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The Fox Kid

This story is set in December of 2017

Bloody Encounter


Rodford Edmiston

        "Why do you keep training if you're not gonna compete any more?" said Jonas, from where he was sprawled on the couch, watching Saturday morning cartoons.

        "Because I enjoy exercising," said Tina, as she finished tying her running shoes. She straightened, looked at her foxy son, and sighed. "You might like it, if you'd ever try it."

        "I do all that training with Dad and Sir Doofus and those Japanese kitsune," he said. He yawned and stretched, careful not to let his claws snag the fabric of the couch. "If I got any more exercise I'd be as muscle-bound as you are."

        Tina glared for a moment at her unaware son, then walked over, grabbed him by the primary of his five fluffy tails and used it to lift his hips off the couch.

        "Ow! Ow! Ow!"

        "You're not hurt," said Tina. "I've lived with kitsune long enough to know you're still small enough to lift like this. And still small enough that your mother can blister your furry bottom for having a smart mouth."

        "I'm sorry!" Jonas yelped.

        "Ha!" said Ginger. "You keep getting in trouble! I'm glad I'm not a boy!"

        Tina was so surprised by this non-sequitur that she dropped her son and looked over at her daughter, sitting on the floor and leaning back against the couch, her own four fox tails safely curled into her lap.

        "What brought that on?"

        "Boys are stupid!" She gave a short, emphatic nod, then turned her attention back to the TV, as if the matter were settled.

        Tina couldn't help but grin. Then she frowned.

        "Where's Thurla?"

        "The baby's still in bed," said Jonas.

        "I've told you not to call your youngest sister that," said Tina, firmly. "You are just asking for it today, aren't you?"

        "What'd I do?" he wailed.

        "Can you people please keep it down?" groaned Jill, staggering into the family room.

        "Can you please wear some clothes?!" demanded Tina, outraged.

        The groggy myobu stared down at herself, requiring several seconds to understand that except for her panties she was wearing only white fur.

        "Oh..." said Jill, finally realizing that there was something inappropriate about her manner of dress but unsure what to do about it just yet.

        "What's the big deal, Mom?" asked Jonas, not even looking away from the TV. "We're all completely naked when we're foxes, anyway."

        "There's a difference between full fox and trueform and human," snapped Tina.

        "Listen, I really don't want to argue right now," said Jill. "I got in late - and it's legit; we were chasing monsters - and just want more sleep."

        "Fine. Go back to bed," said Tina, hotly. She glared around the room at her gathered offspring. "I'm going for my run."

                 *                         *                         *

         The weather, of course, was miserable. Though the climate had warmed since Tina was Gillian's age, December was still mostly cold. And often wet. Rain pelted down, and splashed back up from puddles. Tina focused on her breathing and pace, not letting her anger make her go too fast. She was about a klick away from the house - their new house, finally something with enough room for all of them, a thought which actually made Tina smile briefly - when someone standing in a bus shelter saw her, started, and ran out in front of her, arms reaching. His face was contorted in a snarl; he obviously intended her harm. Tina didn't even need to think about what to do. She took an extra-long stride, bounced off her left leg and turned in the air, tucking her left leg in tight and cocking her right leg until just before contact, then lashing out. The flying side kick caught the man square in the chest and sent him flying in turn. Normally, Tina would have simply run on, and called the police once out of danger. But this jerk had picked the wrong person on the wrong day. Tina dropped into a ready stance, watching to see if he had any fight left.

        Surprisingly, he did, clambering clumsily to his feet with a growl. Come to think of it, he had shown a bit more tooth than a normal human should possess. The stranger - he was younger than Tina had first thought, perhaps in his mid-twenties - swayed oddly on his feet for a moment, then lunged. Tina stepped forward and to the right and swung her left leg around, catching him in the solar plexus with a knee kick. He went down again, and this time wasn't so eager to get back up.

        "Well, I guess it's heavily enough overcast you won't go up in smoke," said Tina, smirking down at the vampire. "That means I'll have to take a more direct action."

        She reached under her poncho... and pulled out a cell phone. By feel - not taking her eyes off the man - she pushed the speed dial for home. And saw something in the man's eyes, saw him suddenly look at something behind her. Tina ducked and spun away, a clawed sweep narrowly missing her. She deliberately let the cell phone fly, in the general direction of her assailant. It was enough to make him to break off his attack. Tina finished her spin well out of arms' reach, but before she could say or do anything else the other - Older? - vampire raised his hand in a dramatic gesture.

        "Do not move. Hold perfectly still..."

        Tina froze, and the second vampire smiled. Then she literally growled, and slowly raised her hands in front of her, as if holding something.

