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New serial fiction from Rodger Jacobs...

Her fresh scent lingered on a clump of dry brown manzanita at a point where the trail forked. Traveling north would take her back into the park and the rolling hills and rambling thicket but her journey was decidedly southern, away from the wilderness and toward the human dens. If she got anywhere near the winding paved roadways, the hot asphalt and the careening steel carriers that transported humans from one den to the next, her path would be cut short. I would probably find her at the side of the road, lying in a patch of dry brush waiting to die.

I know more about humans than most coyotes have the right or privilege to know. I once lived among them. I can speak their language but only to a select few. I know their customs and I know their ways. If I was going to find her, I would have to go back into their world again. Their hunting and grazing field is large, hemmed in one edge by the sand-blown Land of the Ancestors and the other by the vast body of water they call an ocean.

A human appeared on the trail below me, a young female wearing short blue pants that exposed her tan white legs and a shirt that barely cupped her swaying bulbous breasts. She wore a backpack and a look of fixed determination on her sweaty brow. I stepped forward quietly.

“Excuse me,” I said in my most polite tone. “Will that trail take me to Los Feliz Boulevard?”

Her eyes rolled into the back of her head as if she had been thunderstruck, she opened her painted lips as if to speak but no words came forth, and she collapsed in the brush. This is what normally happens when I try to talk to humans.

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