The Trinket [Comm]


The Trinket
By Horatio Husky
Commissioned by Hunter

Chapter One

The Will

Hunter sighed as his mother, who he was currently on the phone with, continued to drawl about the contractual obligations he now had to abide by. His great aunt, or now his late great aunt, had left him a few things in her will that came with a few specific rules.

The fennec fox had barely known her, other than seeing her at a Christmas party and once during Thanksgiving when he was very young. She was not really even his aunt, being an in-law and a cheetah to boot. He had heard a few stories about her, some from his mother who had always spoken about her with a degree of awe mixed with disapproval. Whether or not she was even really his aunt in-law was in question sometimes, but her presence in the family was nevertheless appreciated, if not coveted.

She had been an Egyptianologist, but not the kind that mostly stays on the campus of a university. Accused several times of being no better than a bounty hunter with a college degree, she would often beguile whoever cared to listen at the taverns and bars she was often found at about her great adventures in the middle east. There were usually many stories told and drinks bought during such evenings.

Her alcoholism aside, she had apparently kept up her taste for adventuring into abandoned tombs and caves right up until the very end. They never recovered her, but enough time had passed where her body had been declared lost and her vast collection of artifacts reclaimed by the museums and universities. Judging from their hasty reclamation of such items, they had been waiting for exactly such an opportunity as her disappearance.

They had claimed most of the artifacts, at least.

“So like, dumb it down for me a bit, Mom?”

Hunter asked, a slight note of exasperation coloring his tone of voice as one of his large ears flicked to the side in irritation. It was his mother’s turn to sigh, which was followed up by a response.

“You just can’t sell any of the stuff. You’re supposed to keep it as if it were a family heirloom. There’s some evidence to support that this does belong to us give or take a hundred generations.”

Hunter replied back.

“Right, don’t sell. Just keep it. Anything else?”

“Not until they go through the rest of her possessions and check her records. You might be getting some money too, but that’ll take a while.”

Right… After the state takes its hefty cut…

Hunter thought to himself, but he did his best to keep his sense of sarcasm out of the conversation.

“Great, thanks Mom.”

“Of course honey, was there anything else you wanted to know about Auntie Tare?”

Hunter, knowing that this would probably prolong the conversation for another good hour, shook his head before realizing that his mother could not see his reaction. He cleared his throat before he spoke.

“Hrm… No, no. I think I’m good for now, still… Processing and all that. I’ll talk to you later Mom.”

“Okay sweetie, let me know what’s in the box. It looks mysterious!”

“Yeah, I will. Love you Mom.”

“Love you sweetie, bye bye now.”

The line went silent, and Hunter put his phone down on the table with a sigh of relief. As silence enveloped the apartment, interrupted only by the soft hum of the refrigerator in the kitchen, the fennec’s gaze drifted over to the box that sat in front of him on the dining room table.

The word that could describe the wooden container could only be described as ornate. Carvings of Egyptian hieroglyphs laced with what he suspected was gold lining on the borders of the miniature crate gave the appearance of a most valuable item being stored inside. The wood had been treated with oil, and with great care as well. Part of him wondered if the box might be empty, as the container itself looked relatively valuable. Whatever it was, he was not surprised that his aunt had mentioned that he was not allowed to sell it.

I’d probably make a pretty penny off of it too…

Hunter mused to himself, as he pushed his chair back and stood up, only to crouch in front of the box in order to more closely examine its decor. He was not literate in Egyptian hieroglyphs, nor was he particularly interested in learning more about them. History had always bored the little fox, and despite having a renowned, though estranged, Egyptologist in the family it never sparked the same fascination and excitement as it did in Aunt Tare.

Well, might as well have a look then.

Reaching forward, he undid the clasp on the front of the box and pushed the lid open. Its hinges worked silently, and Hunter immediately noted that the entire inside of the box was laced with a vibrant, purple velvet.

Amidst the swathes of cloth, Hunter beheld a palm sized brooch made of a mixture of dulled copper and gold. Marveling at it, the fennec’s eyes widened as he scanned its surface. The fennec picked it up with a paw and noted its significant weight. Equipped with a pin which Hunter presumed was intended to keep a cloak around a traveler’s shoulders, Hunter turned the brooch over and let out a surprised breath. The ornament had been placed upside down in its container, and it was studded with several small jewels with one large piece in its center. Peering closely at them, it took Hunter a moment to realize that they were opals.