        "Sword, please," she said, very deliberately.

        Tina's enchanted boken appeared in her grip. The second vampire backed quickly away, eyes wide in alarm. Small wonder; she had just magically produced what to his eyes must seem a giant stake.

        "Stop!" the older vampire shouted.

        Again, it was enough to buy time, but not much. The elder scooped up the younger and, as Tina once more shook off his command, the pair fled into the rain. Snarling, Tina found her cell phone, just in time to hear Jonas answer.

        "Get your father and older sister," said Tina, cutting off his mumbled greeting. "Tell them to come to me . Emergency."

        "Okay, okay," muttered the boy.

        He hung up. Tina stared at the phone for a moment. She hadn't specifically told him not to hang up, but the fact that he had... The already scuffed plastic cell phone case creaked in her shaking hand, her vision momentarilly going red. Breathe, she ordered herself, focus... She gained control back just as How and Jill came running up, both in their foxy trueforms and "work clothes," speed magically enhanced.

        "I'm surprised he actually got you two," said Tina, voice tight with anger. "Never mind. I was just attacked by two vampires."

        "In daylight?" said How, startled.

        "Do you see much daylight here, now?" said Tina, voice dripping as much sarcasm as her body was rain. "Yes. A younger and an elder. Neither particularly powerful, from what I could tell."

        "There have been unconfirmed reports of vampire attacks on overcast days," said Jill, managing to be alert now in spite of her earlier sleepiness. It wouldn't last, but for the moment she was capable of handling the situation.

        "Well, consider them confirmed. They were definitely not just people with fake fangs and a fetish."

        "Nice alliteration," said How, grinning.

        Tina tried to stay mad, but one of the reasons she loved How was his ability to lighten her mood. She actually smiled.

        "Okay, we'll scout around and see if we can pick up their trail," said Jill. "Or do you want one of us to finish your run with you?"

        "Considering they ran from me I don't think that's necessary. I'll just keep Betsy, here, out and visible the rest of the run."

                          *                         *                         *

        Tina finished her run back where she started. No-one answered her call as she entered. How and Jill must still be out vampire hunting. A quick check showed Jonas and Ginger playing in the den. Happy that they were safe - and that the boy was behaving himself for a change - Tina didn't interrupt. Now, if Thurla was safe... The girl was sitting in her high chair, a mostly-eaten breakfast in front of her.

        "How's my girl?" said Tina, smiling.

        "M'okay," she replied. She yawned hugely.

        "Here, let's get you down and I'll take you in to play with Jonas and Ginger in a moment."

        Tina finished cleaning the girl's breakfast dishes, and turned to see her standing in the middle of the kitchen floor, yawning again.

        "S'eepy," muttered Thurla, rubbing her eyes, the white tips of her five tails actually dragging the floor.

        "C'mere, hon," said Tina.

        She crouched and held out her arms. The youngster walked quickly over to her mother and into her arms. Tina straightened, cuddling and humming. She was surprised to notice that the girl had immediately gone sound asleep, right thumb in her mouth. Tina smiled, and walked into the den with her daughter. Her smile widened when she saw that her husband was back, and playing with their other two offspring.

        "Is she out again?" said How, on spotting his wife and youngest. He shook his head, grinning. "I swear, that girl sleeps more than the other three combined!"

        "I did ask Lisa about that, her last checkup," said Tina, gently stroking the girl's satiny hair. "She said the amount of sleep children need varies. Joyce confirmed that. So, how did the vampire hunt go?"

        "No joy," said How, shrugging. "Jill is off to tell Jackie and her pack about this. Spread the word and such. And, if I know her, nap on the Jones' couch."

        Tina actually chuckled. "What sort of home do we have, that our oldest had to go to a werewolf's house to get some peace and quiet for sleeping?"

                          *                         *                         *

        Tina was enjoying a quiet time reading one of her guilty pleasure trashy romance novels in the oversized recliner in the sun room, when a commotion made her sigh, close the book on a marker, stand and walk down a flight of stairs into the basement workshop. There she saw How, uncharacteristically angry, holding a screaming Jonas by one foxey ear. There was a nearly finished birdhouse on the table, a fresh coat of paint nearly dry.

        "What?!" said Tina, barking the word out.

        "He ruined my yeti hair hake! yelled How.

        "Jonas... you know you aren t supposed to touch your father's art stuff.

        "It was a reg'lar paint brush, the young kitsune cried. "You re the one told me I could paint that box."

        "I admit a hake looks a bit like a house painting brush, said How, coldly, "but he came into my studio and took it from my brush holder, with all those other art brushes. He should have known."

