There was a dog fox dead on the roadside verge. It was neatly dressed and crisp with its body calm in the morning, so cleanly killed you’d wonder it was dead at all.
I saw the corpse as I went to town and I marked it. But when I came back, there was a blue van stopped with the back lights flashing, and a man wearing gloves in the road. He leaned to pick that fox by the root of its tail, and he was holding it in one hand as I wound down my window and asked him what he was doing. I said “That’s a grand morning, and what are you doing?” He agreed that it was fine right enough, and he was shifting that fox out the road. I said “How come?” and he said he was sorry to see meat mashed to mince by the weight of lorries going back and forth to the sawmill. He said the creature was a bonnie thing and it was only fair to let it rot in peace before the working day snarled it up like a rag.
The fox had lain as if sleeping on the roadside. But gathered up, a foot of its guts fell in a loop from its belly. Blood or something slopped suddenly from a gape of the upturned mouth. Then stiff and tossed to somewhere new, it came to earth with a jolt ungainly; belly-up with legs at broken angles. That landing woke and killed it both with greater violence than whatever truck had caused the creature to lie down and dream in the small hours of the morning. I heard it splutter in the cover of the brambles, recalling some snatch of its own starlit drowse.
Refusing peace so kindly meant, those night-dried eyes have fixed themselves upon a more destructive road. And grinning, the woken thing begins to pad upon the inside of its own skin, feeling for some seam or weakness through which it might pour.