The sun has set and the night has fall. The night will be longer now since it’s already winter. The moon is nowhere to be seen, clouded by the thick layer of clouds pouring cold drizzle unto the sleeping city. People on the streets are wrapped tight inside their winter coat, trying their best to prevent the chill get to their body.
On the heart of the city, lay a huge green patch. Great Green Park, a big city park spreads amidst the towering skyscrapers. With it’s own lake, huge open spaces, and areas covered in foliages, the Great Green Park is one of the most visited place in the city. Spreading several blocks, the park is so enormous that most people hasn’t even seen all part of the park.
On one of the corner of Great Green Park, there are camps. A flock of homeless people gather and live there. The authority obviously has problem with it and of course has tried to get rid of them in the past. Led by an enigmatic young man only known as the Hobo, the collection of homeless people rendered the authorities effort fruitless. In the end, to avoid unrest within the society, the city left them alone and let them live there.
Just like every night, the park is quiet and almost feels lifeless, yet the homeless camps are brimming with life. Fire are blazing on sporadic spots across the camps spreading warmth to the people circling them. The people chat, drink, and eat, protected by the warming flame. Although they don’t have a permanent roof protecting them from nature, they seem content with what they have right now. What they do now is just like other communities out there; hanging out and sharing with each others.
On one of the fire spot, sitting alone a young man. He is known only as the Hobo, leader of the homeless man. He has done many things for the homeless community and regarded as their leader whether he intended it or not.
The Hobo’s eyes glistening red reflecting the dancing flame in front of him. His hand is holding a loaf of bread which he bit every now and then while waiting for the corn, his dinner, on top of the fire to roast nicely. He tries his best to conserve the bread so he can use it for breakfast all while holding down his hunger. The smell of the roasted corn fills the area, makes it harder for him to stay sane.
The Hobo turns his head. He heard rustling sounds from the bushes near him. It’s already night and cloudy, the lack of light makes it hard to see far. Hobo squints his eyes to let the light more focused.
Again. But this time the Hobo can see it. Something is moving there. “There’s something there, Hobo.” Some of the homeless man noticed it too and start to gather near the Hobo. “Well, yeah, I can see that, guys.” His eyes stay on one spot, not moving at all from the bushes.
Out of nowhere, a pebble is flying from behind the Hobo towards the bushes. Something in the bushes moves away from the location where the pebble landed and then… silence.
All the heads turn behind and glare at one man; the one who threw the pebble. “What?” He gives innocent look on his face, seemingly doesn’t realize what he did is wrong. Without saying anything else, and before anyone can react, he throw another pebble to everyone surprise.
The Hobo shouts at the man, “Hey! We don’t know what’s in-”
“Ow!” A high-pitched shriek come out from the bushes. All heads now turns back to the bushes. “Hey, at least it sounded human.” retort the pebble guy to which all the people around reply with a synchronous, “Sssssshhhhh!”
And then silence. Nothing move anymore on the bushes, nothing come out from the homeless man either. They seem captivated by whatever making the sound there. Then, everyone looks at the Hobo. Feeling that he’s being watched, he looks around and realizes that everyone is looking at him.
“What?” The Hobo asked a question whose answer he’s afraid to hear.
“Well, why don’t you checked it out?”
“Go on. See what’s there.”
Those homeless guys start nudging the Hobo forward, asking him to check what’s in the bush. Yes, his fear just came true. They asked him to go ‘there’ where ‘something’ unknown is. Answering their plea, the Hobo stands and walks forward, slowly. Very, very slowly.
“What are you afraid of? It sounded human, you should be fine.”
“Says you! Then why don’t come here and switch with me?” argued the Hobo. That makes them go silent.
Exhaling hards, the Hobo starts walking a little faster. As he getting nearer and nearer to the bushes, he can hear a moaning sound. With darkness as cover and no other sound, the moaning sounds eerie. That sound makes the Hobo a little hesitant to continue. By gathering all courage he has left, he continues to walk forward until he reaches the bushes.
A little scared, the Hobo peeks on the group of bushes. It’s dark. It’s hard to see under this condition. He looks around to no avail. The darkness is covering the bushes. There’s nothing weird that he can see.
Hearing a loud high-pitched scream from the vast darkness surprised the Hobo and made him scream too. Way behind the Hobo, the Homeless guys were surprised by his scream and screamed in unison before they scrambled and ran inside their own tents.
And then, the cloud clears a little, letting some moonshine to shine through. With the help of the moonlight, the Hobo finally see what’s in the bush. Thus, he stops screaming. In the bush is a little girl in a Japanese kimono with some blood on her forehead. She’s screaming in high-pitch, either surprised or scared or maybe both, from Hobo’s sudden appearance.
