The Fox's Eyes

A girl in love. An epic tranformation. And a boy's mistake.


1. Transformation


The final firework of the New Year’s show showered glitter into the lake. Xavier pulled Lorelai close as they started walking to the car. He smelt so safe, so familiar like home, a warming musky sort of scent.  Reaching the little beaten-up car, Xavier opened her door, and she ducked under his arm. As she sat on the passenger seat, she adjusted the newspaper that always stayed there to stop the springs from jabbing her thighs as they spilled out of the gaping mouth in the seat. As Xavier sat in the driver’s seat, and turned on the ignition Lorelai studied her reflection in her window. She had flowing auburn hair, a pale bronze to her skin and her eyes were large angular almonds. Her eyes were so defined and striking, like they were surrounded by eyeliner, and her irises were golden like honey or light shining through autumn leaves.

An announcement came over the crackly radio, about a new Amelia Earhart exhibit at the museum. Lorelai and Xavier sat in comfortable silence, listening to the radio on the short drive to Lorelai’s house. It was an old wooden house, painted a dusty blue and covered in flowering vines. Xavier kissed Lorelai goodbye and she hopped out of the car and waved goodbye as he peeled out of the drive. She would see Xavier tomorrow as they were going on a hunting trip with Xavier’s father, Aaron.  Xavier’s mother detested everything about hunting, so instead she was going to Paris for a week of shopping, sight-seeing and spa treatments. Lorelai also didn’t like fox hunting, but she loved the outdoors and Xavier loved hunting, and of course a week with her boyfriend sounded like a dream.

. . .

The trees were beautiful, gnarled dancers frozen in their poses. Lorelai breathed in deeply, the air was moist and woody, and left her feeling fresh and alive. Xavier and Aaron had left early in the morning bustling and grunting, with their guns and bullets. Fighting over whose fault it was that they had forgotten the coffee. Lorelai padded out of her sleeping bag and one-man tent a few minutes after the boys had thudded off. Xavier had left a sweet but unnecessary note saying that they had left some bacon and eggs, and that they had gone hunting for rabbits. They wouldn’t be back till late that night as that is when the foxes come out.

Lorelai headed for the nearby lake, it was large and clear like turquoise glass. She hung her towel on a nearby tree and delicately dipped her toe into the water to test the temperature, before plunging into the depths. She began to float along, singing and splashing and enjoying the peace. Suddenly a small red creature peeked out from the woods, it padded silently but quickly towards the lake. As it got closer Lorelai noticed its auburn hair, the way it walked with grace and elegance. Lorelai noticed its sharp ears, and small black nose, its long fluffy tail like a plume. And its eyes. Striking. Golden.  The fox stared at Lorelai unmoving, unblinking for a full minute before scampering back into the woods with a flick of its tail. It left no trace, as if it were never there.

. . .

In the evening when the woods were even more tranquil, Lorelai got herself organised for bed, despite the early hour, Xavier and Aaron wouldn’t be back for hours. She crawled into her little blue tent and under the covers, pulling her old sleeping bag up to her neck and curling up in a ball to sleep.

The haunting hoot of an owl awoke Lorelai from a twisted dream in which she relived seeing the fox at the lake. Except in the dream, she was the fox, looking at herself in human form swimming in the lake. Opening her eyes, her vision was faulty; the world looked washed out, like it was drained of most colour. She tried to stand up, but lost her balance. I must be sick or something.  She crawled out of the tent and padded to the lake, to wash her face. When she reached the lake she glimpsed her reflection in the lake. Her face was covered in rusty fur, her ears were sharp and on top of her head.  Her lips and nose had been replaced with a furry muzzle with a small, wet, black nose. A line went from the bottom of her nose between two sets of whiskers and turning into her mouth like an upside-down ‘Y’. And her teeth, like a dog’s, sharp white triangles of varying lengths. She was walking on her front and back paws, she could feel her claws, retracted inside her paws. And she sensed her tail drooping on the ground. Hesitantly she lifted her tail and swayed it, left and right, left and right, like a flag. Her eyes, they were the same golden honey colour, and they were still unbelievably striking, only now they were larger and her pupils were a wide slit. This can’t be happening… I’m still dreaming.

Behind her a twig snapped it was so impossibly loud in her new ears, she twisted her head towards the sound. Behind her stood Xavier, in his pyjamas… holding a gun. It’s me, Xavier! It’s still me! Lorelai screamed, but all that came out was a piercing howl. Xavier looked at the fox in front of him, it was beautiful. The luminescent moonlight glowed off its fur. And it eyes, they looked almost familiar, in fact Xavier could have sworn that he’d seen those eyes before… somewhere, they seemed to be pleading with him. Xavier hesitated, momentarily and then slowly raised his gun.

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