In the Light of Day

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In the Light of Day

Post by Brute on Thu Jan 30, 2014 2:12 pm

As the bright, golden sun rises over the mountain range, the birds begin whistling in the trees. The yellow rays light every dark corner of the forest, and touch upon the most glistening dew. Drops of water drip from the highest branches of the green trees, and a stream trickles from a spring on the side of one mountain ridge.

A flash of bright orange, accompanied by a bark, indicates the presence of a red fox. He, Vulpes, has been living in this area for a long time, with his mate, Ferox. They own a den in the ridge, and this spring has come with three new pups. The pups are always hungry, and Vulpes is always out finding food for his mate.

A vole cautiously crawls over a bed of moss, its small pink nose twitching. Vulpes notes the smell, and his ears flick forward, catching the small noise. Soon, his bright orange optics focus on the unfortunate, and he leaps forward, his paws and claws extended.

As the male returns to the den with his prey, the morning moves quickly on. The birds silence themselves and begin their daily routines of foraging for food and feeding their chicks. Time goes fast in the light of day, and it is extremely important to be as energy-efficient as possible. A lone wolf pads elegantly through the forest, and, fortunately for the fox family, doesn’t notice the smell of fox in the area.

At the den, the pups are waking. Ferox climbs out of the den, energized from a heavy sleep and ready for another exhausting day. The pups exit the den one at a time-- a deep orange male, Keen-Eye; a light orange female, Marigold; and, finally, a jet-black female, Nightingale. Keen-Eye, the largest and the strongest, play-bows to his favourite littermate, Nightingale. She eagerly leaps forward with a high-pitched yip. The smallest and shyest kit, Marigold, hangs back, unsure, then runs to the safety of her mother.

Vulpes runs the rest of the way; his sensitive ears had detected Nightingale’s yip. Keen-Eye and Nightingale, followed by Marigold, run to greet him. The father wades through his pups to Ferox, who accepts the vole he brought her. Then he eagerly greets his pups, running his tongue over their soft fur. They nudge his muzzle in reply, and yap and whine softly.

Vulpes leaves the den site to go hunting again, while his mate eats her vole and watches over the pups. Nightingale gets bored and runs off to play by herself in the ferns. Keen-Eye play-bows to Marigold, but, after she runs away to the safety of her mother, wanders off. He leaps up the slope, then spots Nightingale in the ferns. He stalks her, careful not to make a sound, then runs and tackles her from the back. She yelps, and they begin another play-fight. Ferox nudges Marigold in the direction of the two, but her pup resists and comes back. Marigold is the runt, and therefore the weakest. She will not live for a long time in the wild, after leaving her parents. Nightingale and Keen-Eye are strong pups, but their pelts are both beautiful and desired by human hunters. Both foxes are strong and fast, but with Keen-Eye’s rich orange coat and Nightingale’s black one, they will be lucky if they live long enough to have pups.

Vulpes returns with a mouse, and Ferox gulps it down easily. Marigold sniffs through Ferox’s belly fur, and begins to nurse. Soon, however, the two biggest pups run back to their mother, and Marigold is pushed aside. When she thinks the pups are done nursing, she stands up and walks away. She leaps up onto a nearly boulder and sits down. The pups attempt to climb onto the large rock, but Nightingale and Keen-Eye get bored, and promptly run off to play. Marigold lies down in the leaves at the bottom of the rock, laying her little head on her dark paws.

The father had caught an unfortunate bluejay, and returns to his family with the blue bird in his jaws. Once again, the pups eagerly run to greet him. This time, he does not give his prey to his mate, but to his pups. Keen-Eye snatches it first, and runs off into the trees. Nightingale madly dashes off after him, and, after a short scuffle in the leaves, parades out of the bushes holding her trophy high.

The afternoon passes quickly, and the bluejay is exchanged multiple times. A wingle dangles from a tendon attached to the shoulder. Marigold makes a move, and gets hold of the wing. Keen-Eye, who was the one chewing on it, yanks on the body, and unintentionally loses Marigold’s wing. Nightingale tackles Keen-Eye, and tries to get back the bird that she so many times lost. Ferox watches her pups play, then leaps off the boulder, into the woods. She returns shortly with a mouse, which she downs. Her mate sits above the den entrance, then tips his maw to the sky and yodels. His orange optics seem to catch fire in the sunset. Ferox notices the waning daylight, and gathers her pups around for a final nurse. Then she urges her pups into the den, and goes in after them. Vulpes watches the sun sink below the horizon, then retires until the morning comes, with new happenings in the light of day.

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Brute
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