The Hunters are Coming

I never forgot the boy with amber eyes, but I wish he forgot about me.

Paw stuck in a trap.
Pull, push, struggle.
Friends are yipping, crying. Why aren’t they running?

The Hunters are coming. Heavy boots, guns and death.

I lock eyes with the golden puppy holding a small red fox by the scruff of her neck. I send out a call of distress, ordering my friends to save themselves. Leave.

The Hunters are coming. Metal spikes, hatred and nets.

I fight once more against the steel jaws, but my leg is broken. A tall Hunter is approaching me. I steal another look at my friends, they’re gone. When I give my attention back to the Hunter, I am met with amber eyes brighter than the fluorescent neon signs lighting this apocalyptic hell.

The Hunter is disproportionate. A small, soft face is hidden behind the respirator hissing in the space between us. Black hair falls forward when he reaches for me, and I snap.

He giggles. “It’s ok, I won’t hurt you.” Dirty fingers move to the mechanism in the trap. I bare my teeth, wary of his kindness. He sounds like a child. Someone like me.
“I’ve never seen a fox like you before, you look special.” He says softly, otherwise focused on his work.

Shouts fold my ears and he hurries. I keep my wary attention on him, listening to his ragged breathing through the mask filtering out smog.

It takes me a second to realize I’m free.

“There, go on.” He says with a satisfied smile, still squatting beside the trap. I slowly stand, holding my game leg close to my side. He shoos me off, footsteps are approaching.

The Hunters are coming.

I take a few tenuous steps to the kind Hunter and lick my blood from his fingers. His hand turns over, and oh, how his eyes brighten when I press my nose to where hard lines intersect in the center of his palm.

Evil, harsh voices bellow from behind him, starkly contrasting the only Human whose ever shown me kindness. “It’s ok, go on.” He says with wet eyes. I take a nervous step back and stare into his eyes, then run away.

I don’t look back.

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