The moon swells above me. Pink then red it bleeds into the sky, obscuring the stars that hang beyond. There’s a churning in my belly. Could be nerves but feels different somehow. Rubbing my hand over this dirty flesh of mine, I gulp down a lungful of air as if it were wine as the nausea bubbles within. Something’s happening, but I’m not sure what. The circle of foxes watches my every move with some sticking out their tongues with others standing on their hind legs, their paws raised to the moon as if in the act of praying. Spitting out a mouthful of blood, I look over at my fox, my boy, as he stands several feet away. Staggering over to him, I drop to my knees and remove the photograph clamped between his jaws. Much to my surprise, I see it’s the one of X from my wallet. I’ve no idea how he came about it. As far as I was aware, my wallet was lost in the woods along with my discarded clothes. That smile of hers, once again it silences everything. As if glimpsing it the same as me, the trees cease their dance, and the last remnants of the storm retreat to where they came. The foxes put their noses to the ground and come a little closer. Bringing the muddied image to my eyes, I remember the day it had been taken. Remember the words I’d spoken that had been the cause of that smile, and how just after the image had been captured, she’d pressed herself against me, kissing my lips like only she could as the pier we were standing on swayed as the waves of the sea came crashing from every direction. I taste the moment so clearly. Can smell her scent as if she were still in my arms. How many years since those words were uttered? And how many years since we walked away in silence? Tracing a finger over her features, my boy rests his nose against my hand, sniffing me at the same time as letting me know that the something I had felt before was about to occur. With the circle closing in, the moon above shines as bright as the sun, and as I linger there looking at the photo, I think of just how much she meant to me, and how despite the war between us, just how much she still does. Glued to that smile, the animals observe my naked form as I kneel there gazing at X until another wave of nausea causes me to drop the photo to my knees. All at once they bark and shriek and just like that the cold light of the moon reaches down like a hand and touches my battered and bruised skin, so beginning the transformation.