Sleeping rough, series 3 – Episode 3: Vixen

I remember taking refuge in the light of the flames as they tried to fly off the very wood that was giving life to them. They danced rhythmically to their own song of cracks, whispers and roars. Sparks would blaze off as if a mad fox dug his snout into the core of the fireplace and shook it around like live prey, every time a kid carelessly threw another one of my precious blocks of wood in there. That shattering of one light into hundreds of pieces swiftly drifting upward hypnotised me into a carefree state of accepting. This was it. I never really owned that wood in the first place. How can you own anything at all that is as temporary as a log of dry wood in a blazing bonfire?

But the fire did not go unnoticed, which was exactly what I was afraid of. I saw the beams of headlights of a car approach the scene and I quickly moved from the top of the dune to a safer position away from the path. The car parked close by. Engine running and the headlights aiming for the dune hole. From underneath some shrubs I could see two foresters approach the happy party of kids. The beams from their torches swaying through the night sky. They lit up some mist as it was flowing in from he sea again. The kids had no idea.

As the two men reached the kids, everybody quickly came to their senses again. They got themselves quickly dressed properly and dropped all of the burning joints, pushing them underneath the sand with the tip of their shoes or tossing them into the fire. They grouped around the grouching foresters. I heard the voice of one of the foresters go loud and rough. The kids were all very quiet. The music switched off. There was just the sound of the burning wood in the bonfire, the booming voice of one of the foresters and the faint humming of the car engine running. The kids received a proper dressing down. That much was obvious. Then they were to put out the fire. Some kids started to kick sand over it, but one of the boys, the one who earlier had found the firewood, went into the bunker. He came out with my blanket. Oh, dear, no, don’t. Please. I need that thing.

As the blanket was put over the fire with some more sand, it quickly extinguished. What was left, was a thick and smelly column of smoke, the light of some torches waving through the night sky and the subdued voices of the kids who were picking up their things, getting ready to leave. The foresters guided them down the path to the main road. I heard them talking. The swaying of some camping lights in there hands as they walked off into the dark, reminded me of a scene from Snow White. It made me laugh just as some of the kids were laughing again too.

As the kids moved towards town, their doing disappeared from my senses.

The two foresters came back into the dune hole and inspected the scene a bit. One of them scanned the surroundings of the site minutely with the pale and narrow, but bright beam of his torch. A poor mimicking of the lighthouse that shone its light over the shore in a calm and steady manner. I crawled a bit backwards and laid as low as I could. The light of the torch missed me. The other forester made very sure the fire was all out. Then he went inside the bunker. As he came out again, he put the boards back in place in the entrance. And he then too scanned the area with his torch for a bit. The light missed me again. They kicked some more sand into the fireplace. When they were satisfied all was safe and quiet they started to walk away. The swaying of the light from their torches ahead of their moving into the dark. The two men talked with each other as they walked back to their car, but I could not make out what they were saying.


I sat down in a corner of the bunker wrapped in my beach towel. All was ruined now. The blanket was gone. My stash of firewood was almost completely gone. I could not find my pan anywhere. What was worse is that the kid’s party had made the foresters aware of the bunker being open and in use. I was sure they would come back any day now to clear it out and board it up properly, denying access to so much as the fiery and fierce look of the shrewd vixen I had seen moving about the place lately.

I took firm hold of my legs, my knees all up to my chin. I laid my forehead down on my knees and tried to fall asleep. I could feel the damp from the mist was already covering my hair. I shivered. O come sleep, please, help me out now. Come take me away.


Next episode

Whole story


About Jikai

Living a life of blessed less where my feet support my walk and my hands create my story. View all posts by Jikai

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