This is my entry in the Fairy Ring Flash Fiction contest put on by the blog, Yearning for Wonderland. The guidelines are as follows: “To win, write a piece of flash fiction (300 words or less) on your (fictional or not) first-person encounter with a faery, goblin, or fantastical being of your choice. Post your entry on your blog and paste the link code into the HTML editor to be included.” I hope you enjoy what I came up with as well as all the great stories entered in this contest.
“Observations at the Zoo” by E.A. Schneider
“What are you doing out here by yourself?” The fox said. I thought I daydreamed the nine-tailed platinum amber colored fox with the piercing green eyes. One doesn’t expect to see a kitsune anywhere let alone sitting in the ornamental grass by the jaguar enclosure. I tend to daydream strange things too.
“I could ask you the same thing. You don’t exist.”
“Sure I do. We’re talking.” It licks its paw. Would a daydream lick its paw, looking bored?
“I daydream. You are a hallucination. I might have a brain tumor.”
“Piffle. You don’t have a tumor anymore than I have pants.” True. It wasn’t wearing pants.
“You’re still fictional.”
“You still haven’t answered me.” Those eyes. I smell pine trees when it looks at me. I still think I have a tumor.
“Observations at the zoo. I’m in class, it’s a worksheet.”
“Bonobos grooming, a pacing polar bear, and the hornbills play with their food. You.”
“Don’t write me down. I’m not doing anything interesting. I’d be embarrassed.”
“You’re talking to me. That’s pretty interesting.”
“I talk all the time.”
“So why me?”
“You’re alone and you can see me.” I can’t argue with that. But I will anyway. When else will I argue with a kitsune?
“It’s the tumor. I have a CAT-scan Friday, to know. It would explain things.”
“Things like hearing little songs when it’s quiet? Footprints in pollen? Smelling flowers when there aren’t any?” It looks interested.
“Come with me and I’ll tell you.”
“I like you.” A nine-tailed kitsune likes me and says there is a reason I daydream, a non-tumor reason.
“Okay.” I scribble a note on my worksheet: observed kitsune, we conversed, and we’re leaving. Dropping it, I take hold of its outstretched paw and we go.