First I select fire hydrants from the blurred photos on my screen. Tick, tick, tick.

I couldn’t have found all of them, because another page, with traffic lights, appears. I do my best. Click on next.

Wrong. Now it’s flyovers. One of them looks half-finished, abandoned.

Or maybe that wasn’t a flyover, because a new on-screen message is telling me I’ve failed to confirm my humanity, am locked out. Is another job search newsletter really what I need? I decide no. All it does is raise my anxiety – or go straight to spam.

I turn the screen black, put on my jacket, gardening gloves. The smell of last night’s rain is in the air, sweet after the artificial heat of the kitchen.

Eight weeks isolation or is it nine. I’ve stopped counting. Some days I forget to check in on the app – have you had a COVID19 test? No. Yes, I am feeling perfectly normal, if this is what the new normal is.

Yesterday the news was full of a man found dead in his home after many lifeless days. I try not to think of my phone, the empty record of calls made and received. Better to dig, though what I’ve got to plant…. I can’t bring myself to get rid of the dandelions, only flowers in the wrong location.

I’m heaving out great spades of dark when something makes me look up, behind the greenhouse, where the dead tree lies. Two eyes and the beauty of a face watching me.

It’s just the two of us, locked in, looking at each other. I am rooted, feel the earth under my boots in a way I’ve never known before. I’m not even blinking, but my heart is quickening, mouth turned dry.

The fox yawns, rises, padding off through the broken fence into the overgrown no man’s land.

My steps are soft, steady, until I reach the pile of leaves, stretch out my hand. Then I’m on my knees, a sigh escaping as I place my cheek, a perfect fit, into the still-warm hollow.

0 0 votes
Post Rating

Support our Family-Friendly Mission

Our vision of a new Internet is family-friendly, elegant and educated. 

If Voice.club has enhanced your life, if you've enjoyed the stories, the comments and the wonderful community, we ask you to help keep our vision thriving!  

Your donations keep Voice.club alive!
18 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Fuji
Fuji (@fuji)
1 year ago

This story is subtle, powerful, and haunting. “Two eyes and the beauty of a face watching me.” This sentence makes us forget about computers, job searches and all the bad news of the outer world. The communion between the two creatures, “locked in, looking at each other” speaks of an elemental connectedness. The last sentence is particularly moving and stayed in my mind long after I read the story. Excellent writing!

Susan Dawson
Susan Dawson (@susan-dawson)
1 year ago

A tender ending, and I do love the humour of the beginning. They ask you to click on cars and then they put vans in that look like cars, or blocks of flats that look like shops. You tick 3 of the silly things and it turns out they wanted 4. Or those that want traffic signs that stretch over 4 rectangles. Do you click on the post that holds them up as well? I am just a bit north of Tyne and Wear, by the way!

musing mind
musing mind (@musing-mind)
1 year ago

Very relatable story. Loved reading.

Katy Bizi
Katy Bizi (@katy-bizi)
1 year ago

“Yes, I am feeling perfectly normal, if this is what the new normal is.” This sentence hit me hard. In fact, the whole story did. During these difficult times, we need something to hold on to, something to give us courage. The bittersweet beauty of the story is just what all us of need.

Sandra James
Sandra James (@sandra-james)
1 year ago

A beautiful story, Fiona, and I’m not surprised it received the Grand Prize. First the mundane ‘new normal’, then a magical, special moment that eclipses everything. I have had foxes slaughter my chickens and ducks but have also been blessed with similar eye-locking moments giving me enormous respect for these beautiful, though sometimes annoying, creatures. I enjoyed it very much 🙂

Susan Giles
Susan Giles (@susan-giles)
1 year ago

This story has so much to which we can all relate! I especially liked the transition from tech-centered to the natural world. The best panacea for a bad time.

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
1 year ago

Your opening Is incredible, Fiona! There is first the feeling of confusion, “What it this all about?” and then the recognition of the well-known, non-human experience, which is summed up in a wonderful way: ‘I have failed to confirm my humanity”.
The alienating feeling of the computer experience works well with the isolated situation and the story about the dead man, all of it then contrasted in the surprise meeting with Real Life – the fox, “the beauty of a face” – and its warm home. It is very touching and real!

Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe (@eric-radcliffe)
11 months ago

I understand in your story how freedom can be found from society’s constant pursuit for information about us. You can not log in on any site until you agree to this or that passwords, till your mind deliberately says enough – and then forgets them. I love the way that you point out, that just getting out in the garden can connect us, often in a way so simple, that it becomes amazing. Thank you for the insight told in your story, Fiona.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
6 months ago

Congratulations on your grand prize win, Fiona. Your story is great and powerful. Excellent.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
6 months ago

Thank you, keep safe always.

Most Voted Comments

Avatar
8

Bait

It takes a real talent to tell a story in so few words. What was…


Avatar
6

Endure and Sing

Inspirational piece. Am glad you picked the rat to be the protagonist in your story,…


Avatar
6

Endure and Sing

Such a sweet tale - and with a good moral to the story. I thought…


Avatar
5

Endure and Sing

Wow! This is a good story! Really good to read to little kids, the moral…


Avatar
4

Endure and Sing

Hi Katy, it really does add an extra dimension to hear your story read aloud…


Avatar
4

Endure and Sing

In my neighboring country Denmark, we have the classical storyteller Hans-Christian Andersen. Your sweet story…


Avatar
4

Endure and Sing

A really nice one with a wonderful story line. I can see why this was…


Avatar
4

Endure and Sing

A beautiful story! I was reminded of seeing Paul Potts and Susan Boyle on Britain's…


Avatar
4

Endure and Sing

Your story inspired me to keep going no matter how discouraging it gets. At times…


Avatar
4

Endure and Sing

Thank you so much for the feedback! I pray that the young readers will be…


Avatar
4

Endure and Sing

Thank you for taking the time to comment and convey your thoughts on the story.…


Avatar
4

Endure and Sing

Hi Katy, don't we all feel like the rat in your story at times! We…


Avatar
4

Vows

I must admit it was the picture of the church, with its grave yard, under…


Avatar
3

In Memoriam

It's terrible to lose someone you love and accept that he is not a part…


Avatar
3

The Problem with Women

I think Carrie has said it all. We rest our collective case.  ? 


Avatar
3

The Fisherman and the Sea

A good story with a strong message. The time has come that we should do…


Avatar
3

The Fisherman and the Sea

It is giving me great joy to read such beautiful comments from you.Thank you for…


Avatar
3

Voice.club 2020 Year In Review – OPEN

The New Year has always been a time for reflection, and to focus on what…


Mary Kot
3

Endure and Sing

I wish all of us were more like this little mouse! His confidence and courage…


Avatar
3

Endure and Sing

I'm really glad to hear that! Leena Auckel did an amazing job and I'm so…


Recent Comments





Become a PatronHelp support our family-friendly mission

Contest – CLOSED – Scary

18
0
Selected Authors may submit comments (5 Credits)x
()
x
Scroll to Top

Sharing a Post

Why do my friends need to SignIn to read the post I shared?

Actually, this is a voting security feature. Only club members can read posts submitted into a contest. Since anyone reading the story is able to vote (click the Like button), we reserve these capabilities to members who SignIn. Before we implemented this security feature, people were voting multiple times and making the public voting process unfair and out of balance. To fix this, our staff finally decided to allow only members who SignIn to read the stories. Membership is free and easy, and ensures our club is safe, secure, and family-friendly!

Gems Stories are public:  On the other hand the Gem stories are different, since there is no voting on Gems. During a Gem event, your friends and fans can come on and read without a SignIn. This is one of the great advantages of the Gem events.