Fox Call

Image of Joshua Eller

Joshua Eller

27 readings

4

Finalist
Jury Selection

I stood on the cusp of the cliff and let the wind run through my fur. The waves struck the cliff down below as I looked out at the storm looming over the ocean, a force powerful enough to blacken the furthest sky and grey the rest of it down to my den. I sat gently as I looked out over the water and pondered the tales my mother had told me as a kit. As I did my tail coasted smoothly through the lush green grass around me, I closed my eyes and furrowed my brow as memories rushed back to me.
“Did you know that the sky can speak little Fáin?” Éire’s tender voice echoed in my mind.
“Really? Who does it talk to?” The reply caused Éire to chuckle.
“You don’t understand Fáin, it doesn’t talk. It speaks.”
“What’s the difference mum?”
“Well son, when two people talk, they use words to tell each other things.” She paused for a moment as she pondered just how to explain it to a kit.
“When something speaks it doesn’t use words it just- speaks. When something speaks it rarely lies. In all my years I have had many creatures tell me stories and fibs, but the sky and ground have always spoken truths.”

Her lovely voice faded as the thunder in the distance cracked my concentration and peeled open my watery eyes. I sighed as I let myself fall to a lying position with my paws dangling over the edge. I never understood quite what mother meant by that, I guess I never would. I used my left paw wrapped in white to push dirt off the edge and into the violent eb and flow below. I watched intently as the dirt fell, rapidly gaining speed with every second as it drove towards its turbulent fate below. At the water it disappeared into the dark fury of blue and white foam. The thunder clapped seconds after as if the sky was giving a eulogy. I lied there, waiting for the thunder to call again. If it would provide respects for a mere piece of ground, then perhaps it had just yet to find the words for my mother.

I stared out waiting as the storm drew near the sky turning from a watery grey to deep fierce blue. With a sigh I began to pick myself up when I heard a voice out beyond the storm, it was muffled by the waves and the storm, but the tone was clear and present. My eyes widened and my heart raced, I wasn’t sure what to do. I perked my ears up and turned them towards the horizon and tried to focus out beyond the clouds that polluted the sky.

“Éire was one of the sweetest Vixens, in both beauty and in spirit. In her life she did many things, provided for her family, saved lives, and always helped those who needed her. Despite everything that happened, she remained a beacon of hope in the world around her.” As the sky spoke, I could feel my eyes welling up and my heart churning inside my chest. My breath was shortened in both wonder and sorrow as the voice continued.
“Éire was wonderful and irreplaceable; she will be missed dearly. Although sad she has left us a wonderful legacy to remember her by, one to be carried by her children.” I was sobbing at this point, I could do it, couldn’t I? I could help keep Éire’s soul alive. This realization sent a wave of peace and warmth down my orange fur, until the voice continued.
“Her children Milis and Grá will carry her spirit and her kind, gentle heart through to the next generation.” I sat there awestruck for a moment before jumping to my feet and yelling back at the sky.
“And me?” An anxious shiver encapsulated my voice as I shouted.
“Who?”
“Fáin, the last son and second kit of Éire!” The sky laughed violently in mocking, before giving its cruel reply.
“By birth maybe, but the resemblance is indistinguishable.”
“What does that mean?”
“You embody nothing that your mother stood for.” The sky mocked as the wind grew bitter and wet causing my ears to burn as it brushed them.
“No! That isn’t true, I’ve tried to be a good soul to my family and to others in the same way Éire was!” I screamed towards the mounting black clouds on the horizon. Despite the crashing of the waves and the whistling of the wind the sky’s voice remained crisp and potent.
“Really? I think your sister and your brother would disagree.”
“You’re wrong, you don’t-”
“Poor Milis who was betrayed and turned away every time he attempted to help. Sweet Grá who just needed someone there for her, someone that you’re averse to being despite her being that for you. They would tell you how wrong you are and how wicked of a soul you have. And if your kits were still of this place, they would not hesitate to do the same.” The tone was harsh and fierce, echoed by the deep colors that flooded the world around me.
“I-” I began a retort before realizing the truth which closed my muzzle and sank my heart.
“You know as well as I do, you are unworthy to call yourself son of Éire and for as long as you live, you will always be. She would be incredibly disappointed with you.” With a flash of lightning and stroke of thunder the sky fell silent and the world came to a halt. The words of my mother came back with piercing clarity, burning through my skull with every syllable.
“But the sky and ground have always spoken truths.” The words tore through my head as the lightning tore through the sky in front of me. As tears poured from my eyes, I saw the rocky face of the cliff being stripped by the raging torrent below. I realized the waves were purifying the cliffs, the old worn rocks were being consumed by the sea so that the new, worthy rocks behind them could be seen. The wind was frigid and edged at this point, whipping through my fur and cutting into my heart and bones. Just then I heard a voice yelling out for me from behind, I knew it was not the sky because the voice was muffled by the wind and the rain.

“Fáin! Fáin, where are you?” Grá’s soft and gentle tone was actively strained to reach out towards me. I turned slightly towards her and our gazes met. She could see into my eyes the myriad of emotions that plagued my mind.
“Fáin! Please come back the storm is getting dangerous.” She called out above the howl of the wind and the fresh patter of rain. I turned my body around to face her, in the deep greys that surrounded us her orange fur glowed, radiating color to the dapper environment that she inhabited. Grá’s face expressed how cold she was shivering with a gust of wind. I looked at the ground becoming wet with a fresh coat of rainfall and decided to be honest with my sister.
“I’m sorry Grá I can’t come back.” Grá gazed in anxiety and confusion.
“What are you talking about Fáin?”
“I’m old and unworthy.”
“Fáin please, you’re scaring me.” Grá whimpered as she drew towards me timidly.
“Grá I love you, but I can’t love like mum. I will never be able to live up to her legacy, I will never be worthy to carry her name. So, I must leave and make way for the rocks that lie below.” I turned away from my sister as tears flooded my face. I looked off into the sky which had turned pitch black. I gazed at the raging ocean below and prepared to give myself to the tides.

With a sudden shock I was tackled to the ground, lying on my side the soft paws of my sister wrapped around me tightly as she yelled into my ear.
“What are you talking about! Why on earth would you ever think that?” I pushed her off gently and looked her dead in the eyes.
“The sky told me, and mum always said that the sky never lies.”
“Fáin, the sky can’t talk.”
“No but it can speak.”
“It can’t Fáin, you don’t understand.”
“But it can! I heard it!” I screamed as we sat across from each other, the downpour drenching our coats.
“Then it was wrong. You try at every turn to live like Éire and even though you could never be her, everything you did made her proud.” I stared into my sister’s eyes, I’m not sure how but I think she told the truth. We sat for a moment letting the rain wash over us ensuring the cutting winds froze us to our cores. I peered over the cliff and paused. I made up my mind and gave a quiver of a smile before embracing Grá tightly.

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Image of Victoria LaBarre
Victoria LaBarre · ago
This was really interesting! I'm trying to set a meet up between the story authors (no matter who wins) so we can meet each other on UTA campus, would you be interested/ what time are you free this Friday?
Image of Chasidah Fried
Chasidah Fried · ago
You had me at "Fur" :") Good Luck
Image of Helianthus Sorceress
Helianthus Sorceress · ago
This is a unique way of framing a character’s perspective and goes through the theme of loss pretty well. Pleasant read overall.