by Molly Flynn
Your father brought a fox home in a cardboard box. He says it’s domesticated, but that does not mean you’re safe – after all, when did you trust your father?
When approaching the fox, do not make eye contact, but be constantly aware of its gaze. Pay particular attention if the eyes appear glazed and there’s a strong odour exploring the back of your throat.
Yes, the one that reminds you of Sunday afternoons, glancing between the TV and your father before retreating to your bedroom and hiding under the covers.
If the fox’s mouth twitches, freeze where you’re crouched. Try not to whimper. It only draws attention and can cause the animal to become irritated.
Avoid causing irritation – at all costs.
Don’t reach out your hand.
Don’t crawl closer.
When the lips shape a snarl, curl small and imagine turning into the furniture. Preferably the footstool that sits ignored in the garage – the one your father rejected because it kept getting under his feet. Remember: your vulnerability is your strength.
If the snarl turns into a growl, move slowly backwards. Do not make eye contact.
If the growl turns into a roar, forget about your strengths and your weaknesses. Run.
When you make it to the dark, safe cave of your duvet, remind yourself: the fox is not domesticated. It will not sleep curled against you or cuddle you when you cry. The fox bites.
Molly Flynn writes short stories and novels and is soon to begin a BA in English Literature.