14-Conventional WisdomThe fox yawned, blinked sleepily. The sunlight peeked through his tightly drawn blinds. He looked at his alarm clock reluctantly.
It was already 5 A.M.!
He leaped out of bed and hurried to his bathroom. He hastily brushed his fur while brushing his teeth, all the while checking his watch.
He hopped around his tiny apartment, zipping up his pants and tossing on a tee shirt that read “FURS RUIN EVERYTHING.”
He then rushed out the apartment door, nearly forgetting his keys.
He hurried into the street…to discover he didn’t quite know where he was.
He turned back to his apartment complex. That certainly looked the way he remembered it—a dingy, six story confused mess of cramped places and any number of species.
He then turned to the street again. He checked his watch, tilted and scratched his head.
People were crammed along the city sidewalk, in a hurry to their next destination. People, as in humans.
Humans have been extinct for centuries! the fo
13-PerfunctoryThe cold winds of winter howled outside her den. Her kit snuggled alongside her for warmth, and she drew the little one close.
She smeared the window with a tiny pink paw, her whiskers translucent and quivering.
She sighed. Today will be like any other day…
She bundled herself and the wakened kit slowly, begrudgingly. How many hours had she worked this week? They all seemed to blur together, from the time she pattered down the cold concrete to the time she punched out for the long day.
Every day was the same routine—dragging her reluctant kit out the door, which nearly slammed on her petite pink tail, locking it tight, rushing past the larger citizens to the side streets, dodging the drunk alley cats and mangy canine panhandlers, skittering into the brightly colored bakery just in time. She then set to work, donning a bright blue apron alongside the other mice, rushing to and fro, mixing dough, setting frosting, baking cakes. Every minute was a rushed one, every mome
12-Esoterica“This is boring,” whined the tiger-wolf cub as he walked with his mother and auntie into the exhibits of the museum.
“Shush,” the tigress admonished the disinterested cub in a sharp whisper. The marble floors and columns reflected the spotlights and echoed his lament. The halls were quieter than usual as the sun began to set, the crowd emptying out before the museum closed.
The jaguaress, his auntie, stared at the dinosaur specimens in a knowing way, as if they were old friends. Really old friends, the cub reflected, remembering that most dinosaurs were extinct.
The jaguaress knelt next to the wiggling cub and murmured, “I used to come here often when I was your age.”
“That must’ve been way before the iPhone,” he glumly retorted.
“Well, unlike an app, these dinosaurs were real,” she went on, hoping to catch the cub’s curiosity.
“Meh,” the cub shrugged. “Come on auntie, we’ve been here so man
11-DeterminationThe blue and gold lance struck him hard in the breastplate, and he fell to the dirt with a whoosh and a clang, the Queen’s favor fluttering around his arm.
The challenger, a bay charger stallion, whinnied his triumph to the cheering crowd, hoisting his lance skyward with a smirk.
The black destrier stallion lay in the dirt, his head spinning beneath the crushing weight of his armor. He had been struck down twice by the challenger, and began to feel as if all hope was lost. His energy was slipping away as the sun sank lower in the evening sky. The flapping of the banners and the radiant cries of the audience thundered in his ears.
He groaned, his chest burning from the hit. He struggled to move his arms, and then noted the pale purple favor his Queen had bestowed on him through his visor. My Queen, the stallion thought. The melanistic jaguaress in her elegant, sheer gown, her sleek mahogany hair falling past her shoulders…she planted a soft kiss on his broad cheek and wrappe
10-PandemoniumIara looked out at the vast desert before her, the wind buffeting her feathers and assaulting her ears.
Everything was coated in swaths of mahogany sand. The onyx and crimson gravel beneath her clung to her toes in an irritating fashion. Only her bright emerald eyes stood out among the scenery, her plumage blending seamlessly into the shifting world around her.
She moved forward slowly, squinting to reduce the glare from the sun and the amount of grit in her eyes. Her nictitating membrane swept over her eyes to protect them as she trudged forward. She took ragged breaths through her nostrils, the dry and hot air instantly making them sting. She felt as if her throat had been stuffed full of fiddleheads, all itchy and suddenly dry.
The sun began to dip into the horizon as Iara made her way to the top of yet another wave of sand. She could no longer see the pawprints she was supposed to be following, and stopped for breath.
The wind finally abated. Iara adjusted her eyes, shaking her hea
09-ConciergeIara was startled from a dreamless sleep, her neck jerking off her shoulders and into the muggy night sky. A sizeable raccoon next to her managed to knock over a filthy trash bin, spewing its contents into the gutter and the nearby homeless shelters of U-Haul boxes and human odds and ends. Her lids began to shut involuntarily, but the raccoon’s noisy foraging kept her bright green eyes open.
She sighed. So far this new world was dreary and lonely. She preened constantly, disgusted by the thin air and its bizarre contents. She gasped for air some nights, coughed most days. The pigeons, her only living kin aside from the occasional hawk or swirl of finches in a bush, kept her company, cooing and feeding near her talons.
The humans, as she learned they preferred to call themselves, were even less welcoming than the environment. They reveled in their own packs, keeping to themselves and staring at square boxes with blue lights. They moved quickly, barely registering her presence. She