In the center of the metal disk, the largest of the opals was oval in shape. It gleamed as if freshly polished when it caught the last of the afternoon sun streaming from Hunter’s half shuttered window. A small scratch in the center of the opal was the only blemish on the piece, revealing the rainbow colored insides of the gem that refracted in ever changing patterns of color as he turned it over.

Strangely, despite the fact that it had been sitting in the box ever since it had been delivered to his doorstep inside of its own, discrete cardboard container, the brooch was warm to the touch.

And it felt like it was getting warmer.

“It’s… pretty…”

Hunter said lamely, to no one in particular. His initial curiosity had been sated, and he was now coming to the conclusion that he really had no use for the gem-encrusted display piece other than to perhaps show it off for his friends.

The more he thought about it, being the owner of such a valuable piece now might mean
that he would have to take insurance out on it.

Great… Another responsibility…

The fennec thought grimly to himself.

Hunter was about to set the artifact down, when the opal flashed catching his eyes. Blinking, he looked down at the gem and wondered if he had imagined the sudden luminescence that had come from the piece. Gingerly, he brought it back up to his eyes and peered closely at the scratch on the gem’s surface to see if he had missed some refractive angle inside of the opal’s crack.

Seeing that there was nothing he could immediately detect, he placed the brooch back
down in its comfortable bed, this time right side up with the opal facing the ceiling of his apartment. He thought about where he should put the box, glancing around his apartment and seeing now apparent free space where he might rest it.

I’ll probably just chuck it into my closet or something…

His stomach rumbled, reminding him that his mother’s phone call had caused him to miss lunch at a reasonable hour. Closing the box, he decided to put his inheritance out of his mind for the time being. Padding over to his closet, he picked out his jacket and fumbled the keys to his apartment out of the bowl they rested in.

I’m kind of hankering for some chicken…

He thought to himself, his mind already beginning to drift away from the strange set of rocks that were now his, now and forever. He did, however, check twice that he had locked the door to his apartment before bounding down the staircase leading to the lobby of his apartment complex.


Chapter Two

Class is in Session

Hunter’s eyes moved to the bottom right of the computer screen for what must have been the tenth time in the last few minutes. He was in his Calculus 204 class, which despite only being a forty-five minute class felt like it was dragging on forever. The fennec really needed to pee, an urgency that had beset him only a few minutes into the hour and with complete suddenness.

He thought he was going to be able to ignore it at first, as he knew his professor’s attitude towards students who interrupted his ‘teaching flow’. The intensity of the need to relieve himself had grown steadily, until he was beginning to squirm in his seat.

The fox’s tail twitched, an outward sign of his increasing discomfort as he typed out a note on his word document and checked the time once more.

Just fourteen more minutes… Only fourteen more minutes… You can wait fourteen more minutes…

In the corner of his screen, Hunter saw a chat message pop up the name of which he recognized as the weasel that sat next to him, Jack. Although Hunter had always suspected that the mustelid was only friends with him because of his willingness to share his notes, the wily mammal had more than made up for this fact by having a tolerable sense of humor.

Are there ants in your pants dude?

Hunter grimaced, then quickly changed his facial expression to that of a blank one as he made eye contact with the professor. His teacher, a polar bear who took a special enjoyment in utilizing his intimidating visage to keep students in line, held it for a second too long before he diverted his attention back to the blackboard.

Yeesh… You’d think we’re a bunch of high school students the way he treats us…

Putting his thoughts on his professor aside, Hunter typed out a quick response before alt-tabbing back to his notes document.

Gotta pee. Bad. Dunno what’s up.

Hunter checked the clock, noting that there were twelve minutes left until he could gather up his belongings and make a beeline for the bathroom. There were two flights separating him from the nearest gentleman’s room, and he was seriously beginning to feel the ache in his bladder get to him.

The fennec was even considering whether to risk the wrath of the Calculus professor and just getting up and leaving. He was barely able to pay attention to the tired voice of the bear to begin with.

What’s wrong with me?

Hunter was perplexed, as he did not recall drinking enough coffee that morning to constitute such an urgency. Bottom right of his screen, another message popped up.

