Monday, December 09, 2013

The Larcenist

Nyla Jamieson of Second Form wrote the following short (short) story recently, which, as Ms Smith says, has all the qualities that stories at Leaving Certificate level could well do with - "a convincing setting, specific detail, a traditional arc of action, a short time-frame, a central character with a purpose, and that elusive 'shift' at the end."

The Larcenist
by Nyla Jamieson

The young fox crept out of its den, warily following its mother. It sniffed the air cautiously, its muscles tensed, ready to dart back into the den where it had been born only three weeks before. This was its first time outside the den. The cub hesitated for about three seconds before relaxing and lolloping over to catch up with its mother.

The cub's eyes were black, shiny and full of life. Its fur was a beautiful reddish-orange colour but its underside was as white as snow. Its coat was clean and silky and its mouth slightly open, revealing sharp, pearl-white teeth and a sliver of pink tongue. Its ears had white tips which were pricking up and twisting in all directions listening to the various rustles of the forest around it.

The fox's mother gave and impatient yap; the cub was taking too long. It would be dawn all too quickly and the mother wanted her cub safely back in the den by then.

The cub quickened its pace and was soon jogging just behind its mother's bushy tail.

Soon, the foxes came to their destination. Across the road was a large red-brick house with a large silver rubbish bin just outside its walls. The young fox caught the smell of the remains of a slowly rotting chicken. Without even needing to think, the cub's instincts took over and driven by hunger it ran towards the house. Then its senses caught up with its instincts and the fox became aware of the quickly increasing noise to his right. The cub just had enough time to turn and see the green car speeding towards it and to hear the sound of screeching brakes before the car slammed into it, crushing its ribs and killing it immediately.

Death just hovered long enough for a short stab of pain and a glimpse of the agony in the mother fox's eyes as she saw the life smashed from her only cub. Then death pulled the fox cub into its arms. The cub's shiny black eyes which were once so full of life were empty, and its clean silky coat now matted with blood.

A bank robber may steal money, a shop-lifter may steal some clothes, and a fox may steal some food, but death is the true larcenist.         

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