He flicked his thumb across the phone’s screen to switch over to the weather app, but it just told him there was a network error and to please try again later.
Frowning, he glanced to the right to check the window, but they’d put tinted screens over most of them that rendered every day sort of gray and muted-looking. Still trying to get his phone to connect to the errant server, he headed for the back patio door… that one wasn’t tinted, at least.
The day was still pretty gray, but he scarcely noticed. There was a fox lying on his trampoline. How’d it get in? was his first thought. The condo yard was surrounded by a high wooden privacy fence. Could foxes jump that? He didn’t know. He hadn’t even known there were foxes anywhere near.
It was definitely there, and it was definitely a fox. He wasn’t sure if he’d recognize a coyote from a stray dog, but he knew a fox when he saw one. He’d never seen one in real life, and couldn’t recall where he’d ever seen one photographed, but the foxiness of the creature could not be denied. From the red-brown fur to the angular face to the bushy tail to the black, sock-like markings on all four of her feet, she was definitely all fox.
He hadn’t ever even realized that foxes had socks, but looking at her now, he couldn’t picture her without them.
He suddenly realized that the thing he was holding in his hands was also a camera, and that the image of a fox hanging out on his trampoline was one that would be worth preserving and sharing. Maybe if he kept watching, she—he wasn’t sure at what point it had become she in his mind, but he was nearly as sure about that as he was sure that she was a fox—would get up and start jumping around, and he could get a video of it. Either way, he was definitely getting a few pics.
He glanced down at his phone only long enough to find the camera button, but when he looked back up, he almost dropped it.
There was a woman on the trampoline, lounging on her side. She was naked, except for black knee-high socks and elbow-length gloves. Her hair was auburn, her cheeks round and full and her nose turned slightly upwards into an impish point. She was lying in the same place and nearly the same position as the fox had been, and when he’d fully processed the fact that it was the exact same place and there was no sign of another separate creature who had been laying there before, he did drop the phone.
He cursed, bent down to get it, hit his head on the patio door, cursed again, and only recovered his cameraphone and a little bit of dignity and grace in time to watch a bushy tail disappearing over the top of the back fence.
His backyard was now empty, and it seemed that foxes could indeed jump that high.