Under the fox moon. сh. 4

Chapter 4. The Exileds
     It was already evening, and Joe, tired, was still walking deeper into the forest. His stomach rumbled with hunger, and he decided to sit on a fallen tree and eat whatever food he had thrown into his backpack. The claws made it a little awkward to find food, but he could feel for the sandwich. However, the food seemed to him tasteless, disgusting, and he grimaced ... Then he tasted the cookies and spat them out again. Sharp fox fangs also appeared.
     Joe gathered up the brushwood and set it on fire, but when he saw the fire, he screamed at the fox and jumped back. Otherwise, it would not have been warm, but he was afraid of what happened to him after he left the city.
      While Nick was drinking water, he noticed a bunny at a distance from him. He wanted to catch him, as if in him the fox was becoming stronger than man. Nick pressed his tail, hid, began to wait for the moment to catch the hare closer and not lose his backpack.
- Sorry, mister hare, but I really want to eat, - said Nick and began the chase, good for him, it was not long.
      Joe held it in his teeth, like a real predator, he took his backpack and began to look around where he could sit.
     The fox-man tore the flesh of a hare and began to eat ... He was embarrassed, but it was delicious. It's a good thing I took some wet wipes with me, he thought.
Joe heard voices, and his ears turned towards the sound, the fur that had begun to grow on his neck and back rose up, bristling under his clothes. Tail up, down ...
      Two people approached him. Man and woman. But they were dressed as if it was the 15th century. Bad smells from them or from their dirty gray clothes could be heard in the distance.
- Oh, Charles, here is the fox man! the woman said.
- Fox?
They came closer:
- Where are you from, handsome? the woman asked.
- From Chigelbas. I was expelled on false charges. In murder. Don't get too close to me, ”Nick said, pulling out a black claw to keep her away from him, wincing.
- Are there foxes already? We are also exiled, but for a long time, we are stray dogs.
- Are you washing?
- We do not wash, we only know that we are in the 15th century. There is a river, if Harry's Sheepdog permits, we swim there. Why are you squinting?
     They took off their caps, and Joe saw dog ears.
- Sorry, I was rude. Joe Nick. But how can you ... Time can't change like that ... I need an overnight stay for one night, help me please.
- Fox, don't you know that dogs can attack you? the man asked.
- But we were people ...
- And that's true. This eruption ... Are you from there? You will not come back, people appeared there, a hundred surrounded the city. Now they call themselves Power.
- I see.
       New acquaintances  went with them.

       He entered the settlement, which was like from a movie about Robin Hood. Slops were thrown out of the windows, and once they almost hit Nick, but he managed to jump back. New acquaintances recommended asking in the tavern where you can spend the night. Fox among stray dogs.
- Whiskey ... Double ... With ice ... Hard day came out.
- I see
- Who are you?
- I? Tavern owner. Fox ...
    Joe took a sip of his whiskey and noticed how unkindly everyone was looking at him.
- Excuse me, sir, are my clothes covered in blood?
- There is little...
- I was just hungry ... But this is a hare. The transformation seems to affect us.
- I see.
- Do you have a room?
- Not here for you, but if you pay well, I'll find it.
     Joe took out the money and put it on the counter:
- Enough?
- Yes.
      As they left, a black shadow remained in the doorway. This is Harry Sheepdog.

     When everything was normal, it was a settlement of criminals, the so-called camp. After the eruption, the prison was forgotten, and men and women became stray dogs, plunging themselves into the Middle Ages. Nevertheless, their life was quite organized, and they felt better than when the guard stood over their souls.
    Harry  Sheepdog was one of the purebred dogs. Like his collie Louise. The couple received the title of local nobility and the most cunning of the inhabitants. And they could not miss the chance to catch the fox.
       Joe had to sort through the papers. As he went through them, he noticed a leaf from an old book. There was a knock on the door, and he immediately hid everything in his backpack and threw it under the table. Nick's house was near the animal shed, but he didn't care.
- Didn't it interfere?
      A collie woman entered the house. It seems she was from the nobility.
- No. I was about to go to bed.
- But when I saw you, I can't sleep. Do you like whiskey?
- Yes.
- I'm Louise. This house is mine.
- Nice to meet you. Joe Nick.
       She put the whiskey in front of him.
- Should I be careful?
- You shouldn't be afraid of me, madam.
      They started talking and the woman put her hand on his shoulder. Joe tried the whiskey anyway. And his head started spinning. Louise kissed him, Nick hugged her ... and passed out. She started looking for a backpack, but she couldn't find it. Meanwhile, Harry Sheepdog threw a sheep under Joe's door, killing several more, he and Louise smeared Joe with blood and ran their hand along the walls of the house, as if a brutal beast had touched them with a paw.
Joe was awakened by the noise and immediately rushed to check the backpack. All is well.
 And it's good that he is black.
-What's that noise?
     The crowd walked towards the house, led by the Sheepdog.
     Joe jumped out and hooked himself over the sheep. He looked around and understood everything. The dogs lured him to kill him and take the backpack.
- Assassin! Fox Warlock!
- What?

- Calm this circus, Harry, -  Joe heard an imperious voice.
- The Queen  Radosveta?
      Harry  Sheepdog and the crowd looked around. A red-haired woman in a beautiful green dress and with a large medallion on her chest signaled for the fox to go to her, and Joe was quickly there.
- He’s not a killer, Harry, disperse. It was a joke.
      But the crowd, disbelieving, rushed towards the woman. Then she took a whip from behind her back and struck the ground with it:
- Who dared to disobey me?
      The ground under the feet of some became water, and they fell through, whining and swimming, and sharp stakes appeared in front of Queen Radosveta and Joe, directed towards the people.
- You do not know my anger!
- Forgive us ... - Harry was forced to retreat
- Come on, - whispered Radosveta to Nick and they disappeared into the forest.

      In another part of it was her house. A seemingly small, two-story Victorian mansion.
      Fortunately, the queen had a shower, and Joe immediately left to wash. Radosveta brought him clothes - a white shirt and dark trousers. Joe decided not to throw away his jacket, unlike the rest of his clothes. Dirty and bloody.
- My name is Radosveta. I am the Second Queen Library. Queen Library is a position like your director. I've heard a lot about you, but you better not return to Chigelbas, otherwise you will be killed. You are wanted. And my daughter and I no longer have the opportunity to get there. Your people have stolen something of value from us, but we, the Library, can only get into where there are books. They were all burned there. We need a guide. And you need us ... After all, soon you will completely become a fox.
- Wow ... Wow ... I agree. I need to find Anna's killers.
- We'll find them.
      Joe held out a black, clawed hand, and the fine fur was like a long fur glove, such a strange transition from a fox's paw, still with human fingers, to human skin.
- Give me your backpack. And go to bed. My information is stored more reliably.