Mud squashed in between Pear’s paws as she ran on one of the rare rains. She would have enjoyed it if she wasn’t being chased by a coyote pair. To make things worse she was bound to have her kits in a week. She yelped as she almost stumbled, the coyotes might be faster but with her nimble paws and the mud slicked ground she had a chance to lose them in the trees and cacti.
That’s when she saw a tall saguaro cactus, she sharply turned right, the coyotes were gaining after they saw what she was heading for. When the tree like cactus finally was close enough Pear vaulted into the air closing her claws around the trunk, her paws impaled with saguaro thorns never felt so sore.
As she crawled into a cactus hollow she notice a nest with three Elf owl eggs nestled in the small mounds of owl down. She carefully scooped the egg closest to her for a grateful meal. Then she cautiously pushed the nest to the corner of the hollow, making sure not to graze them. If the owl came home with Pear’s scent on the eggs she would kill or abandon the owlets, Pear was not a monster she just took what she needed.
Three days later
Pear had managed to lose the coyotes and not eat the owlet eggs. As she jumped down from the nesting hollow she was relieved to see the owlet’s mother swooping down clutching two voles. She scurried away to find the old boar burrow where she planed to have and wean her kits. And she wondered why other foxes didn’t stay in burrows like her, a kit fox, where it was cool and shaded.
She wished her mate Alo was here, he ventured to far from the safety of the cacti, he got wounded by a burrowing owl and was finished by a rattlesnake. She was forced to dig further in the burrow so the kits would be protected from coyotes. As she neared the soon to be birth den, Pear was panting her belly begging her to stop and eat. She dragged herself in and was relieved that there were still some flower bulbs for her to silence her kits.
The next night at high moon she gave birth.
Birth to four healthy kits with surprisingly not a trace of a runt. The first three were like their father, males with a orange underbelly and perfectly sandy blond on top with gray paws. But as Pear studied the fourth one she noticed the female kit had unusually tall legs, a curled tail, and eyes so big and dark it looked like the night spilt itself over them. Her underbelly was a dark brown, her back a silver glistened gray with a blond chest and legs, and like her mom a black tipped tail with gray brown eyes. Pear could tell she would be elegant and slender, Willow was a perfect name. She remembered the last willow she saw, thin graceful branches with drooping sorrowful leaves. They matched perfectly.
The boy‘s names were harder to decide, so Pear had to study their personalities. The smallest out of them now named Cato because he learned quicker than his siblings. The most picky kit was named Vivid because his blond fur was a more golden hue. The last brother was strange for a kit, like his sister he stayed in the dark. Playing only with Willow, his name was Hint, he had a hint of everyone in his own way.
She hoped her small colony would accept the strangeness of Hint and Willow. Now she had to depend on Prick a local father who was assigned to share food with her. But for now Pear put her worries aside for she had all she could ask for: a family.
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