He'd wanted to show her this place—this forest where he'd been a boy and hadn't been back since. He'd expected to find it changed. Not like this. The storms had uprooted whole trees. The brook roared, churning with debris, fighting to drag it all down into the valley. "Tell me," she said, watching him. He loved her. He didn't know where to begin.
An old fox greeted us at the edge, three-tailed and red like fire. I was so small that her snout reached my neck, smelling of the cloying musk of foxes, thick and odd, like dirty metal gripped in my hand. She came to Aimi like one of the village dogs, completely unafraid, and kissed her cheek.