The sky glittered by the stars in the dark night. The moon was full. A dark shadow dashed through the juniper bushes and berries fell onto the fur of the shadowed creature as the bush rustled. The creature entered a clearing where three people were standing, chatting.
“finally you're here,” one of the people said.
“yes at last! we have waited too long this time,” another said.
“yes i know i am sorry” the animal replied, growling.
“oh please! don’t nag her!” one of the women cried and it started to snow as she sobbed.
“oh come on! not this again!” a man said and his hair burst into flames. melting all the snow around him.
“oh! that hurts!! please stop!” the woman cried even harder. ice formed underneath their feet the animal slipped, fell, and yowled in pain.
“alright! cut it out both of you stop that right now!” another man commanded, then slipped.
“fine fine….” the man with fire hair sighed
“i can’t help it.. i hate animal cruelty..” the crying woman sobbed and wiped her eyes with a handkerchief.
“alright enough secrets guys, i have something to tell you,” the animal said suddenly the animal melted and reformed in the shape of a woman “i’m leaving,” the woman blurted out.
silence. there was no response from any of the people. then the silence was broken.
“no!! you can’t leave us!” the person who had cried, gasped.
“she is right Nareen, you can’t leave after all this time” another man said he had huge boots upon his feet and large gloves for making earthquakes. “you already signed a lifelong contract”
“well that is of no concern to me” Nareen growled, turning into a wolf “i can shred it just as quickly” “but.. but then you’ll die! i can’t have you die!! you’re my friend!!!” the woman started to sob again
“oh hush Erin this does not involve you” Nareen hissed, becoming a cat “nobody can stop me from leaving. contract or not,”
“that's not true this involves me completely! you don’t know what's best for me! you are not in charge of me! you guys are my only friends and if one of you leaves then so do I!” Erin protested then blushed. she had never raised her voice or stood up against anyone. but she felt pretty confident.
Nareen took the form of a fox and dashed off towards the forest from which she came. looking back she saw the sad looks on her friends faces. even the man with fire for hair looked upset. I never thought he could be sad. Nareen thought switching her glance to him. she felt guilty. but this was her decision. it was done. she had left. Nareen left behind everything she once knew for her own happiness. at last she reached her destination. It was a small hole to squeeze through especially if you’re expecting young.
“i’m home!” she barked. and a dark shadow crept out from underneath a patch of ferns.
“at last.. i thought you left me” another fox sighed with relief
“oh you know i’d never do that. even if i wanted to keep the pups for myself you know i would tell you first,” Nareen replied brushing her tail along the muzzle of the other fox. tickling him harshly.
It had been two full moons since Nareen left her friends and she was getting weaker. until the day came. She yowled in pain. the pups were coming.
“quick get Phoenix!!” Nareen yowled flinching again “she’ll know what to do!” and male fox dashed out of the cave and ran through the forest. only a few minutes had passed until he re-entered the cave with another fox behind him.
“oh Nareen how i’ve waited for this day to finally come!” the third fox gasped she picked up a large leaf that she had brought. Phoenix trotted over to Nareen, who was lying on her side, and unwrapped her leaf package. herbs fell out and tumbled into the cracks in the dirt floor.
“oh im so sorry about that!” Phoenix stammered “i really should be more careful,” she picked up some of the marigold and yarrow that she had dropped and set them beside Nareen.
“now just breath. and eat some poppy seeds,” Phoenix commanded, nudging some seeds over to Nareen’s eye so that she could see them. “they will ease the pain,”
After three hours of hard struggle finally a little head poked out wriggling vigorously. soon followed by its body, the first pup was born. as soon as it was fully into the world Nareen gave it a quick lick and then passed it to the male fox, he too licked it to help it breath. soon another came. then another, and another. on and on they came out, ready to greet the world. there were seven in all.
“here, smell these,” Phoenix barked as she nudged some freshly picked poppies toward her “you need to rest,” Nareen sniffed and let darkness claim her.
five days had passed since the pups were born. four sons and three she-foxes. the oldest was a son. he was called Bird. the second oldest, a she-fox who was called Crystal. then there was Oak, another son. then Wren another she-fox. the next oldest was a son named shrew. after was the last son, named Storm for the color of his fur. then the youngest was Fern because after she was born she was pushed by Oak through the ferns and onto the muddy ground.
Nareen watched as her pups play wrestled over the dirt floor.
“now stop that both of you! you know that when you play you must play outside!” she barked at Bird and Shrew, who, as soon as they heard their mother’s voice sat as straight as they could.
“yes mama,” they barked back in unison. they stood up trotted over and licked their mother respectfully on the ear and then dashed outside as quick as they could.
“hey! wait for me!” storm shrieked and bounded after his brothers tripping as he went.
after eleven full moons had passed Nareen took her pups to the clearing where she had left her friends so long ago.
“tonight you each are eleven moons old. there is something i must share with you.” she started
“what is it?!” Oak barked
“is it nice?!” yowled Wren
“maybe it's nice maybe it's not you just have to wait and see.” Nareen snapped at her interrupting pups.
“today is the day you must make a choice.”
“but what choice?” Bird asked
“yeah you never told us about this before!” Shrew pointed out. “why did you never tell us before?”
“because you were too young!” Nareen growled these pups where getting on her nerves. “now you are ready. the choice is… do you choose to either stay here with me as a fox OR you can go out and live life as a human. its your choice,”
there was no response. only horrified stares greeted her speech.
“well? we don't have all night you know,” Nareen barked, starting to get annoyed again.
“but mama, excuse me i don't mean to be rude,” Wren started “but why would we want to leave? i mean it's not even like it's possible for foxes to turn into humans,”
many nods greeted her response, the pups thought she was right. Nareen cleared her throat, ready to strike back.
“ah you may be right dear Wren but that's also not true though you did fight well. it is possible to become a human because i am a human,”
many gasps greeted this. Nareen stared out at her terrified pups with an angry glare.
“mama do we have to choose tonight?” Crystal asked. Nareen was sure that her other pups were wondering the same thing but they weren't brave enough to speak up.
“yes you must choose tonight,” she replied “you have until midnight,” she stalked off toward the den.
all the pups came home at one time ready with their decision. “well have you decided yet?” Nareen growled she was starting to get a little annoyed with her pups again.
“yes mama we have decided,” Bird stepped forward to speak for his younger siblings.
“who wants to tell her?” silence none of the pups truly wanted to break their mother’s heart so none spoke up.
“very well i’ll tell her,” Bird replied to the silence “mother we have decided to leave.”