to catch your embrace. You kiss each other, the hunter and the little fox in human guise, the forbidden lovers. You shut the door to keep out the dogs. You have fresh rabbit for stew. You have the warmth of his mortal body, nearly as perfect in its masculinity as yours in its femininity. You’re both strong, and your lovemaking wild, and you feed your hunter the most incredible of dreams.
In the morning, little fox, you leave him, and in pity you give the dogs the leftover rabbit, and you go back to your own world.
But I know your secret, little fox, your secret hunter lover. I know your passions go deep. I know how it breaks your heart to leave him.
I feel sad for you, little fox, but I will keep your secret. For now.