Pee out the window, quick while no one’s looking.

Hunter rolled his eyes, and then immediately regretted it.

“Mr. Sully, is there something about today’s lesson that you are finding particularly lugubrious?”

The polar bear was now staring at him, and the eyes of everyone in the class had moved over to the little fennec as well. Some of the furs, knowing they were out of eyesight of the surly bear, snickered at the fox’s misfortune. The bear did like to pick on people at random, and it was partially done in good sport but nevertheless the overwhelming presence of the bear was a little intimidating.


Hunter said, intelligently, glancing down to see another message pop up, this time from his other friend in class.


Malissa, an otter, caught his eye at the other end of the room and made a face at him. This relieved the tension somewhat, giving Hunter enough willpower to formulate a proper response. Realizing that this might be his only chance to avoid disaster, Hunter decided to be straight forward.

“No, I’m sorry professor. I know how much you hate interruptions but to be completely frank my bladder is about to explode on me, excuse me.”

The bear sighed, bringing his forepaw up to the bridge of his nose and squeezing it.

“Have you absorbed anything I said in the past few minutes?”

Hunter froze, in the middle of getting up, and then sheepishly shook his head no. The bear sighed again, but not unkindly.

“See me after class and I’ll fill in the holes in your notes. Now go, go!”

Hunter bolted, the laughter of the class behind him receding as he made his way towards the stairwell. The last thing he could make out was the bear beginning a speech on the importance of relieving oneself before the start of class which was greeted by even more laughter.

Normally, Hunter would have been embarrassed, but in that moment he was so determined to make it that even being the temporary butt of the joke in his class was not something he cared about.

Come on… Almost there…

Hunter was now desperate, panting; he burst through the doors of the men’s room and rushed into the first open stall. His paws fumbled over his belt buckle as he hastily undid the front zipper of his pants. He was already peeing, as a wet mark had grown on the front of his boxers, but he was just able to direct the stream into the bowl before he completely soiled the front of his pants.

The fennec fox sighed in relief, leaning one paw against the side of the stall as he caught his breath.

“What… On earth… Did I drink…”

He spoke aloud, the overwhelming sense of relief from the dire situation washing over him.

“Dunno mate but if I’m being totally honest I don’t care man.”

A voice from several stalls over jarred him out of his relieved reverie.

“Uh, sorry?”

Hunter posed, and there was a grunt of acknowledgement from the other fur that had spoken. Hunter redid the front of his pants, washed his paws, and slinked back down to class.

𓅯 𓆣 𓄃

Hunter returned to class as only a couple of minutes remained, the professor had finished up the point he was trying to illustrate early and had excused the class early.

The fennec picked up his laptop, shouldering his book bag and padded over to the side of the polar bear’s desk.

“First off, are you okay?”

The bear asked, his demeanor somewhat softened as his brown eyes met Hunter’s blue ones.

“Yeah, fine. Sorry, bit stressed I guess.”

The polar bear gave him a look that told him that he did not fully believe the fox but he was not going to press further. The bear continued unabashed.

“Look, you’re one of my brighter students and you clearly understand the material. I understand that people make mistakes but please, you’ve got to get this information in your brain as smoothly as possible. Please don’t let this happen again.”

Hunter was silent, but he nodded quickly in response. He was surprised to hear this, as he had never seen this side of his professor. Something about him told him that the bear was much nicer than he portrayed himself to be.

“Okay, this is what we covered in a nutshell…”

The bear changed the topic back to mathematics, which Hunter was relieved to be able to contemplate without distraction.

𓃂 𓂀 𓁔

“Dude, what happened? Did he try to eat you?”

Hunter snorted as he took a seat next to Jack, who had pieces of tuna fish sandwich stuck in his whiskers and was chewing loudly. Malissa chimed in, appearing more sympathetic to Hunter’s plight than the ruthless weasel.

“Please wipe your muzzle, you’re an awful sight.”

She quipped, handing the weasel a napkin which the mustelid accepted, only to blow his nose into it instead of what it’s proffered use was.


Hunter commented, taking a seat and reaching over to take Jack’s bag of chips.


