I was minding my own business, sniffing weeds, searching for the scent of female urine, when a human boy jumped out from behind a rock and grabbed me. I squeaked and squirmed, stunned and terrified. I hadn’t sensed the boy at all. Normally, my twitchy nose picks up even the faintest scents, especially HUMAN scents. But this boy was different. Instead of being clumsy and stupid, he moved as silently as any coyote I have ever come up against. He was a true predator and I immediately knew why. As I squirmed in his grubby hands, his scent, previously undetected, grew stronger. It was the stench of disease. The same disease that is sometimes present on certain coyotes.
I caught a glimpse of the human boy’s face just before his teeth sank into me: wild yellow pinwheel eyes, spinning in feral circles, white foam at the mouth, drooling down his chin. And he was HOT. Fire hot. His hands scorched my soft fluffy fur and my long delicate ears.
And then he had me between his teeth and I squealed like a little girl bunny, expecting my throat to be torn out even before I smelled my own blood. But something distracted him at just that instant and he made a curious sound and dropped me to the desert floor. I hit it hopping, hopping just as fast as my little feet would allow, darting around rocks and sagebrush as if it were a whole PACK of coyotes upon me.
What startled the rabid boy, I didn’t know. A rattler slithering across his Converse sneakers? A hawk squawking in the sky? I didn’t care. I only knew that once again I had escaped death with nothing more than a few scratches (or in this case a few bite marks) to show for it.
But already I could feel the fever setting in. Though the boy had barely broken the skin it had been enough. I knew I would be a raving lunatic by the following day and so I hurried home to my hole to say goodbye to my mate and 25 children.
And now I roam the desert alone, my true life stolen by the rabid boy, my previously gentle and happy demeanor but a memory. Instead of frolicking through the desert, eating, breeding, pissing, I wait near footpaths and picnic areas. I prick my ears and twitch my nose. I look cute and pretend I’m tame. I let the children approach and catch me. And then I bite them back.