Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
On and on, the beat went. While a woman, shrouded in shadow, waits, leaning against a well-worn table in an abandoned bar. She hums under her breath, gaze locked on the ticking timepiece in her hand, toes tapping to a song only she can hear.
Click. She shuts the watch, pushes away from the table, and steps into the growing light of dawn, poring unfiltered through a large glass-less window. She sighs, white-tipped crimson tail swishing behind her, and again, she taps her toes.
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
The clock mocks her as it continues to grind, forever travelling into infinity. It cares not for her patience, the worry it causes within her as the sun rises before her eyes.
Still, she waits. What she’s waiting for is more important than any possibly wasted time.
Large bright red ears twitch, twisting towards the new sound, and she whips around instinctively, unsheathing claws, baring sharp teeth. The Fox blinks, pausing to watch as a figure dressed in deep blues steps forward, a similar pocket-watch dangling from a raised slender hand. The Fox raises her eyes, and before her brain can confirm the images; bright eyes, pale skin and hair, a tall pair of ears, she’s already dropped her threatening stance.
The grin that bursts to life across the Fox’s lips speaks volumes, but when she opens her mouth, her companion beats her to the punch. Racing forward, knocking the air from the Fox’s lungs as two thin but strong arms wrap around her, squeezing tight.
The Fox blinks, then returns the embrace with just as much vigor, pressing her nose deep into her companions neck. Heather and wood and the damp smell of the earth fills her nose, her lungs. And the Fox relaxes, fears abating, fleeing back to the dark corners of her mind.
They say nothing, even as they part, hands still locked around each others arms. The Rabbit smiles, soft, intense, a thousands words spoken without sound.
“Missed you.” The Fox whispers, smiling without teeth, tail swishing rapidly. The Rabbit returns the smile, eyes flashing with joy, one foot thumps twice against the hardwood.
“Missed you too.” She replies, hands squeezing, once, twice, before pulling the Fox into another embrace. The Fox doesn’t mind, standing still, holding her beloved close, wondering, distantly, how long it had been.
Without meaning too, she begins to hum. Her song, their song, a song without words, but a tune the Fox could never forget. But she doesn’t need the words, her Rabbit remembers them well enough, her smaller sweeter voice joining the Fox’s humming.
They dance, minutes turning to hours, both Fox and Rabbit unbothered by the passing of time, the light that pours into their meeting place. It only helps them see each other better, to see the debris littering the floor of this run down bar.
They dance, voices intertwining, and for a moment, it feels like no time has passed at all. That they have merely had a lengthy nap, only to return to dancing, chasing and singing with only the natural world; the sun, the earth, the plants, as their only witnesses.
Ding. Dong. Ding. Dong.
Their clocks chime in sink, drawing their dance to a sudden end. The Fox pulls away first, darting over the creaking floorboards, stopping to stand before the window, between the shattered shards of sparking glass. She tilts her head, smiles, and leaps out the empty frame.
A laugh echoes behind, following her as she races across the earth, listening to the sounds of her companions steps. The Fox leaps over a rusted overturned car, spinning in the air, looking back, and for those few seconds, basks in the beauty of her Rabbit; practically glowing in the sunlight, the vision of a story the Fox barely remembers.
The Fox lands, kicking up dust amongst the twisting weeds and scattered remains. She pauses, turning to face the land stretching beneath her elevated position atop the hill.
The landscape is vast, vaster than she remembers, and littered with broken earth; jagged cracks, and structures of stone and metal and glass. There had been a spiraling civilization here once, and the Fox wonders how things had turned out for them. If she would see those who had populated the world, who had sent herself and the beings like her into a sleep so deep she’s unsure how many years have passed. Both after her sleep, and after those that had filled the spaces her kind had lived in.
Many more than she cares to think about, she’s sure. If the choking vines and green creeping around rusting metal and coiling around crumbling stone columns.
They were stories once, herself and her companion, then, these people came. Humans, strange and wonderful and terrible creatures. So loud, so imaginative. Who fought and loved and lost, those who were cast into oblivions embrace not too long before the Fox reawakened.
Now, with them gone, now is time for monsters, for creatures of fantasy and nightmares, to return to walking the earth.
The Rabbit pulls her out of her thought, physically tugging on her hand, a bright grin stretching her face. The Fox mimics the look, and lets herself be lead into the unknown.
It is time for new stories to begin.