Cheeky

Cheeky 2.2.17 20140821_154023.jpg

I appeared on earth at Easter, along with my brother and sister. The bushes which were our home provided some shelter from the rain and wind. Normally we slept during the day but at night we would go out foraging; sometimes all the family together, sometimes independently.

Like all siblings we fought over the best bits when we found food. I was bigger than both my brother and sister so usually got the lion’s share unless Dad was around, then I had to wait my turn with the others. Our sharp teeth made a black sack or take away container easy to rip open. When we screamed at each other, people would open windows and throw things at us so it was safer to run off and hide.

Although we explored our surrounding area, we always returned home. There were cats living near us but on the whole we tolerated each other; it was the dogs that were our enemy. Even though they weren’t in hunting packs, they still attacked if we strayed into their environment.

The winter months were the hardest, when the trees lost their leaves and our shelter was more exposed. Despite my fur the cold and the rain made me shiver, and I huddled up with the others for extra warmth. My long, bushy tail curled round my face and paws to keep some heat in.

We were often treated as pests but we caught and ate vermin, so they should have been grateful to us.  A few individuals even put out food but we were wary; it could be poisoned. One day a lady come into the garden and stood watching me. My siblings ran away but I stayed, knowing I could run quicker than her if I needed to escape.

She went back inside but came out a few minutes later with something that smelled good. Even though she spoke and moved quietly I kept my distance. When she threw a piece of chicken towards me I didn’t try to get it straight away. We looked at each other for a few minutes then she turned her back. I took my chance, grabbed the chicken, ran up the ladder in front of shed, over the fence, through the gap in the hedge and settled down to eat in the seclusion of home.

After that I made a point of being in her garden at around the same time each day. When she noticed me she always went into the kitchen, found something tasty and threw it to me. Gradually I learnt to trust her and came closer each time she offered me something to eat. She always spoke in the same soft voice, and although at first I didn’t understand the words, I began to accept that she meant me no harm.

All through that summer I grew big and strong, and even ventured through her open conservatory door to sit and wait for my evening meal. She laughed at my cheek but always managed to find something to give me. I preferred the meat, but sometimes it was only bread or fruit which I didn’t enjoy so much.

As it turned to autumn and then winter it got colder and more difficult to find other food, so I was grateful for the scraps. It became my usual routine to return every day, but sometimes the doors were closed and the house in darkness so I knew she wasn’t there.

Then I had to resort to routing through the dustbins in the early hours of the morning, and risk people throwing missiles at me if I made a noise. Occasionally I had to run for my life when I saw car lights approaching and threatening to run me over.

As I matured I met a female who was on heat. Our screams as we were mating attracted even more attention than usual, but soon I had my own family. I still visited the lady, and one day I even showed her my wife and three pups. They hadn’t learnt to trust her so they stayed in the background, but she smiled when she saw them. I noticed that afterwards she put out extra food for my family.

The average life of an urban fox is about three years. I was getting close to having spent that amount of time here, so I knew it wouldn’t be long before my departure. It had been a confusing but interesting experiment. I had been hated, hunted and reviled but also shown kindness, sympathy and understanding.

The vagaries of the human beings would be hard to explain to my superiors when the ship arrived to take me back to my home planet. It would be a relief to revert to my own shape and intelligence. My mission was accomplished. Despite the information I could provide I didn’t think the elders would accept Earth as a place for our genus to inhabit.

Maybe in another millennium humans will have adapted enough to allow other species to share their world in peace, but for now it was just too dangerous. Meanwhile we would continue to monitor the foxes. When they were treated with respect we might reconsider our decision to share the knowledge of how we managed to co-exist on our own world.

 

© Voinks February 2017

 

 

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