Jack, playing up the drama as much as he could, gaped at Hunter and motioned with his paw at the stolen bag of goods. Hunter, who was feeling uncannily churlish at that moment, stuck his tongue at him before opening the bag and taking a deep sniff of its contents.

“You get my math notes, I get your food. It’s only fair.”

Malissa widened her eyes at him as well, but was unable to suppress the chortle that came out of his muzzle as she watched Hunter take a pawful of potato crisps and cram them into his muzzle.

“Excuse me! This is daylight robbery!”

Jack exclaimed, crossing his arms and giving Hunter the stink eye. He continued, sounding a little cross as he did so.

“I offer you endless entertaining commentary in exchange for your well-written notes and this is how you respect our deal, the nerve!”

Hunter mumbled between a mouthful of salted chips.

“I feel sorry for you is the only point of reality in this entire exchange.”

“Well, I’m glad you’re feeling better after a special time with Daddy mathematics after you almost had your accident.”

Hunter gave him a look, looking over to see Malissa’s judgment of the statement. She appeared neutral, too neutral, clearly she was entertained by the exchange but didn’t want to interfere.

The fennec was used to Jack’s antics, he was a little immature after all. Raising his eyebrows at the weasel he pronounced as quietly and nonchalantly as he could after he swallowed his mouthful.

“No Calc notes today then I’m afraid, we’re all out of stock.”

“Oh come on!”

Jack exclaimed, and this time it was both Malissa and Hunter that burst out laughing at the weasel’s incredulous expression.

Chapter Three

Blue’s Clues

Hunter stared at the page of figures in front of him, one of many in the two inch thick textbook laid open at the study table. The fennec had been attempting to read the same paragraph for the past several minutes, but for some reason was unable to process the meaning of the words.

At least, he consoled himself, he was actually trying. To his left, Jack was smirking at the screen of his laptop as he browsed through YouTube, the sound of the videos just barely audible in the earbuds lodged in his ears over the noise of the buzzing overhead light. Malissa was on her phone, the text document on her own laptop untended as she browsed through whatever media app she had opened.

Hard at work, or hardly working?

This mantra repeated itself a few times in Hunter’s head, further stymying his attempts at regaining concentration. Their exam was in two days, and only Hunter appeared worried about it. Malissa had already expressed her desire to get a B in the class and nothing more, while Jack, Hunter was sure, was banking on his elevated homework score to keep him adrift. An elevated homework score, that was the result of copious copying of Hunter’s own work.

The fennec was sure that the professor was well aware of this not-so-ethical exchange, but did not care enough to address it. After all, cheating on the exams was by near impossible and was the proper demonstration of who really grasped the content.

But that was not what was keeping Hunter’s mind off task.

The previous evening, during his own meanderings on internet video entertainment, he had stumbled upon a review of children’s shows that struck his interest. Most notably, his favorite show as a child had been Blue’s Clues, and seeing the friendly face of the blue canine had tickled something in his brain that caused him to click on the video.

One video was all that it took, and before he knew it he had spent several hours watching clips and even a few full episodes of the show and feeling downright giddy. Although he was not aware of it until he had finally decided to go to bed, his eyelids drooping telling him that it was very much time to call it, he had been completely worry free in those hours. No thoughts of assignments, classes, social obligations, club meetings, nothing. The sense of freedom and elation that came with such a leaving of his own life had been blissful, and had caused him to feel a little strange.

He had not been able to fully parse what that experience had been, although it certainly helped him sleep better without having intrusive thoughts to badger him before his dreams. Even though, as he stared at the textbook page with his friends around him apparently unstressed by the looming exam date he found his thoughts returning to the plots of the cartoon episodes from the previous evening.

“Hmmm hmmm… Hmmm hmm… Hmmm hmm…”

“Found a blue paw print now, did we?”


Hunter looked up, his eyes wide and innocent as he looked from Jack to Malissa. It was Jack that had spoken, his tone wry and lips curled in amusement as he stared quizzically at Hunter. A slew of emotions ran through the fennec fox’s brain, first and foremost embarrassment.


He responded intelligently, scrambling for an explanation before realizing that saying the truth would probably be easiest.

After all… He told himself. I’m certainly not the only college student who watches cartoons for nostalgic purposes…

“I might have stayed up last night watching Blues Clues on Youtube…”

He admitted sheepishly, glancing from Malissa to Jack with a growing smile on his muzzle.