“Hey, hey! It’s okay. It’s okay. I’m not gonna hurt you,” the Hobo tried to calm the little girl, although he know his half-surprised face is not something for a scared girl to see. But, it seems the little girl can feels that the Hobo doesn’t have any bad intention; she stops screaming. The girl didn’t cried, she just sort of surprised and scared so she screamed. Scream is a woman defense mechanism after all.
When they both have calmed down, the Hobo can see something unusual with the little girl. Her ears are not on the side of her head like normal human, but there’s a pair of yellowish tall canine ears on top of her head. Behind her a big fluffy thing is moving around, swaying from right to left, and then return back to the right. It’s a tail.
The little girl and the Hobo stare at each other for several seconds. Then the girl blinks several times, “Hi, mister! Sorry for screaming. I was surprised to see your face after being hit with a stone.” The girl laughs softly.
“Hups,” with a swift and grace movement, the little girl stands up. She pats her butts several times to clean her kimono from dirts. Her tail’s swaying around as she cleans her kimono. No matter how you see it, that tail is undeniably real.
“Hey, are you…. a spirit?” Asked the Hobo.
“Hm?” The girl who was cleaning her kimono stops and looks at Hobo in excitement, “You recognize me?” Her tails swaying left to right quickly in excitement.
“Oh, no, no. I don’t know who you are. But, that’s ears and tails… A fox spirit?”
“Bingo!” The girls looks happy that Hobo know what exactly she is.
A fox spirit? A young one, too. How did she get here? She couldn’t crossed to this realm without big power.
“So, little fox, what’s your name?”
“Tama. At your service,” she winks and strikes a cute pose.
“Right, Tama. What are you doing here?”
“Well,” before she can finish, her stomach rumbles. “Ah!” Quickly Tama cover her stomach with both arms. Her face turns red. She seems embarrassed by that. “I picked up the smell of roasted corn and went here.”
“No, I mean…” The Hobo stops. He wanted to asked her about why she is on earthrealm, but he thinks that he should handle her hunger first.
“Well, Tama, want some roasted corn?”
“Really?!” Tama almost jump in excitement. She’s really hungry that she doesn’t even care that this is a standard pedophile’s MO. Tama just wants to eat.
Tama walks out from the bushes and heads to the campfire led by the Hobo. The campfire is deserted now. All other homeless men are hiding on their tents, peeking out to see what’s out there. And they are dumbfounded by what they see. Following the Hobo from the bushes is a little girl with pink hair wearing a kimono. That alone is not odd for them. What stunned them are the ‘accessories’ that attached to the girl’s head and back. The fact that those ‘ears’ and ‘tail’ can move makes them wondered what that girl is.
“Hey,” The Hobo shouts at the hiding homeless, “are you really scared of a little girl?”
“W-what is that girl?”
“This here is a young fox spirit from the spirit realm,” The Hobo explains. Those homeless people often heard otherworldly stories from the Hobo, but never witness it first hand. This is their first time seeing a being from outside of the earthrealm.
“Here,” the Hobo picks his roasted corn and hands it over to Tama when they already sit near the fire. That was his dinner. He’s glad he kept some bread; he can eat it for dinner.
“Thanks, mister!” Tama’s tail wags happily when she receives the corn. Very hungry, she munches down the corn without hesitation. Her ears and tail moving around rapidly while she’s eating.
The homeless people slowly walks near seeing that the girl looks harmless; they even think she looks cute.
“Mister!” Before Tama finishes her corn, before the homeless people get to near, before the Hobo manages to react, Tama jumps at the Hobo and shoves him away. A sharp knife slices through the empty air where Hobo was before.
The owner of the knife lands near the campfire. He wears a hood covering his face. Knives are held firmly on his hands. He jumped out from the tree to attack the Hobo. Tama senses, as a fox spirit, are much keener than normal human. She managed to realize the man’s presence just before his knife reach the Hobo’s neck.
The Hobo and the homeless people are shocked. The man came out of nowhere and tried to kill the Hobo. This could be dangerous. The Hobo stands and signals the homeless people to keep their distance.
“Who are you?” The hobo asked the man.
“Who I am is not a concern of a guy who are about to die,” without hesitation the man rushes forward to the Hobo with knives on his hands. The Hobo shoves Tama away from the dangerous man and blocks the knives with bare hands. The hooded man jumps back. He looks surprised from the Hobo’s feat. No ordinary man should be able to block knives that sharp empty handed.
The Hobo prepare a stance. His face looks serious.
“Tama, stay away,” the Hobo calls Tama while keeping eye contact with the mysterious man, “This wouldn’t be good.”