The next day the Young Vixen was woken by the sharp knocking at her door. As she opened it three boisterous cubs rushed past her and she saw Vanda standing there, her face weary with worry. ‘Come in,’ said the Young Vixen.
‘I don’t know what to do,’ Vanda said, almost sobbing.
‘Go sit down and I will make some tea,’ said Young Vixen, ‘then we will talk.’ While the kettle was boiling, she hurriedly got dressed. The male cub followed her about the kitchen.
‘You got any biscuits?’
‘Put these on the table’ said Young Vixen, handing the cub the biscuit tin.
‘Daddy has gone missing,’ he said as he took the tin.
Putting the mugs of tea on the low table, Young Vixen switched the TV on and found a cartoon channel for the cubs. ‘So what has happened to Reynard?’ she said to Vanda.
‘I don’t know, he’s not been home since before yesterday’s shoot.’
‘But he’s stayed out all night before.’
‘Yes, yes, I know. It’s different, if he’s out on his prowl he dresses up first.’
‘Oh, of course,’ said Young Vixen, ‘I’m sure it is probably nothing. Reynard is a law unto himself.’
Their chat was interrupted by another knock on the door. It was Old Fox and he had Bel with him.
‘This is important,’ said Old Fox, ‘Bel will explain, both of you must listen.’
Bel sat down; her expression deadly serious. ‘I am sure you have both heard the rumours buzzing about town about the dodgy goings-on around Snappy Si and his mob and the police commissioner. Well, it has been brought to my attention by an undercover agent that Reynard is somehow mixed up in something,’ she said. ‘The important thing now is to keep you girls and the cubs safe.’
Vanda had been listening, the anger showing in her eyes ‘The cubs – he wouldn’t hurt his babies,’ she snapped.
The Old Fox put his paw on her paw ‘No my dear, I don’t think he would hurt the cubs, but Si and his mob won’t think twice – we must get you and them to safety.’
Vanda nodded; she really didn’t need much convincing.
‘Ok well, this is the plan,’ said Bel. ‘Old Fox will bring you to my flat just after dusk. Whatever you do you must not return to your home Vanda; I have been told it is under observation by the police commissioner’s lads. Young Vixen will come with me now so we can get some supplies for you and the cubs. I doubt any of us will sleep much but at dawn some agents from the Dark Woods Investigation Office will fetch you all and take you to a safe place at the other side of the forest.’
‘That’s Freddie Ferret’s turf,’ said Vanda, ‘how will that be safe?’
‘Freddie Ferret is serving his time,’ said Old Fox. ‘That side of the Forest is much safer than Wood Trail now.’
Vanda looked at Old Fox quizzically, somehow, he knew so much about the goings on of Dark Forest.
©JG Farmer 2019