The old fox looked around until he found the projectile that had just bounced off his head. An acorn laying at his paws.
“That wasn’t very nice, you know?”
Barely containing a giggle, the wise owl swept down from her branch.
“Well, you’ve been sitting there motionless for so long I had to make sure you were still alive.”
“Fair enough. But you *could* have just asked.”
“This way was more fun. What are you staring at, anyway? I’ve been watching you for hours and you hardly moved a muscle.”
“You’ve been sitting here all day staring at nothing!? You must be really bored.”
“I was not staring… I was just listening.”
“Listening to what?”
“Uh… I’m not sure if that’s better or worse than staring at nothing. Are you feeling ok?”
“Of course I am. I just find the silence in this part of the forest soothing.”
“Is that why you built the heart here?”
“Yes and no.”
“Not your fox riddles again.”
“The heart was already here, that’s why it’s so quiet and peaceful. All I did was give it form.”
They both turned to look at the intricate lattice of twigs, leaves and pebbles behind them. Its pattern reminiscent of a delicate clockwork.
“It *is* beautiful…”
“I know.” Answered the fox, then let out a deep sigh. “–That’s why I have a favor to ask.”
The owl looked at his old friend with a mix of worry and curiosity.
“Why do I get the feeling I’m not gonna like this?”
“You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to. But it would really make me happy if you did.”
“Ok, I’ll bite. What is it you want from me?”
“I told you, just a favor… if you want to do it. No promises or anything like that. You don’t even have to say yes or no.”
“Do all foxes beat about the bush so much when they want to ask for something?”
The fox ignored the question and looked at the heart of the forest again.
“It is so peaceful. Someday I’d really like my bones to be a part of it.”
“Dude, I don’t know if that sounds beautiful or spooky. You actually want someone to gather your bones and…”
The owl’s eyes suddenly grew wider.
“You want ME to…”
“Only if you want to.”
Her head dropped. She knew the fox was old, but he was still fast and strong. Maybe he was sick? Why hadn’t she noticed? Was he…?
A sharp pain on the back of her head derailed her thoughts. An acorn lay at her feet.
“I said ‘someday’ dummy.”
The fox grinned mischievously.
“You know it. Race you to the creek!”
The fox dashed off into the bushes.
“Hey, no fair! You started early.”
“But you can fly.”