        Tina stalked over and freed her son from How's pincer-clawed grasp, with some difficulty.

        "Time out," she said, firmly.

        "What he needs is a good spanking!"

        "I mean for you!" said Tina. "Go into your den. I'll be in there in a moment."

        How scowled, but obeyed. That left Jonas.

        "I'll decide your punishment later. For now, go to your room and stay there."

        "You can't punish me for doin' nuthin'" the boy wailed.

        Tina was surprised to find her hand raised, ready to slap the boy senseless. She stopped, took a deep breath, lowered her hand.


        For once he obeyed without protest.

                          *                         *                         *

        "Is it us?" asked How, a short time later. "Are we so used to - spoiled by - having bright, obedient children that we don t know how to handle the average one?

        "No, said Tina, after a moment. "And Jonas is above average in many things. He s far from stupid, or even ordinary. He just has an attitude problem. Nothing seems to get through to him."

        "It can't be just because he's the only boy," said How, tentatively.

        "No. Though having three sisters might be a contributing factor."

        "So what do we do?"

        "Ask the experts," said Tina, sighing. "Joyce, specifically."

                          *                         *                         *

        Joyce's advice was ten days of home confinement with no television over the just-started holidays. Jonas was allowed to read, listen to the radio or recorded music, play with his sisters or by himself, and even use the InterWeb, though that had strangely little attraction for him. He was not allowed to leave the house unaccompanied, even just to go out back, and he had to do extra chores. Three days into his punishment had produced no change in attitude except for an increase in surliness. Nerves were beginning to fray. If he didn't start improving soon, How and Tina had agreed to hand him over to Bent-Tail and Joyce for some werewolf-style discipline. They were reluctant to try this sort of lupine tough love, but something had to be done.

        "Jonas, see who that is," said Tina, calling to him from the laundry after the doorbell rang.

        There was a long silence. Then the doorbell rang again.


        Still no response from the boy. The doorbell rang again. Aggravated at Jonas for not responding, Tina quickly finished what she was doing and hurried into the den. That the weather was again miserable on this late evening did not help Tina's mood. Jonas, on his casual way to the door and seeing her - and her irritation at him - hurried to the door and yanked it open. The older vampire Tina had encountered earlier in the week immediately stepped inside, sneering.

        "Mom... said Jonas, backing away, reflexively going to his foxy trueform, fur all bushed out.

        Tina was torn between yelling at the boy for opening the door without seeing who was there, yelling at him to get back and yelling at the vampire to leave. That confusion gave the three men and two women behind the vampire - the group did not include the younger one Tina had beaten - to enter behind him. Fortunately, Jonas' transformation startled the vampires and gave Tina time to recover.

        "Sword, please!" snapped Tina, holding our her hands.

        "Jonas! Get away from them!"

        "Mom?!" said Jonas, looking frantically back and forth between the vampires and Tina and not moving.

        "How!!" Tina yelled, desperately.

        "Really, you are something of a celebrity," said the elder vampire, mistaking Tina's call to her husband as a desperate query. "You're even listed in the phone book."

        He was obviously startled when How suddenly appeared, in full kitsune form, fey sword out and ready. Playtime was obviously over. The elder hissed and made quick gestures with his hands. The five with him blurred into action, two heading for How and the rest for Tina. The elder grabbed for Jonas. They were inhumanly fast... but How and Jonas were fox quick, and the latter had finally shaken off whatever had been imobilizing him; Tina, meanwhile, was only human, but well-trained and accustomed to practicing with werewolves. Two of the junior vampires fell immediately, neither dead but both out of the immediate fight. Two more were quickly given lesser hurts, and backed away. The third one on Tina tried to grab her from behind, and received a back-kick to the knee; Tina hadn't even bothered to turn and face her, simply glancing over her shoulder. Meanwhile, the elder vampire was futilely trying to grab Jonas, who was screaming in terror and running six directions at once. Tried beyond his patience, the vampire halted, threw his hands wide in a dramatic gesture, and yelled "STOP!!"

        Everyone in the room froze in place. Then How and Tina shook off the effect and headed straight for the elder. Who blurted a startled "Shit!" and bolted for the door.

                          *                         *                         *

        "Must be new in the area," said Bent-Tail, who had organized the cleanup personally, dryly. "From what you tell me, they must have been completely unaware there are other supernaturals in the community."

        "He was able to figure out who Tina was," said How, pointedly.

        "Maybe he's a sports fan," said Bent-Tail, shrugging his massive shoulders. "Anyway, we got these five, and Tina hurt another a few days ago. How many more can he have? If he wants to cause more trouble he'll probably have to work on making more followers, first. And that's if he even decides to stay in the area. My guess is he's already on his way out of town."

