From the author.
I need to thank my friend Mattie or Matilda. Pitching ideas back and forth, she helped me get past my writer’s block. Tossing bad ideas and keeping good ones.
The slow pitter patter echoed through the hallway. Just before the bang against the window.
Lola knew there was a bang. Or maybe it was one of those mental echoes that wake you up at night. She got out of bed and moved to the window, looking down onto the playground.
She heard the old metal creaking as the carousel turned slowly. No one was there, but someone had been there.
The voice was quiet and calm. Young and wise. It was a male’s voice. And it was in the doorway of her room.
She jumped, grabbing at her heart and turned around.
“You don’t have to be afraid, Lola. Not of me. Although, you should be petrified but I’m not helping am I? I’m sorry.”
She stared at it.
Rubbed her eyes and stared again. It was a fox. Sitting in her doorway. Its bright flaming colours and all. And he -it- was talking…to her. He stood up and walked to the window.
“Are you an angel?” She asked.
He laughed. “Me? Hah, no, far from it. Lola, it’s ok. I am nothing special. I’m just a fox. But you are. Anyone can talk to animals. We generally speak the same language you do. We’ve been living together for centuries. However, not everyone can hear us. Or understand us. With the exception of you, Lola May. You can hear. Because you’ve been listening.”
“Oh. So you’re just a fox then?”
“Yes,but I have a snazzy tale.”
“Do you actually use it for a pillow?”
He looked out the window.
“Lola, you need to leave.”
This was probably just a dream.
“What? I can’t leave. I’m sick.”
He looked at her. His eyes red, like dancing flames from a fire. They were alive. And she had never felt like that. Everyone she ever saw…their eyes were dark and cold. They made her feel empty.
“Oh, I’m sorry. What’s wrong with you?”
“Well, I don’t know…”
” How many children have you seen Lola? Outside?”
“I’ve never seen any…”
” Can you remember not being sick? ”
Lola was getting nervous and confused.
Fox looked out the window over the playground.
“You’re not sick Lola. None of you are.”
“That’s insane. Why would I be here in a hospital if I’m not sick? I need to lie down.”
“How young your parents look. I swear they’re younger everyday. Why you just stay sick…”
“What do you mean? ”
“I want to help you Lola. We all do. We need to. Because after you, they will come for us. I have to go. Think about it.”
Fox left the room with the same pattering that he came in with. When Lola looked outside her window she could see him jumping through the playground equipment. Bright orange in the morning light.