Moth convinces Bear not to eat Fox

Bear trudges around the deadfall. She had been hibernating for 101 days before a thunderclap woke her during during the night.

She is stiff and starving. She wobbles every other step. Sticks and dry grass coat her coat. She sniffs her way through the bush, around trees and boulders and ditches formed by frost heave. She spots Fox’s bushy tail.

Fox and Moose had been travelling day and night, also starving, seeking any kind of sustenance, and trying to keep up inane conversation to distract them from their empty bellies. They collapsed at dusk beside giant boulders- the same boulders where Bear had made her den.

Bear decides to eat Fox. She sees that Fox is sleeping and steps extremely slowly, so slowly it takes her 20 minutes to get close. When she gets close, she steps even more slowly, being careful not to step on branches and make that ‘cracking’ sound that would be sure to wake Fox.

She sees Moose fast asleep as well, but knows that Fox would be a tastier treat. She imagines the sinuous muscle of Fox’s upper legs, the bountiful endless innards of her abdomen that could quench her hibernation induced hunger. She licks her snout and inches toward Fox’s curled up body.

“You know, composure is all we have as animals in the forest,” says Moth, now perched beside Bear’s ear.

Bear, unaware that an insect had taken refuge in her fur, pretends not to hear Moth.

“I KNOW YOU CAN HEAR ME BEAR. COMPOSURE. IS. ALL. THAT. WE. HAVE,” shouts Moth directly into Bear’s ear.

“Buzz off,” whispers Bear.

“I’m a moth. I don’t buzz, I flit,” replies Moth.

“Flit off then. I haven’t eaten for however long. It is not time to talk to me about, about, about, what?” she asks.

“Composure. It’s all we have in the forest. It’s like restraint you know. You don’t have to eat that fox, and you certainly don’t have to eat fox while he sleeps. He’s just an animal like you, and probably hungry like you. Eating him while he sleeps. That is not a fair fight. I don’t like it. And I’m not going stand here, right beside your ear, and watch while you eat this animal like some sort of….like some sort of wild animal,” retorts Moth.

“I am a wild animal,” Bear says.

“It’s easy to call yourself a wild animal while you are licking your lips, about to fill your belly with another animal, but I know you land animals. I have seen you walk by one another, no eating, just nodding at one another. I have seen you help one another. So, wild animal sounds good now, but I know you aren’t wild all day every day. You were just snoozing for months on end. You’re not so ‘wild’ and ‘ravenous’ as you let on.”

“I am just saying, Bear. Wild Bear, Tame Bear, Hungry Bear. Call yourself whatever you want, but you do not need to eat this fox without the decency of allowing him to run, or or or, to fight back.”

Just then, Fox rouses awake and rolls his body into a crouching position, stares up at Bear, and bares her teeth. She would normally run away, but she is so startled that she runs at Bear. Bear, now trying to swat Moth off her head, doesn’t notice Fox as he leaps upward and snaps her mouth closed around Bear’s snout.

“Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrooooooaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr,” screams Bear.

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