I pant heavily as I dashed into the cold cavern, the icicles and clear crystals that lined the walls, floors and ceilings twinkled slowly in an unheard rhythm. The sounds of water hitting shallow puddles resounded throughout the entire cave. My thick fox tail flagged behind me rapidly, the thickened fur showed my agitation so well. Quickly I spun around to see if the red furred kit was still following me. My son, my one and only.
He was nothing but a ball of fluff at this point, panic in his eyes as he stepped under me and tickled my belly. Looking up from under me, his wide eyes on mine. “D-Dad, what were those?!” He gave a squeak of a bark.
“A-ah...those...are hunters.” I whined as I heard the sound of a fox scream echo out in the night. A sound that I’m naturally used to. But on this day, it’s a sound that destroys my spirit. “Humans that set traps to capture us for....” I lowered my ears and panted as my kit looked out of the small opening we’d just come through. The shrill barking was suddenly cut short. “I thought we’d be safe out here.”
My son looked up at me again, his ears flat and tears in his eyes.
The look broke my heart as I turned and looked about the cavern, the ever reddening evening sky, casting new shades through the crystals as they continued their silent chorus. The deeper we walked, the colder it got. And after a run like that, it was much needed. I watched the glittering crystals as I walked deeper dripping blood.
My ears turned towards my son but I didn’t answer immediately.
“Daddy? W-Where’s Momma?” The cub whispered again.
I stopped in front of a spire of ice and laid down, using my tail to cover the ripped skin on my leg. “She’s…” I felt the words catch painfully in my throat and lowered my head, tears falling and froze on the ground. “She’s continued the journey.” I whispered and pulled my son closely, hissing as my leg stung.
“But maybe if we go back!” He struggled free and went to leave the cave the way we came out. Quickly grabbing his tail between my teeth, I held him back.
“Son! It’s too late.” I say with hesitation. I wish that it wasn’t true, that we could go back and save her. But she knew that there was nothing I could have done. I did what I could, biting and pawing uselessly, but the trap wouldn’t come open to free her.
I promised her that I would take care of our son. To help him grow into a strong tod. I promised, and I’m going to keep that promise. “We’re going to find a sanctuary, son. I promise. This time we’ll be safe.” I said in a soft whisper. I didn’t know how much I could keep that promise, with humans further taking over the wilds, it’d only be a matter of time.
“But....” He saw the look in my eyes and stopped, lowering his head again and pressed himself against my stomach. I know he could hear my heart beating and my ragged breath. “I’m sorry Dad.” He commented and whispered and laid down against my stomach.
“We’ll rest just a few moments…then we’ll get moving.” I gently groom his fur smooth again, calming him. I breathed slower, feeling tired. The voice in the back of my head told me to keep awake, screaming at me. Grooming my son’s fur was the only thing keeping me from fully falling asleep.
After several long minutes, he shifted. His eyes looked down my stomach and saw the pool of blood starting to form under my legs. “D-Daddy...you’re hurt!” He said sharply and jerked up, pulling my tail aside with his mouth. The graze from the bullet wasn’t hurting anymore. Honestly, I couldn’t feel much of my leg. “Dad! What can I do! I want to help!” He cried out, new tears forming in his eyes and dripping down his cheek.
Looking up into the crystals and icicles again, my ears twitched, almost hearing the music that they were twinkling to. Sighing I shake my head. “I’ll be okay.” I pause. “Just outside the caves.” I whisper weakly, feeling my body grow heavy. “There’s a flowering plant, bring me a couple leaves.” I finish and nod, turning my head back to the crystals, laying fully flat on my side. I listen to the fading music as my son goes to collect the leaves. They’ll help, or I hope they will.
From between the crags of ice came a dark green wisp that slowly drifted closer to me.
You must get up.
I heard it whisper. My tail twitched and exposed my wound once more.
Just a little more, hon.
“I’m so tired…” I replied.
I know. But I’m here with you, my love.
“I just want to sleep.”
Our son will be back any second. You will be here to take him to safety.
She was speaking so sternly now.
“I tried...I couldn’t...” I hissed strongly as I felt an icy feeling in my leg, looking down as all the blood that pooled around me started retreating and running into the wound on my leg. Behind it, the flesh stitched together with a green glow. The shape of my mate grew out of the shapeless flame as it neared me. Her tail wrapped around my leg and gently squeezed as she shifted to lay against my back. Her body was hot against my fur, filling me with energy.
You can do this love. You have the strength.
I felt the heat build throughout my body, her form was fading and sinking into my body. Her tail melded with my leg with one more gentle squeeze. From her tail, her hips dissolved next, marking my red fur luminescent green with the shape of her form. She nuzzled into my head, giving a gentle murr before her form sank fully into mine.
I love you both with all my heart.
She whispered before disappearing completely into my form. I stood up, shaking at first, but quickly finding my right footing. My son came in seconds later, holding the leaves in his mouth. Seeing me standing, his mouth gaped and the plants dropped to the floor. “Da-dad. you’re okay? How?” He came to my back leg to investigate the dark green band around my wound.
“Your mother…she...” I whispered quietly. He blinked at me and nodded slowly, seeming to need no more to understand. “We’re just about there. Let’s keep going, my kit.” I leaned down and licked his head softly and we began walking towards the opening to the other side, a more remote forest where we could be safe once again. I looked back once more, seeing the crystals continuing their silent, solemn orchestra. ~
So I'm still in the progress of writing my giant project of a story, so in the mean time, I've decided to get a few smaller ideas out of my head to help space out uploads a bit closer:
That said, this story is a small scene that I have whenever I hear this song: https://youtu.be/poDTxwiZ1L4 Of a kit and his father escaping danger together.