With the fox’s thick fur tickling her nose, Gretchen sniffs and sneezes in fits. Beyond the smell reminding her of the leaves she keeps pressed between the pages of her secret books, she catches the scent of many tiny creatures. Mites. Fleas. Perhaps others the same as her, shrunken to near impossibly small sizes, but enjoying these nighttime adventures nonetheless. Sticking out her tongue, she licks the fur and tastes the colour of flames. The flames dance before her eyes, biting at her lips. Or could it be the incy wincy creatures that are biting her instead? She’s not sure. Cocking its head to one side as it catches its breath on the back of the badger, the fox doesn’t understand what’s going on. It didn’t before the girl arrived, and it certainly doesn’t now. The only thing it does know is that to the light, it must go for reasons that are so unclear. There was no before. All the fox knows is this moment. It has no history, no regrets. Its only desire is the desperate need to belong in the light. The same can be said for Gretchen. She, of course—even at this young age—is stained with history, and yet she is still as pure as snow. Perhaps it’s why she’s joined the chase along with all the animals—because even when the adult world comes and knocks her down, she will never lose the ability to seek that which flames the fires in her wild heart. The fox has a wild heart too. The closer it gets to the light, the more it beats, and the more it beats, the more Gretchen can’t help but dig her fingers into its coat as if in the presence of one moulded from the same godly clay.