Rogard held his bowstring pulled back with the fletching touching his ear and the arrow trained on the furry, white, fox-like creature. He had heard legend that the Faernix only revealed itself to whom it was about to kill, or to those it found reason to like.
It yawned. “I suppose you mean to skewer me, then?”
Rogard nearly released the arrow. Legend had not mentioned that the beasts could speak. That second of hesitation was all the Faernix needed. Its scorpion tail snapped forward and snatched the arrow from the bow, tossing it into the stream behind it.
It yawned again. This time it changed the yawn into a foxy little grin, squinting its black, slanted eyes smugly.
“Want to try that again?” it chuckled.
“Uh, no. I guess not,” Rogard stammered.
“Wise of you, that.” The Faernix’s breath steamed in the frozen mid-winter air. It folded its wings to its back, wrapped its tail around its nose, and peeked coyly over it, settling down on the dry stump like a coiled snake. Behind it the stream gurgled merrily along, fresh fallen snow covered both its banks and the rocks exposed in its shallow waters.
“Pardon me, but now what?” Rogard asked.
“Indeed. I don’t know about you, but I could use a nap. I think that this’ll be about all the sun we’ll receive this day. Now be a good fellow and go hunt me a nice hare to eat, would you?” The Faernix closed its eyes.
Rogard contemplated his choices. He could try to pull out another arrow, but as he regarded the overly large, twitching ears of the Faernix, he thought it would be a poor idea. He sighed and decided to go hunting. I guess it must like me then.
Author’s Bio: Mark Wolf lives in a tiny shack on the slopes of Mauna Loa, on the Big Island of Hawaii, and writes stories inspired by the fires of creation bubbling beneath him. In his other incarnations he has snared pigs, built houses, and worked oversees as a missionary, fought forest fires, planted trees, built wilderness trail, and picked oranges. His published work has appeared at: Three Crow Press, 69 Flavors of Paranoia, Aurora Wolf, Stories for Children Magazine, and Liquid Imagination
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