“Hey, I used to watch that as a kid too.”

Malissa responded, her eyes sparkling even as her whiskers twitched. Jack’s response was less enthusiastic.

“I’m hangin’ out with a bunch of babies.”

In perfect synchrony, Hunter and Malissa rounded on Jack indignantly and both began to speak at the same time.

“Really? You’ve never revisited a kid’s show you used to watch as a kid?”

“How can you disrespect Blue like that man?”

The weasel held up his paws in defeat, smiling nervously as he saw the ferocity with which both of his friends were speaking to him.

“Whoa, whoa guys take it easy. I’m just kidding, I watched my fair share of Blues Clues back in the day. I guess I’d just find it kind of boring now is all.”

Malissa turned to Hunter, reaching her paw over to place it on top of his own as she spoke in a condescending tone.

“I don’t think Jack found any of Blue’s Clues when he was a pup, Hunter.”

It was the weasel’s turn to be indignant, much to the shared amusement of Malissa and Hunter as he responded.

“Oh come on, they were bright blue and obvious.”

“Which makes it only more embarrassing for you for not being able to spot them.”

Malissa replied dryly, clearly enjoying the edge Hunter and she had over Jack in this situation Hunter held back his own reply, contenting himself to stand by as witness to Jack and Malissa’s friendly bantering. As he pretended to resume reading through the text in front of him, his mind wandered back his feelings the previous evening.

He had not quite remembered the show being as good as it was, though he barely remembered any of it at all from when he had been a kit. It had been uncanny, the blank state his mind had been in and even the occasional childish giggle that had escaped his muzzle at one of Steve’s quips.

A frown formed itself on his brow as he thought further on it, hoping that he appeared as though he were concentrating on the education material as opposed to why he was enjoying kit media so much. A second later, he had made his decision, without looking up from his textbook he spoke in a flat, clear tone.

“My apartment, Blues Clues marathon, now.”

He looked up, meeting Jack’s and Malissa’s steady gaze. Malissa nodded slowly, after which Jack’s eyes widened and he nodded as well. The three of them were getting absolutely nothing productive done in the library, so why not actually do something mindless for a bit was what Hunter was suggesting. The sound of chairs scraping against hardwood was heard amongst a chorus of backpack zippers being opened and closed. A minute later, Hunter’s tail was the last thing out the door of the library study room as the group made their way toward his flat.

𓁥 𓁢 𓐭

After stopping by a convenience store along the way to load up on snacks, the gang had made their way up the three flights of stairs up to Hunter’s place. Having had guests before, he enjoyed the excited expressions on his friend’s muzzle as they saw his large collection of beanbag chairs.

“Yo you’ve got the set up.”

Jack whistled, turning around and allowing his light body to flop down onto one of the large cushions.

“I’ll say.”

Malissa added, settling herself down and reaching for the remote sitting on the coffee table. Hunter was about to follow suit, when he noticed Jack’s eyes wandering over to the ornate box his aunt had left him. He met the weasel’s inquisitive look, shrugging as he answered his friend’s question before he could voice it.

“Inheritance, heirloom, from Egypt, and I’m forbidden to sell it.”

Jack motioned expectantly with a paw.

“Well, open it.”

“Thanks for asking so nicely.”

Hunter replied sarcastically, but he moved over to retrieve the container. After all, this was about as much use as this trinket was going to get. Heaving it off of the floor with a grunt, he set it on the coffee table as both Jack and Malissa sidled over next to him. Reaching for the lid, he tried to open it but found that it refused to budge.


He tried again, but found that the lid remained stubbornly closed.

“Nice dude.”

Jack said, snorting to himself as Hunter gave him a look.

“It did open, you know, there’s like a brooch or something inside. Opals and gold and stuff. I might need to get insurance on it…”

Hunter said, after which Malissa added.

“And find someone with a crowbar, pity to break the box though.”

Hunter rolled his eyes and heaved the box down underneath the coffee table once more.

“Probably needs oil for the hinges or something. The ice cream’s gonna melt, get the show going.”

Their interest having dissipated, the three college students eagerly turned their attention to the entertainment and sweet snacks at hand as they looked forward to a wholly unproductive weekday afternoon.