The Fox down Hartland Road by Jessie Rosenberg

Lights flash by, fading into each other through rain droplets on the car window. The repetition of lamppost after lamppost along the road is an incandescent source of magic. Above, the dark sky, a renewed palette ready for the morning. All the while, cars glide by on individual expeditions.

Nearing the wonder that is London, the visual spectacular of a bustling presence grows and grows as the glowing atmospheric bubble penetrates the dark sky. Indeed, the light from cars and lampposts blend together and shoot up into the night’s darkness. People wander outside pubs, nightclubs and houses, projecting the human mating noise. However, through the mayhem, silence can be found.

Down a dark street where families kiss each other goodnight, the clouds appear to expand like popcorn from a seed masking the starry sky and setting the evening scene above London. There is a slow, low, chilling breeze that sweeps along the streets and rain threatens. People stay inside shutting their curtains, removing the fluorescent glow from the street, until all that is left is the light from the lamp post outside number thirty-four on Hartland road.

It is a tall house with a blue door and mosaic tiles at the front. Shutters in the bay windows are closed keeping the space of darkness in check. A ‘welcome’ doormat is smudged by the foot of the door. Inside, a family is fast asleep.

But, along the street – nothing.

Suddenly, from around the corner, the sound of four small footsteps can be heard but not seen. Pushing through the shrubbery, rustling leaves a wild fox springs on to the scene. It plods along quietly, penetrating the stillness of suburban night life.

It is a slight fox. The type of fox you assume comes from a wealthy heritage. Its defined limbs project from a slim physique and its well known, bushy tail extends in the air with all its might. The auburn colours are seen in each hair follicle and the white chest is illuminated under the street lamp. It is a marvellous sight.

It walks into the centre of the street and stands still for a moment. Interestingly, this moment is unseen by so many. The urban fox is a mythological creature on Hartland Road. Surely someone would see this creature?

But no one does. None of the cars on their individual expeditions; none of the people outside pubs, nightclubs and houses. All the curtains are shut.

The dark sky finally releases the first rain and the wild fox looks up to the sky. Its nostrils flare as the petrichor grows. The rich smell of rain wipes away the glowing polluted atmospheric bubble and so the sweetness finds a home on the ground. The fox, although enjoying the moment, moves on. Its fine auburn coat has become damp and clings to its flesh underneath. The glorious tail falls to the cold floor. Deep brown eyes catch the last glimpse of the lamppost outside number thirty-four on Hartland Road as the sun begins to rise through the rain.



Photograph © Jessica C

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