What started out as a short story for my niece has spiralled, with quite some speed, into me writing a full book. I have never written anything like this before but I don’t think I have ever written anything like this fast, or freely before either and it is exhilarating. I don’t know what is going to come from this, or what I hope to do with it along the way, all I know is I’m really happy with this preface-kind-of-thing and I wanted to share it. So here is the first glimpse into the world of Riley and the Fox.
The woods, in any part of the world, all sizes and densities, are the most magical places you could ever hope to get lost in. This is for one simple reason, the woods is where, if you are careful and know what you’re looking for, you can find the true essence of life itself. From the tiny ants making their nests to the trees making oxygen and all the magic in-between, there is nothing on this earth quite like the woods. They have been here long before any of us and, if we are kind to them, they’ll be here long after us too.
For the sake of this story however, the woods in question is a small outcropping in the centre of a village in the South of England. With just two gates, one at each side, a small river and one lonely commemorative plaque, from an outsiders perspective these woods may seem rather unassuming. But what do outsiders really know about anything on the inside anyway?
If you were to ask any local human, or dog, about these woods you will see their faces light up in an instant. If you don’t, this means you have been unfortunate enough to ask a poor soul whom has just recently moved to the area and have therefore, sadly, not yet discovered it themselves.
Every local resident has their favourite story about these woods.
Mrs Baker will take any opportunity you give her to tell you all about the time Mr Baker proposed to her: they took a summer evening stroll to The Old Wise Tree where, in their younger years, they had spent many an afternoon reading together under it’s canopy. Mr Baker got down on one knee, forgetting about the freak rain storm the night before, slipped and found himself covered in mud, holding the ring box up in the air from the flat of his back. Before he passed away Mr Baker had a different angle on the story, protesting that he had not slipped at all but rather the ground beneath him moved. He soon gave up trying to correct his beloved wife however, seeing how happy she was telling it her way.
Spike, the O’Malley’s dog, still brags about the time she found a stick the size of a young tree, even if her pals don’t believe her; spike’s humans made her leave it in the woods and it’s something she has never quite forgiven them for. Her grudge is so strong that she now refuses to play fetch with sticks, though she has yet to properly explain exactly why this is to her humans.
My favourite story about these woods however, cannot be contained between just one “once upon a time” and one “the end” for my favourite story is the lifetime of adventures that were shared in the woods between one little human called Riley and one little fox called Fox.