Tuesday, 9 April 2013
Jed went in to his daughter’s bedroom as soon as he got home. He wondered what Ava might have heard in the night.
Ava, darling? Jed called to her softly to check if she was awake. He couldn’t stop shaking and thought she would notice something was wrong. He realised that he might frighten her, dressed as he was, so he went down to the basement to take off his bloody clothes and change them for fresh ones. Leo had already dumped his clothes and the dirty blankets in the washing basket. Jed took off his boots and laid them on a sheet of newspaper. Then he went up to the kitchen and made Ava’s favourite oatmeal.
Upstairs, in his daughter’s room, Jed got in beside her and tickled her on the chin to wake her up.
Daddy! She said in surprise. He offered her the oatmeal and she said she didn’t like the taste this morning. Jed played a game with her where he breathed hot steam from his coffee right into her mouth and she gulped it down like a magic potion. Jed looked at the sky outside lit by the northern lights; it was a weird colour, like raw pigs’ liver.
Ava was in her pajamas and still half-asleep. Jed smoothed her hair where it curled and brushed it away from her face. He had a lot to do but he couldn’t resist her asking for just one story. As he unplugged her star nightlight, the fading gleam lit his hand red for just a second. She waited for the story to begin.
Tell me one about the foxes Daddy, Ava said. She was scared of the foxes but she liked to hear about how her daddy fought them and kept her safe.
Jed wondered how much she knew. He told her the safe story, the one he had told her before.
One day an airplane came over the valley. The pilot had never flown a plane before and he had a dangerous cargo. Remember what a cargo is sweetie?
Ava told him she remembered. It was the stuff he was carrying. She wasn’t a baby, she told him, she knew this story already. Jed laughed at her seriousness.
Well this cargo was kind of dangerous. It was absolutely full to the brim of chemicals. Chemicals which did strange things to the foxes.
Ava pretended to shiver in fear and crept closer to her Daddy. He dropped his voice low.
The plane began to get into trouble and the pilot wanted to save himself so he let the cargo fall out of the bottom of his plane. A terrible green slime came out of the sky like rain and began to drip down into the valley. All of the trees in the forest were covered and the birds perching in the branches were stuck fast. The other animals took shelter until the terrible storm was over, all except the foxes. Do you know why?
Ava knew why, she said, because they wanted to eat the birds and they were too greedy.
That’s right. They wanted to eat the birds and they were too greedy so they shook the trees until the slime-covered birds fell down in front of them. They ate every last bird.