Yoicks; a fox hunter cry urging on the hounds.
The peacefulness of the woods was shattered by the sounds of many dogs barking and horses’ hooves stomping. Animals fled, running for hiding places but it was the fox who burst through the bushes that was being chased.
The loud cry of a hunting horn pieced the air followed by the led man’s voice urging the hounds forward. The dogs crashed through the undergrowth, eagerly searching for their prey.
The fox, full of blind panic tripped into a muddy pool. He sank to the bottom before struggling up the surface. He swim across, leaving waves behind and came out on the other side coated in mud.
Slower now he made his way in between two trees and stopped by a large stone trove. It was deep enough to hide in but not to be come trapped in. He looked down and saw a leave covered bed at the bottom. Slipping in, he found a chest high level of stinky, collected rain water under the leaves but since he could stand, he settle, letting the leaves cover him listened and he listened to the noise above.
The hounds had followed the trail to the pool where the spent a few minutes sniffing around. This give the hunting party time to catch up, the men in red coats milled around on the backs of their horses, waiting for the hounds to re-find the trail. Once the dogs did, they give howls of joy and set off again.
The scent of the fox was weak though and now as the hounds came towards the stone trove they found the fox smell had gone again. The dogs sniffed; earth, rotting vegetation, stagnate water, decomposing autumn leaves, the smell of each other, horses and men but no fox.
Desperately the dogs search, wondering a bit further away each time, letting their noses led them. The horses and riders joined them, coming to a stop again but some of the men could see the dogs had lost the trail.
The led hunter rallied the hounds, encouraging them to find the fox. The dogs did as he asked but they became more and more stressed at the vanished prey.
Deciding to press on, in the hopes the scent was found again, the hunting party left the area.
After a few minutes, making sure the sounds of dogs and horses were in the distant, the fox climbed out of the stone trove with a struggle. He was weighted down by mud and slimy water, he smelt bad but it had saved his life.
Walking back through the trees, he went to the muddy pool again. He swim across, shook out his coat then trotted off into the undergrowth, leaving the hunting party far away in the opposite direction.
(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/04/25/thursday-photo-prompt-shade-writephoto/ with thanks).