James was not one of the few weighted with the honorable title of Foxworthy, despite the yellowish tint to his brown eyes. The naming ceremony was not easily forgotten; he would remember it in detail. His red-tipped brown hair had never seen an herbalist's concoction, despite the continual inquiries about where he had obtained such a sought-after potion.
The sharp tip of an exceptionally ill-placed rock dug into his spine but despite his discomfort James didn't want to move. He cracked an eye open but squeezed it shut immediately.
It was still there.
Why was it still there?
Bright, staring yellow-brown eyes. Reddish fur. White neck and chest. Alert ears.
No. This was not happening. There was not a fox sitting on his torso, watching him with intelligence and expectation in its gaze. His dreams had suddenly become much more vivid and realistic.
*I know you're awake.*
And now he was hearing things. Perfect.
*One generally hears things when another is speaking to them.*
Sarcastic things. Even better.
*The quicker you come to terms with the reality of your situation, the sooner I will get off your chest.*
James slowly opened his eyes. The fox tilted its head and blinked at him.
*That took much longer than necessary. Please respond in a more timely manner in the future.*
James groaned. "Why me? What did I do to deserve this?"
*You were born.* The fox jumped off of James, landing lightly on the forest floor. *Have you never looked in a mirror? Never wondered why you so resemble the creatures your people pay such homage to?*
"Everyone else wonders enough for me." James sat up and brushed himself off. "I think I'll leave now."
The fox leaped up and landed on James's shoulder. *Indeed. It is past time for us to be going.*
Frowning, James swatted at the fox. "Get off me!"
Digging its claws into James's shirt, the creature settled into a comfortable position. *Head north.*
With a loud groan, James clambered to his feet. "I'm definitely missing dinner today."