        "And you, young man!" said Tina, turning on Jonas when she spotted him trying to sneak out of the room. "First you broke the rule by opening the door to strangers without checking them! Then you just... stood there when I told you to run! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!"

        That last was so loud, shrill and angry that most of those in the room - including several from Bent-Tail's pack - folded their ears, a few even cowering a bit. Jonas did all that, and even whimpered.

        "I'm sorry," was all he could manage.

        "I didn't ask for an appology. I want to know why you did those things."

        "You told me to open the door!"

        "I told you to see who it was! But you opened the door without looking, and when that vampire came in I told you to run and you didn't! Why?"

        "Hon..." said How, putting a hand on her arm.

        "I just did what you tol' me!" Jonas wailed.

        Bent-Tail actually had to grab her.

        "Easy," said the big man, who, even in human form, as he was now, was more than a match for Tina in terms of brute strength. "You're too mad to think straight right now. How, take her somewhere. I'll finish in here."

        Some time later How returned to find the vampires and most of the werewolves gone, with only Bent-Tail and Jonas left. The two were sitting on the floor in front of the fireplace, talking quitely. Jonas looked like he'd been crying. When he saw How, Bent-Tail patted the boy on the shoulder, stood and went to the older kitsune.

        "He is scared to death of Tina."

        "I'm not surprised," said How, with feeling. "But she's over her mad, now. In fact, she's so torn up about being mad at him she's having a good cry."

        "That's probably the best thing for her, right now," said the werewolf, "but that's not what I mean. He's affraid of her all the time. And resentful over that, and the way she keeps pushing him."

        "Huh?!" said How, too startled to be more articulate.

        "Yeah, it surprised me, too. He disobeys and talks back out of spite, and to prove he's not affraid of her. And, of course, in doing so sets up a situation where she responds in a way which makes him more affraid."

        "I don't understand..." said How. He took a deep breath and gathered his thoughts. "I've never seen her hit him. Never heard her threaten him, except with chores or whatever. Yeah, she talks stern to him, but it seems like that's the only way to get through to him. And, Hell, BT, he's a kitsune. We're not supposed to be affraid of humans!"

        "Tina isn't an ordinary human, something which you well know," said Bent-Tail, sternly. "Didn't you notice how my pack members reacted, a few minutes ago? Yeah, it was an immediate, instinctive response, and they soon fought it off - some were even angry at Tina for causing it, which is one reason I wanted her out of here - but it did happen. Normally, she's merely impressive, but this blow-up with Jonas and the added aggravation of the vampires has her in full Alpha mode. I actually felt challenged!"

        The big werewolf shook his head, eyes momentarily distant.

        "Trust me; because of the way I look I've had to deal with a lot of unwanted challenge responses. She doesn't want any part of that."

        "Okay," said How, nodding. "Fox instincts may be why Jonas is reacting the way he is. Foxes aren't social the way humans and wolves are."

        "I think you've hit it. He's basically not domesticated. He's old enough that the cub instincts are being replaced by adolescent instincts. These tell him he should run away from or face down a threat. When faced with an angry elder, humans or wolves usually yield and appologize, but he's not wired that way. He has learned that he's supposed to appologize in certain situations, but it's not natural for him and usually sounds insincere. He's being forced to live with a bigger, stronger - and very social - creature at a time when everything in him is telling him to strike out on his own and be independant. It's a conflict of instinctive behaviors; Tina's versus his. Half the time, he doesn't even notice the social cues going on around him. Which is why he is surprised and confused by the reaction to his lack of response to them. Also, I think he may have a mild language problem. He just doesn't understand what some words and phrases mean."

        "Damn," said How, sighing and running a hand through his long, full hair. "What can we do about it? And why just him? None of the girls have acted this way."

        "Who knows? Natural variation, or maybe female foxes are more social. I'm not an expert on vulpines. How did you deal with your parents disciplining you, at that age?"

        "I didn't know I was a kitsune then," said How. "My instincts were pretty much pure human."

        "Hmph. Well, at least we have an angle to work from. You talk with Lisa - cougars are even less social than foxes, so she may have some insights - and some of the fey. I'll talk this over with Joyce. See if we can come up with something."

        "Yeah," said How, sighing again. He looked over at Jonas, who was sitting staring out a window. "We'll have to."

        END This document is Copyright July 2006 by Rodford Edmiston Smith. Anyone wishing to reprint this or post it on a Web page must get permission from the author, who can be reached at: stickmaker@usa.net This specific page may be linked to without permission.