Dad’s been lying to Mum about taking his medication. He winks at me slyly whenever she checks.
It’s our secret.
Sometimes, he wakes me when she’s sleeping. Giggling behind our hands, we sneak down to the garage in our pyjamas. It’s good to see him laugh.
In the darkness, nothing seems strange. Driving, we’re adventurers, country lanes are the black nothingness of space, or the bottom of an inky sea, moths and flies shooting past like luminescent fish.
As we hit it, car rocking, the fox in the road is a solid shard of light, a spirit suddenly erased.
Dad swears, reversing.
In the headlamps, the fox is a crushed chocolate mouse leaking sticky fondant, a split toy spilling red stuffing.
Kneeling on the muddy verge, Dad lifts its head, hands a gentle cradle. Shaking, he closes its eyes, brushes its long snout.
“Touch it Kate.”
I feel sick. The pelt is smooth and cold.
“It’s dying Dad.” In the cold light, Dad begins to cry. “It’s hopeless.”
Putting my hand on his shoulder, he pushes his head into my hip.
“Oh Kate, oh Kate, oh Kate,” he moans.
“It’s not your fault,” I say.
But I know it is.