The Great Divide

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From the night sky, a magpie swoops down and lands upon my back. Pecking me with its beak, it squawks into my ear, telling me which way to go. Soon after, it’s joined by another, and then another. Then comes a crow that grips my tail before clawing its way to sit with the magpies. In my fur, spiders crawl and make themselves at home, and around my head, moths circle attracted by the glow of my eyes, and with them come bats and rats and butterflies and fireflies and regular flies, and together they buzz and flutter as my nose sniffs her scent that plays my heart like the keys of a piano. From the woods comes the call of other foxes, and up ahead, my fox turns and barks out to let them know we’re on our way. To my left, a badger appears from the undergrowth. Growling at me, I growl back, and side by side we take the night like lovers in flight. To my right, something stirs in the leaves on the ground. Searching out the shapes that appear as the leaves are picked up by a gust of wind, from the madness of my mind or the magic of the universe, or perhaps both, my childhood dog appears, back from beyond the grave. He’s been gone for fifteen years, and yet here he is, grinning at me and wagging his tail at the prospect of another adventure after all this time. Snapping his teeth, he leaps into the air, and as he glides over a fallen tree trunk, his coat of fur glistens and shines just like it used to back when I was a kid. Calling his name, he understands what I’m saying even though what escapes my mouth is but a bark. But the beautiful thing, the truly wonderful thing, is that when he barks in return, I hear words. His words. I never died because you never forgot about me, he says, and I’ve been waiting, waiting for you to cross the great divide, and now here you are, just like me, just as you used to be. Thrashing his tail, he grins his grin and I feel insane and as giddy as five-year-old again. Splashing into a stream, the fox swims to the other side but then comes back again to help pull me across by the scruff of the neck. As he does so, the magpies squawk and the crow flaps its wings as if to somehow lift me up into the air, and my dog, he just leaps across without a single hair touching the surface, and when I crawl out and shake myself dry, he grins at me some more as the badgers and foxes and deer that join us are in turn joined by scores of cats and dogs that heard our cries and fled their homes in search of some magic to call their own.

A Journal for Damned Lovers UK

A Journal for Damned Lovers US

Anthology UK / Anthology US

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